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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream with White Truffle and Raspberry

Churned 08.02.14

An ice cream with dessert wine and white truffle may sound a bit too "foodie" for some. Admittedly, this isn't a flavor you'll find at Dairy Queen (not just because you would need a liquor license), but I promise the flavors are very well matched and very accessible. Trust me and try it.

Pint of Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream Pint


Lemon / Poppy / Dessert Wine / White Truffle / Raspberry


If you're like me (and anyone sane, in my opinion), then you love truffle. And if you're not totally infatuated with the flavor, I hope it is simply because you've never experience it first hand, because it's intoxicating. 

The flavor profile of truffle is something truly unique. Often characterized as deep and earthy, truffle is so much more. "Earthy" makes me think of dirt.

So it's probably a good thing that truffles cost an arm and a leg - it keeps them special. Otherwise, we would probably have another "bacon phenomenon" on our hands, people making truffle toothpaste and edible truffle bowls. Not necessary...

While the price point has kept truffles somewhat limited to higher end restaurant dishes, that shouldn't prevent other creative applications. Which gets me to this ice cream... 

Introducing the undeniably savory flavor of truffle into an otherwise sweet ice cream seemed like a great idea. But "Truffled Cookie Dough Ice Cream" didn't get me excited (actually, that combination makes me gag a little). However, the idea of pairing truffle with an otherwise bright and acidic flavor profile seemed pretty cool -- and why not keep the mix a bit "adult"?

So the lemon poppy and wine idea was born! 

It was all very simple, with one exception - what wine to use? 

I was concerned that the flavor of many wines would be lost in the creamy ice cream base. A watery Pinot Grigio would certainly be a failure. And I thought that other stronger flavored wines, like Sauvignon Blanc, may just taste like alcohol. 

When all else fails, ask the experts!

I stopped by a local wine shop and explained my predicament. I expected confused, vacant stares. "You want a wine to go into your ice cream?"

Not so! The shop owner immediately ran for a 2009 Chateau Simon Sauternes from Bordeaux. A quick taste, and I was sold - this white dessert wine, with a high residual sugar content, packed a real flavor punch. I knew it could hold up in the creamy ice cream. And it didn't break the bank.

My only other concern was the freezing point of the ice cream. Alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, so I was worried that the ice cream may never harden. 

It's true - too much alcohol can prevent an ice cream from freezing. However, ingredients that slightly lower the freezing point can be a good thing, because they keep an ice cream smooth by preventing the formation of large ice crystals. I would have to find a balance. 

It seems the general rule is to use 1/8 cup of 40 proof alcohol for every quart of ice cream. But like everything in cooking, other variables (i.e. the sugar, water and fat content of other ingredients) can change ratios significantly. In the end, I went with as much as 1/2 cup of wine that was 14% alcohol in a 5 cup batch of ice cream - considerably higher than the recommended ratio. Everything froze perfectly and the wine flavor was present but not overwhelming.

- The Recipe -

Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream:

This recipe is for a French style ice cream - one that contains a high concentration of egg yolks, resulting in a rich, smooth final texture. Egg yolks are combined with cream or milk and heated, killing bacteria while dispersing proteins to thicken the mixture. The proteins and emulsifiers in the egg yolk keep the mixture smooth by inhibiting the formation of large ice crystals, an important part of the ice cream making process. However, some people do not like the lightly eggy flavor of a custard style ice cream.

By contrast, a Philadelphia style ice cream uses only cream and/or milk and maintains the delicate flavor of those ingredients. The downside is that this ice cream base has a higher water content and is more susceptible to large ice crystal formation, particularly in situations where the base is not chilled quickly while churning. For this reason, I prefer the French style ice cream for home production.

Yield: 5 cups 

Prep Time
  • Active: 30 minutes
  • Ice Cream Base Chilling: 4 hours (prior to churning)
  • Churning: 15 to 30 minutes (varies by ice cream machine instructions)
  • Serve in softened state or freeze overnight

  • Heavy Cream - 480g (2 Cups)
  • Whole Milk - 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • White Granulated Sugar - 150g (0.75 Cup)
  • Egg Yolk - 9 Ct
  • Lemon Zest - 1 Tbls
  • Poppy Seeds - 2 Tsp
  • White Truffle Oil - 1 Tsp (or less, to taste)
  • Lemon Juice - 1 Tbls
  • Dessert Wine - 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • Raspberry Preserves - 160g (0.5 Cup)

1. Combine the heavy cream, milk and lemon zest in a medium sauce pan and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium heat. As the cream is heating, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks on low speed until lightly frothy. When the eggs are frothy, increase the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar and the white truffle oil. Whip the mixture until the ingredients are well combined and the yolks are light yellow in color - approximately three minutes.

Chef’s note: Using truffle oil is an effective way to bring the flavor of truffle into an ice cream. However, truffle oil is potent stuff! Oil and other fats are very good at holding and dispersing flavors throughout a mixture. Use even less than 1 Tsp of truffle oil if desired. 

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolks in a steady stream. Once all of the cream has been added, return the entire mixture to the medium sauce pan (make sure the pan has cooled) and return to medium heat. 

Chef’s note: Always add hot ingredients into cold unless specifically instructed otherwise. When you introduce heat to any mixture with eggs, you run the risk of cooking those eggs. If you were to pour a steady stream of cold yolks into a large quantity of hot liquid, the heat would overwhelm the eggs. The eggs will cook as the hot mixture slowly cools. However, when the hot cream is added to the cold egg yolks, the cream is cooled by the large quantity of cold liquid. The entire mixture slowly increases in temperature. Cooked-egg disaster avoided!

3. Make a custard by slowly bringing the mixture to a gentle simmer (but not to the point of boiling) while stirring constantly. Continue to heat and stir the mixture until it thickens to the point where it coats the back of a spoon - approximately five minutes.

4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve. The heat may have caused the egg yolk to curdle slightly if the temperature increased too quickly or was too high. Transfer the mixture to an airtight plastic container and chill it in the refrigerator until it is completely cool - at least four hours, but ideally overnight.

Chef’s note: To create a smooth ice cream, it is important to freeze the mixture as quickly as possible, preventing large, gritty tasting ice crystals from forming. Cooling the ice cream base to just above the freezing point before churning helps this process. 

5. Remove the ice cream base from the refrigerator and gently stir in the dessert wine, lemon juice and poppy seeds. 

Chef’s note: Adding the acidic lemon juice and dessert wine late in the process, particularly after the custard has been cooked, helps reduce the risk that the eggs and cream will curdle. The poppy seeds, like any solid ice cream "add in" like chocolate chips, are best added as late as possible.

6. Finish preparing the ice cream following your ice cream machine's specific instructions. Once the base has been churned to your desired texture, gently fold (do not stir) the raspberry jam into the mixture. Serve the ice cream immediately in "soft serve" form, or transfer it into airtight, freezer safe containers and chill until fully solid - approximately two hours, but ideally overnight. 

Chef’s note: The type of ice cream machine that you use can greatly change the final product. Simply freezing the base is possible, but your ice cream will be very dense and gritty because of how it will freeze. Most home machines, like a KitchenAid attachment, do a good job of churning and freezing an ice cream base within 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the batch), introducing a significant amount of air to keep the final product light. Regardless of the type of machine you use, always start with a very cold ice cream base (as close to freezing as possible) so that the base can be quickly and evenly churned into a light ice cream with minimal ice crystal formation

- The Finished Product -

Dessert Wine

Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream Overhead

Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream

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