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Friday, February 6, 2015

Culinary School - Session 70: Ice Cream, Sorbet, Granite, Caramel Syrup, Caramel Sauce, Fruit Coulis, Orange Butter Sauce and Sabayon Sauce

Culinary School: Session 70 (02.04.15)

Ice Cream, Sorbet, Granite, Caramel Syrup, Caramel Sauce, Fruit Coulis, Orange Butter Sauce and Sabayon Sauce


February might not be the best time of the year to pull out the ice cream machine. 

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll eat just as much Ice Cream in the dead of winter as I will in the heat of August. No excuses necessary.

This session kicked off Frozen Desserts, a nice segue from Custards. After all, some of the best Ice Creams are simply frozen batches of Creme Anglaise. And while I believe that Ice Cream is the pinnacle of man's culinary creations, it would be remiss of me to exclude Sorbets and Granites.

Creme Caramel with Quenelle of Whipped Cream

... and sauced

With all the Ice Cream being churned, this session was also the perfect time to take on Dessert SaucesFor some reason, pouring Caramel and Fruit Coulis over bowls of Ice Cream seems so much more civilized than sitting down to rows of quart containers, tasting spoons in hand. 

Dessert Sauce Categories:
  • Coulis: Simple fruit purees that may or may not include additional sugar
  • Custards: Cooked, egg-based preparations - Creme Anglaise
  • Emulsions - Suspensions of two unlike substances - Sabayon
  • Reductions - Sauces which are created and thickened through heating - Caramel Sauce
  • Foams - Air-whipped preparations

Some sauces span several categories. For instance, a Sabayon is really a foamed, custard emulsion.

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (02.04.15):
  • Flour: 23,980g
  • Eggs: 14,550g (291x)
  • Sugar: 17,775g
  • Butter: 15,215g
  • Milk/Cream: 14,490g
  • Chocolate: 2,710g (since 01.12.15)

Assorted Custard Desserts for Sauce Tasting

    - The Recipes -


    Ice Cream (Creme Anglaise Based)

    Creme Anglaise or Custard Ice Cream is the classic French preparation. Unlike American (or Philadelphia) Ice Cream, this style includes egg yolks which results in a smoother, richer texture. 

    Focus Techniques:
    - Preparing a Creme Anglaise for Ice Cream: While the basic preparation of a Creme Anglaise is the same for Ice Cream as it is for a simple sauce, more sugar should be added if the Anglaise is going to be frozen. The additional sugar lowers the freezing point, helping to soften the texture of an Ice Cream. The additional sugar also helps to keep the flavor sweet as cold temperatures inhibit the ability to perceive sweetness.
    - Resting an Ice Cream Base: It is best to rest an Ice Cream base overnight, before churning and freezing. The resting period allows all of the components of the base to set: emulsifiers bind with water, fats crystalize and the overall smoothness of the product improves.


    Sorbet and Granite

    These water-ice desserts are typically made with fruit purees or fruit juices. A Sorbet has a smoother texture, like an Ice Cream, while a Granite is noticeably icy.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Adjusting Brix Levels: Brix is more or less a measure of the percentage sugar concentration of a liquid. It is important to test the brix of a Sorbet or Granite base before freezing. For Sorbets and Granites, a base with more sugar (i.e. higher brix) will result in a softer product when frozen. Brix levels can be adjusted by adding water or simple syrup to decrease or increase the brix level, respectively. A Granite should measure 14-18% while Sorbets should measure 24-28%


    Caramel Syrup and Sauce

    We are all familiar with Caramel. Liquid gold... need I say more?

    The distinction between Caramel Syrup and Caramel Sauce (both of which are reduction sauces) is in how the Caramel is "slacked" or thinned.  

    Caramel Syrup and Sauce both start with caramelized sugar. Once the sugar reaches the desired color, some liquid is added. A Caramel Syrup is made by adding water. The resulting product retains the unadulterated flavor characteristics of the caramelized sugar. A Caramel Sauce uses cream and/or butter. In this case, the sauce takes on the additional flavor characteristics of the milk solids and a richer consistency from the milk fats.

    Focus Techniques:
    Safety! Sugar caramelizes at extremely high temperatures. When liquid is added to hot caramel, the caramel bubbles up tremendously, releasing a blast of steam. Using a pot that is at least three times higher than the final volume of the caramel is essential to prevent the mixture from boiling over. 

    Tasting Spoon with Caramel Sauce


    Fruit Coulis

    It doesn't get more basic that this simple fruit puree. A Fruit Coulis is typically an uncooked preparation that may or may not include additional sugar, depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit.

    Focus Techniques:
    Adjusting the Consistency of a Coulis: Different fruits have different water, sugar and fiber content, all of which will change the consistency of a Coulis. A Coulis can easily be strained through a chinois to remove fibers. Adding powdered sugar will increase the thickness and sweetness.


    Orange Butter Sauce

    The traditional sauce for Crepes Suzette and Duck a l'Orange.

    Focus Techniques:
    Emulsification through Boiling: Sugar will not dissolve in butter. It is not fat soluble. For sugar and butter to come together, they must be emulsified. The boiling action created when this sauce is prepared helps to emulsify the two substances. However, the emulsion is weak (in the absence of any added emulsifiers) and the Orange Butter Sauce will naturally break over time.



    A Sabayon is a delicious foamed, custard emulsion that exists in both sweet and savory incarnations.  For desserts, it is typically made of equal parts egg yolks, sugar and a liquid base (traditionally a wine). 

    The ingredients are whisked over a double-boiler. The heat thickens the sauce as the eggs set while the whisking aerates the mixture into a fluffy foam. The emulsifiers in the eggs bring together the liquid base and the fat in the egg. The final product can be served hot or cold. A Sabayon is a delicate product that should be used shortly after it is prepared, but it can be stabilized somewhat with gelatin.

    Fresh Fruit for Sabayon

    Fresh Fruit Covered in Moscato Sabayon

    Fresh Fruit Covered in Moscato Sabayon (Gratin)

    Next - Session 71: Chocolate Molten Cake, Cheesecake and Fruit Galette  

    Previous - Session 69: Bread Pudding, Clafoutis, Crème Brulee, Crème Caramel and Chocolate Pot de Creme

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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