Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream
I wrote two weeks ago in this column that I’d never seen a fresh cranberry outside of the United States. But there is one place that I’ve seen a dried cranberry: in England, where at school, my best friend used to stave off the afternoon doldrums with a dried cranberry and white chocolate cookie. That got me thinking: the tartness of cranberry is one of the few things that can rein in that over-the-top sweetness of white chocolate. What a perfect ice cream that would make, and what an unexpected Thanksgiving dessert to scoop next to a slice of pumpkin pie.
Deemed a “superfruit,” cranberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Their high antioxidant levels may boost the cardiovascular and immune systems, and may even help prevent cancer; they contain a chemical that may prevent tooth decay; they may prevent kidney stones, and are beneficial against bacterial urinary tract infections and gingivitis. Frankly, I don’t see how we can get along without them.
The perfect excuse to eat them in some delicious, sweet-tart holiday ice cream.
Cranberry White Chocolate Ice Cream
- 1 12-ounce bag cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 4 ounces good white chocolate, cut into chunks
The night before, remember to freeze your ice cream maker bowl.
In a medium saucepot, heat the cranberries and 1/3 cup sugar on medium-high heat until the cranberries just begin to get hot. Then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until the berries are burst, and softened. Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and purée. Pass the cranberry purée through a fine mesh strainer. The mixture should yield about 1 cup of smooth cranberry purée. Set aside to cool.
In a large saucepot, heat together the cream, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and pinch of salt over medium-low heat until just scalded (bubbles will form around the edges of the cream). Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat together the egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until the mixture is pale and thick.
Once the cream mixture is hot, pour about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks mixture and whisk quickly to temper the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cream, and cook over low heat. Use a wooden spoon to constantly stir the custard until it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon: at about 170°F. Pass the custard through a fine mesh sieve and into a large bowl. Whisk in the cranberry mixture. Cover the cranberry custard, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Turn on your ice cream maker, and pour in the cranberry custard. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Just before the ice cream is completely churned, add in the white chocolate chunks. Transfer to a bowl or Tupperware with a lid, and freeze for at least 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before scooping and serving.
print this recipe
Quatre Epices Poussin
My love of turkey is only a recent development. And even at that, I only consent to eat it when it’s freshly roasted, usually on Thanksgiving. Anything else—turkey sandwiches, turkey soups, turkey whatevers—just aren’t going to happen. So I have a high sensitivity to those who want to try something other than turkey for Thanksgiving.
To me, these Quatre Épices Poussins are the perfect holiday bird. Something about Thanksgiving requires a bird, and I feel compelled to uphold that. But sometimes you want something smaller to alleviate leftover overflow in your apartment fridge, or something quick-cooking to disguise the fact that you were actually at work until two hours before your mother-in-law arrived, or something different from what you had last year. Tradition, after all, isn’t for everyone. These young chickens are holiday poultry that cook quickly, are perfect for one (you can portion it for an army or a sweet dinner for two), are entirely unique, and have tremendous stage presence.
The stage presence comes from a traditional French spice blend called quatre épices, or four spices. Consisting of cracked black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, the blend is reminiscent of rich medieval dinners, centered around a great long table on which a roasted pig reclines, clenching an apple in its mouth. Highly spiced, and lightly spicy, it is a seasonal je ne sais quoi that makes these little crispy-skinned, succulent game birds special enough, and festive enough, for the holidays
Quatre-Epices Poussins under a Brick
- 2 poussins, backbone removed and butterflied
- 2 1/2 teaspoons quatre épices (ingredients follow)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Quatre Épices
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Make the quatre épices by combining all four spices.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Pat the poussins dry with paper towel, and season them well with salt.
Mix 2 1/2 teaspoons quatre épices with 3 tablespoons room temperature butter. Using your hands, spread the butter in a thick layer over the front side of the birds.
In a braising pan, heat the vegetable oil on medium heat.
When the oil is hot, place the poussins skin side down in the pan, and weight them down with one brick well wrapped in foil. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to the oven.
Bake the poussins in this position, breast side down under the brick, for 30 minutes. Then remove the bricks, and roast them breast side up for 20 minutes. Then rotate them again so that they are breast side down, and replace the bricks for the final 10 minutes. The poussins will cook for 1 hour in total.
Allow the poussins to rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
print this recipe
Easy Maple-Pumpkin Breakfast Soufflés
Thanksgiving may be about the food, but it’s also about the company. This year, I have friends and family voyaging in from London, New York, and Miami, and they don’t expect to be fed just once. I like coming up with Thanksgiving-themed recipes for the rest of the meals. Next Friday night, I’m having a party for all my old school friends back in town with turkey sandwiches, turkey sliders, and turkey meatloaf with sweet potato chips and pumpkin ice cream pie. For breakfast, I’ll be serving this quick and easy Pumpkin-Maple Soufflé.
Normal soufflés will start with a béchamel or a pastry cream. Although they’re not strenuous, they do take effort and know-how. For this easy pared down version all you have do is whip up the egg whites, fold in the yolks, pumpkin, and maple, then bake. They rise and puff just like a “real” soufflé, but it’s much more of a cinch. The flavors of pumpkin and nutmeg are reminiscent of Thursday’s pumpkin pie, and the warm maple syrup is just so autumnal and familial at once. I pour a ton of extra warm, runny syrup over mine. So good!
Macaroni and Brie
Perhaps like many first generation Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to remember where we came from. What I love most about our Thanksgiving is the mix of people and places that sit around the table. We have the English-speaking contingent, and the French corner. And I’m not sure which is more thankful to be American on Thanksgiving. What I love about America is that everyone had a reason to come here. For some of my relatives it was freedom, for others it was safety, and for others it was love. No matter what the reason, they came to America to fulfill it, and they all found what they were looking for. So while they may have come here for a million different reasons, they are all thankful for one thing: to be here, in America, on Thanksgiving. And as for me, the first in my mom’s family to be born in the States, I am thankful that after so many years abroad, I am finally back home to partake in the most Franglais feast ever known to mankind: my family’s Thanksgiving.
print this post
Posted by Kerry |
Categories: 60 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Franglais, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
The mighty little cranberry continues to fascinate me the more I investigate into its background. Did you know that only 5% of cranberries are sold fresh? And from my perspective, I only see that 5% from November to December. So, we need recipes that use the other 95% of harvested cranberries that are turned into juices and sauces, and, as we use them in this recipe, dried cranberries.
Everyone knows Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. I usually wind up making more sides than there are guests at my table.
Lemon Lamb Shanks
I love this time of year. Not only is November home of Thanksgiving and my birthday—the two greatest dessert experiences per annum—but it’s finally, definitely, and indisputably cold. While others pull out cashmere scarves and fleece-lined gloves, I pull out the enamel stew pots. It’s braising season.
These sweet-tart lamb shanks fall of the bone with the prick of an eager fork. Tender, but bright, they don’t lull the taste buds to sleep like many another seasonal stew. The meat is braised with windowpanes of garlic, dry white wine, rosemary, and lemon confit. Roasted pearl onions add a delicate, earthy sweetness that complements the deep citrus acidity of the lemon. The result is still comforting, with the braised, autumnal texture, but the flavor is pert and unexpected.
Parsnip Purée with Olive Oil and Sage
This is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It accommodates vegans, lactose-intolerants, food combination dieters, and people who like delicious things. I find that every Thanksgiving, the volume of dishes I try to create always leads to a cramped, hectic kitchen. So, this year, with this recipe and my recipe for Cranberry Chutney on The Secret Ingredient, I am making only simple, honest, delicious food that will not overwhelm me. This recipe has three ingredients, plus salt and pepper, and is nothing more than heating and blending. The result is something sweet from parsnips, and intensely savory from sage and olive oil. It’s a creative, healthful alternative to the standard mashed potato, and it’s a crowd pleaser. I’m making it this year, and I hope you will too!
Parsnip Purée with Olive Oil and Sage
- 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 leaves fresh sage
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 fried sage leaves as garnish (optional, see note)
- Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt water well, and add parsnips. Cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil small saucepan with 6 sage leaves. Heat on the lowest flame for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to steep for another 5 minutes.
- Drain the parsnips and place in food processor. Remove sage from oil and add sage oil to food processor along with remaining 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fried sage leaves (see note).
To fry sage leaves, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in small saucepan to 325°F. Drop sage leaves in three at a time and cook, agitating occasionally until crisp, 45 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
print this recipe