Frozen treat. Major custard.

This was the dessert for the 24, 24, 24 meal. I don’t know how we managed to make it all the way through 8 courses and wine pairings, but we braved it and prevailed.

There was obviously a need for a sweet ending and something creamy, cold and light was what I had in mind. Also, because my focus was regional US foods, I went in search for a dessert that wasn’t the usual New Orleans bread pudding or NY cheesecake, not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with either of those options. Then I read that frozen custard is big in the midwest, Milwaukee, to be precise. Who knew? I have never even attempted to make ice cream or any frozen creamy treats. So I had to do it. I served it with Pinion (pine nuts) Brittle, because pinions are big in New Mexico. Oh yeah.

So, here’s the recipe for Frozen Vanilla Custard with Pinion Brittle. I followed the ingredients from a recipe I found at The Cooking Photographer, but I changed the preparation a bit because I don’t own an ice cream maker thingamajig.


Frozen Vanilla Custard with Pinion Brittle

 5 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Small pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, add the milk, salt and vanilla bean (make sure you split it in half and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife). Heat the milk until you begin to see bubbles around the edges, make sure you give it a few stirs in between. You want the milk to be very hot, but not boil, turn off the heat and allow the vanilla pod to steep in the milk for about 20 minutes. Set it aside.

Next, place the yolks into your mixer’s bowl and beat at medium speed. Slowly add the¬†sugar¬† until the yolks turn a light yellow. This will take about¬†2 minutes or so.

Once the yolks and sugar have been incorporated, slowly pour the vanilla mixture into the eggs. Keep the mixer on low to medium speed while you do this, you’re adding the liquid slowly to temper the yolks and avoid curdling. Pour in the rest of the milk after a couple short pours and stir to combine.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium stirring frequently until it begins to thicken to about the consistency of condensed milk. Make sure not to allow it to a boil and that you’re watching over it¬†like a hawk. This will take about 15 minutes or so, but it’s time well spent if you want to end up with perfect custard.

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and empty into a storage container, be sure to leave the vanilla bean in it. Cover with plastic wrap, placed directly over the custard, then seal with an air-tight lid and put it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight to chill and set up the custard.


Next, beat the whipping cream using your mixer. You want the cream to be firm, like stiff clouds. Remove the vanilla bean from the custard and fold it into the beaten cream. Make sure you work it in so you don’t end up with lumps of plain cream. Return the whole thing to the storage container, again, cover it with plastic wrap directly on top¬†of the custard, then seal with the lid.

Place the whole thing in the freezer, about 2 hours later take it out of the freezer and stir it around, bringing the frozen edges towards the center. Repeat this step once more before serving. It will need about 6 hours to set completely.

Pinon Brittle

3/4¬† cup¬† shelled pi√Īon or pine nuts
1 1/2  cups  sugar
1/2  teaspoon  ground allspice
1/2  teaspoon  salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat and butter paper well. In a small frying pan over low heat, toast nuts until they turn light golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

In the same over medium heat, combine sugar, allspice and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and dark brown. If mixture is darkening too quickly, remove from heat, stir well, then return to heat. When sugar is entirely melted, stir in nuts. Quickly pour mixture onto parchment paper and spread 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick. Let cool until hard, then break into pieces.

Brittle yumminess!


Nutty Apple Squares

Honeycrisp Apples, of course!

I told you I would come up with some ideas to bake with my beloved Honeycrisp Apples. This little treat turned out quite well (after 2 tries), I got the inspiration from pecan squares, Houston’s apple cobbler and my dear friend’s pizza pie.

I took Dorothy’s (Dodo as I call her) pizza pie crust recipe and topped it with my interpretation of Houston’s cobbler–best in town. The result was a buttery crust topped with caramely apples and toasty nuts. And if you really want to indulge, serve it a la mode with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Oh yeah!

Preheat oven to 325¬į
1-1/2  sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cp flour
1/3 c. powdered sugar

You can mix the¬†above ingredients by hands, believe me, I love my Kitchen Aid, but this is just way easier than washing the bowl and beater later. Incorporate the butter, sugar and flour; this dough will be very soft and pliable. Then spread onto¬†a 11×17 inch cookie sheet. Don’t attempt to roll it, just pat it out on the cookie sheet. You want the depth of the dough to be about 1/2-inch thick. Bake at 325¬į for 10 minutes, you don’t need to get it completely browned as it will be going back in the oven.

Raise oven’s temperature to 350¬į
2 cps apples, peeled & diced
1/2 cp water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cp firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cp honey
1/4 cp corn syrup
2/3 cp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp whipping cream
3/4 cp each pecans and walnuts, coarsely chopped

In a saucepan, combine the apples, water and lemon juice over medium heat. Cook the apples until slightly soft and the water is absorbed. In the same pan, add the sugar, honey, syrup, vanilla, and spices, then stir in the butter over medium-high heat until melted and it all begins to bubble. At this point, turn off the heat, stir in the cream then the nuts.

Pour this hot filling into prepared crust and bake at 350¬į for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares. This recipe yields about 24 squares.

Maybe Eve was on to something

It’s that time of year again. The time when people release their fear of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. When I pester my friends to join me on countless patios for drinks. When I have perfect, frizz-free hair and impeccable makeup. The time when annoying kids begin minding their manners and grown-ups are on a mad dash to use up their vacation days. Tis the season for Honeycrisp Apples!

Ah. The. Perfect. Apple. Also, the best apple known to mankind. Mind you, I’m NOT an apple person. Every now and again I’ll go to town on a Granny Smith, then realize they’re super tart before I make it halfway through. I scoop apples out of my apple pie. I loathe apple juice.¬†apple cider and applesauce. When comes to apples, I’m a faithful type. I have eyes and taste buds for Honeycrisps alone.

What is it about this apple you ask? Well, it’s everything. For some wonderous reason they’re gigantic. They hold true to their name by being sweet as honey and crisp like celery. These babies are beyond juicy. I like to put them in the fridge before eating them. When you bite into them it’s like a burst of sweet, tart, juicy¬†apple goodness.

Original sin or not, if this was the apple Eve was tempted with, I TOTALLY understand her choice.