Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream with Ground Cardamom

You know how in science class you learn that matter has 3 states, and then you go into higher education and you learn that there are more states like plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates? Yeah this is the fourth state of chocolate.

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Don’t mind that crummy looking bowl. Apparently also known as the “toffee of milk”, caramelised white chocolate has an additional dimension of depth compared to regular white chocolate. It’s sweeter, creamier, and as the name suggests, it has caramel notes to it as well.

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I first heard about caramelised white chocolate when I went to Copenhagen, and the Summerbird chocolate store was giving out free samples (the way to my heart). And their most popular product was amber chocolate, which was basically caramelised white chocolate, but they managed to temper it to perfection. Perfectly snappy at room temperature, but melts in your mouth to coat your tongue with a layer of creamy caramel chocolate.

Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream with Cardamom

And then adding in the ground cardamom gives a little more aroma to the ice cream. Also I suck at scooping ice cream so here’s a lovely picture of some half-melted ice cream drowning in sauce:

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The salt is not optional. Helps cut through the sweetness and makes the whole thing a little more interesting.

I used David Lebovitz’s recipes for caramelised white chocolate ice cream and caramelised white chocolate, and just added cardamom.

Ingredients

Caramelised white chocolate

  • 120g white chocolate (see notes)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Ice cream

  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 50g sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 125ml heavy cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Method

Caramelised white chocolate

  1. Chop the white chocolate into coarse pieces, and place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 130°C for 10 mins.
  2. Take the baking sheet out and spread the white chocolate with a spatula until the chocolate is smoothed out.
  3. Put the white chocolate back in the oven and bake for another 10 mins, stirring the chocolate at 10 min intervals. Repeat until the white chocolate is a deep golden-brown colour.
  4. Stir in a pinch of sea salt and set the chocolate aside.

Ice cream

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the yolks, sugar, and salt until well combined.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and cardamom until warm.
  3. Add half of the cream and milk into the egg yolks and whisk. Then add the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring continuously. Heat until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  5. Meanwhile, ensure the caramelised white chocolate is warm (like just microwave it for 5-10s bursts, stirring well between bursts) and place a strainer over a bowl containing the white chocolate.
  6. When the ice cream custard is ready, pour the custard through the strainer into the white chocolate and stir until smooth.
  7. Refrigerate the ice cream overnight.
  8. The next day, churn the ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine until desired consistency.
  9. Freeze the ice cream until it’s a scoopable consistency. Serve with some flaky sea salt.
  10. Optional: I served my ice cream with some extra caramelised white chocolate mixed with cream to make a ganache.

Notes

  • When caramelising the white chocolate, the chocolate may sometimes appear lumpy. But don’t worry just keep mixing the chocolate and it will eventually smooth out.
  • If you’re rich and don’t want to make caramelised white chocolate, Valrhona sells some blonde chocolate which is the same thing.
  • For best results, use white chocolate with at least 30% cocoa butter. And use real white chocolate (with actual cocoa butter), check the ingredients list.
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Peach Nerikiri (Japanese Sweet Bean Paste Confectionery)

Or how to waste 1.5 hours of your life mashing beans.

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It’s Hina-Matsuri today in Japan! Or Girls’ Day/Doll Festival.

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I’ve always wanted to try making wagashi, or traditional Japanese confections. And since Hina-Matsuri is also called Momo-no-Sekku (Peach Festival), I thought it’d be perfect to start off simple with some basic nerikiri shaped like a peach.

This is a really dumbed-down recipe and the technique is probably not traditional in the slightest. But hey gotta start somewhere.

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Don’t mind this awkwardly placed ball of clingfilm.

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Nerikiri is made of shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) mixed with some shiratamako (mochi flour, see notes). If you’ve tried red bean paste before, I feel like shiro-an has a bit of a more delicate flavour, and is less earthy.

Also although mochi flour is mixed in, it really does not have the texture of mochi. It legitimately tastes like sweetened beans mushed together, which is a common motif in Asian desserts. If you’ve not tried sweetened bean paste before I recommend giving it a try, it opens up a whole new world of dessert.

If the peaches at the back looks uglier, that’s because they were made by me and not my more artistic housemate.

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This peach nerikiri is also cute because it looks like a butt.

I combined the recipes from here and here.

Ingredients (makes 3)

Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste)

  • 1 can cannellini beans (235g dried weight)
  • 75g granulated sugar

Nerikiri

  • 150g shiro-an
  • 12g shiratamako (mochi flour/sweet glutinous rice flour, see notes)
  • 20g water
  • Red food colouring
  • Leaves for decorating (I used watercress, lol)

Method

Shiro-an

  1. Drain the beans thoroughly and mash through a strainer. Apparently this step is easier if you skin the beans first but it was honestly a pain and it was easier to just start mashing and pick out the skins as you go. I ended up with about 190g of strained beans.
  2. Put the strained beans in a saucepan and add the sugar. Stir until thickened. The paste will cool down as it cools.

Nerikiri

  1. Mix the shiratamako with the water in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat until dissolved and well heated.
  2. Add in the shiro-an and mix until thickened to a mouldable consistency. If it’s still not mouldable after a while gradually add more shiratamako until mouldable.
  3. Separate 2/3 of the dough and set aside. Add some food colouring to the remaining 1/3 of the dough until it’s a light pink.
  4. Place a piece of clingfilm onto a work surface. Add a piece of white dough onto the clingfilm, and a smaller piece of the pink dough next to it. Gather the loose ends of the clingfilm into a ball and mould into a peach shape (or if you suck at crafting like me, get your housemate to do it). Use the clingfilm and a back of a spoon to help smooth the surface out.
  5. Use the back of a knife to indent the dough midway, creating the seam of the peach.
  6. Use any appropriate leaves for decoration. You should probably not eat them together with the nerikiri it’s just to look pretty.

Notes

  • I used a Chinese type of glutinous rice flour, and did not reach the desired mouldable consistency with the amounts recommended. Just needed a bit more to reach the right texture. It’s probably because mochi flour may be slightly different and more appropriate, so I’d recommend going for that if it’s available.
  • If you like sweet beans like me, here are some green tea buns with sweetened red bean filling that I’ve made before.
  • I actually made twice the amount of shiro-an as listed in this recipe (for an upcoming recipe!), that’s why I took 1.5 hours. I was also watching some serious anime so you’d probably take less time than me don’t be alarmed.

Fluffy Japanese-style Pancakes

It’s Pancake Day!!

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My exams are finally over which means it’s time to eat my (happy) feelings.

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Apparently the key ingredient here is Japanese mayonnaise. Some people seem repulsed by the idea of mayonnaise (they don’t know what they’re missing out on), but okay let’s break it down. Mayonnaise is just mainly oil and egg mixed up (and maybe a little MSG but hey that’s just more flavour), so adding mayonnaise is just making your life easier by mixing the oil and egg first.

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Gotta arrange that pancake stack to hide the fact that I can’t make pancakes of the same size.

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Making my housemate pour syrup #forthegram. Don’t mind her arm shadow.

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And here’s how the texture looks like inside. And also the recommended ratio of butter to pancake.

I got the recipe from here, just skipped the lemon juice. I really liked this recipe! Thought the pancakes did turn out fluffy, like it promised. Did not quite reach the volume reached in the original recipe, but I feel like that could be down to (my lack of) technique.

Ingredients (makes 4)

  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 10g Japanese mayonnaise (I used Kewpie mayonnaise)
  • 70g self raising flour
  • 5g baking powder

Methods

  1. Separate the egg yolk and the egg whites into two different bowls.
  2. Mix the yogurt, icing sugar, mayonnaise, and egg yolk together.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the yolk mixture and mix well.
  4. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk batter (being careful not to over-mix).
  6. Drop a spatula spoonful of the batter into a non-stick frying pan (lightly oiled if you’re not feeling too confident about the non-stickiness) over medium-low heat and cook it until bubbles start forming in the center of the pancake.
  7. Flip them over and then cook for about 2 minutes or until both sides are browned.

Notes

  • My pancakes browned more evenly when I had less oil in the pan, not sure if it was because those pancakes were the later ones though (and the first few pancakes are always the ugliest).

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Brown Butter Crumbs

My housemates and I celebrated Thanksgiving last week!

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It was a very British thanksgiving with chicken instead of turkey, and we had brussels sprouts and yorkshire pudding. Don’t judge.

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We went all the way and made a special Snapchat geofilter for the event as well urgh.

We had some pie themed desserts, so along with this pumpkin pie ice cream there were also pecan pie cheesecake and apple pie layer cake. Yeah I gained about a kilo that week.

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I don’t think I actually like the flavour of pumpkin spice that much. But the combination with the slightly salty pie crumb made the whole thing a sweet, salty, spicy treat.

I got the recipe for the ice cream from here and the recipe for the pie crumb from Christina Tosi’s momofuku milk bar. I used brown butter instead of butter for the pie crumb though, just to add that extra bit of nutty, caramelised flavour.

Ingredients (makes about 700ml ice cream)

Pumpkin Ice Cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp dark rum (optional)

Pie Crust

  • 240g plain flour
  • 18g sugar
  • 3g salt
  • 115g butter, melted
  • 20g water

Method

Pumpkin Ice Cream

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Then mix with the milk and cream.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the mixture thinly coats the back of your spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  3. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin with the cinnamon, vanilla, and rum.
  5. Mix the pumpkin puree with the custard.
  6. Chill the mixture overnight.
  7. Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine.

Brown Butter Pie Crust

  1. Brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl and a heavy microwave-safe lid. I microwaved my butter for about 4 mins, gave the butter a quick swirl, and then microwaved it in 1 min intervals (swirling in between) until the butter was brown and there were some residues at the bottom of the bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt together.
  3. Add the brown butter and water until the mixture comes together.
  4. Spread the mixture over a lined baking tray and bake for 180°C for about 30-40 mins, breaking them up occasionally. Bake until golden brown but still slightly moist to the touch. The crumbs will dry and harden as they cool.
  5. Let crumbs cool and store in an airtight container in a freezer.
  6. Sprinkle on top of the ice cream to serve.

Notes

  • I didn’t like the texture of this ice cream as much as my previous ice cream attempts. I would probably attempt the proportions used here next time.
  • If you want to mix some of the crust into the ice cream, I would try mixing the larger crumbs (or the texture of the ice cream might turn sandy), and making sure the crumbs are frozen so they don’t get soggy.
  • Your ice cream will reduce faster if you use a pot with a large surface area. So for example I used my wok. Very asian.
  • If you’re microwaving your butter to make it brown butter, your butter’s going to sputter and make a lot of noise. Don’t panic and keep zen. The butter will be fine. Use a heavy lid though so your butter doesn’t splutter everywhere.
  • To be honest though I didn’t really taste much of a difference using brown butter or not so if you want to skip the brown butter step that’s fine.

Hōjicha and Honey Ice Cream (Roasted Green Tea Ice Cream)

The smokey, lightly tannic flavour of hōjicha is tamed by the mellow sweetness of honey and the richness of cream. A lot of cream.

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Let me start off by showing off how fresh my egg yolks were.

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Hōjicha is basically roasted green tea, and this roasting process gives a slightly toasted flavour to the tea. It tastes less bitter, and is also overall lighter on the tongue.

It also supposedly has less caffeine than regular green tea but eh.

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I’ve wanted to make hōjicha ice cream ever since my trip to Hokkaido. I thought that green tea would be the default tea served there, but turns out hōjicha seemed to be more popular.

Also, who needs a whisk when you have a chopstick. Just the one.

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You end up with a beautifully rich ice cream – luscious, creamy, and smooth. The overnight cold infusion of the tea leaves also results in a more delicate flavour, so you get an intense flavour without the bitterness of over-steeped tea.

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The base recipe is the same as the one in my Matcha Ice Cream, which was based off one of icecreamscience‘s recipes.

Ingredients

  • 417g double cream (see notes)
  • 319g semi-skimmed milk
  • 46g skimmed milk powder
  • 120g sugar
  • 78g egg yolks (about 4 eggs)
  • 6 hōjicha tea bags
  • 1-2 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Mix yolks, sugar, skimmed milk powder vigorously together in a large saucepan. This is to stop the yolks from curdling.
  2. Mix in the cream and milk.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. You’re aiming to hold the mixture at about 71°C for about 20 mins to reduce the mixture by 15% by weight. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can just try to hold the mixture at the point when it’s steaming slightly (not too much and DEFINITELY not at a boil) and reduce it till it coats the back of your spoon. If you overheat your mixture you will get an eggy hydrogen sulfide taste.
  4. Transfer the ice cream mixture to a large container and add in your hōjicha tea leaves (if using tea bags cut open the bags). Add in the honey, and mix.
  5. Cool the mixture down as fast as you can, preferably by cooling it in a container in an ice bath. Once it’s cool put it in the fridge to age overnight. This is to reduce the bacteria growing so the ice cream keeps for longer, as well as to allow the flavour of the tea to infuse.
  6. The next day, sieve the mixture. Press the remaining tea leaves against the sift to get the last bits of flavour out.
  7. Put the sieved ice cream mixture into your ice cream machine.
  8. When the ice cream reaches the texture desired, stop churning and immediately store your ice cream in the freezer set at the lowest temperature (orrr you could just eat it straight away).
  9. To eat, allow to thaw for 10 mins first.

Notes

  • If you know the fat percentage of the cream you’re using, you can use other cream. Go to icecreamscience’s original blog post to calculate the adjusted recipe amounts (he has an excel sheet).
  • Holding the ice cream at 71°C makes the proteins in the milk undergo reversible unfolding which contributes to the creamy texture of the ice cream.
  • If your freezer can’t go as low as -18°C (like mine), I recommend eating the ice cream within a day or two. It can get icy if you can’t store it at low enough temperatures.