Wow… What a fast month it’s been. It’s hard to believe that I have been in New York for 2 whole months already and I still feel like I have so much to take care of. I am going back to Calgary in another few weeks (I can’t wait to see my other half!) while mom starts 6 weeks of heavy physical therapy (she tore her achilles tendon). The weather has eased up and is actually quite pleasant at night so I can sleep with the windows open and listen to sounds of the crickets and the wind blowing through the leaves of the sicamore trees…lovely. But, as usual, time is against me and I am running late with this months challenge. The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
So… two months in row for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. It’s actually really easy, just more time consuming.
I decided to go with the petit fours and not the baked alaska – I’m saving that for another time. I had origianlly wanted to make my ice cream with Calvados (a French apple infused brandy), but couldn’t find it at the local liquor store and being short on time decided to save it for another time (baked alaska). I went with brown butter ice cream, which I am now convinced is the greatest ice cream flavor of them all.
Browned butter is nothing new to the baking world but is not used enough as far as I am concerned, myself included.Beurre noisette (French: literally, “hazelnut butter”, sometimes loosely translated as brown butter) is frequently used in French pastry making. Unsalted butter is melted over low heat and allowed to separate into butterfat and milk solids. The milk solids naturally sink to the bottom of the pan and, if left over gentle heat, will begin to brown. As the milk solids reach a toasty hazelnut color, the pan is removed from the heat. It has a beautiful warm, nutty flavour.
(If beurre noisette is not mixed after preparation but separated in the firm (protein) and liquid (fat) components, the latter is the type of clarified butter known as ghee in South Asia and samna in the Arabic countries.)
Brown Butter Hazelnut Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into small pieces
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
Place the butter in a wide stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt then let it cook, swirling the pan occasonally, until the butter is quite brown and smells toasted. Remove from the heat and let cool. Reserve 2 Tablespoons.
Mix the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Measure out 2-3 tablespoons of the milk and pour it into a separate bowl, then whisk in the cornstarch. Set aside.
Whisk the sugar and corn syrup into the milk mixture in the saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, being careful not to let the milk boil over. Simmer lightly for about 5 minutes, then pour in the milk and cornstarch mixture and whisk to combine. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, for about one minute. Remove from the heat.
Combine the cooked milk mixture with the cooled brown butter in a blender or food processor. Carefully blend at high speed (hold the lid on with a towel!) until completely mixed and emulsified. Add in the vanilla and blend for another 30 seconds.
Cool the milk and butter mixture in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to instructions. (I followed last months procedure).
Toss the hazelnuts with the reserved browned butter and toast for 2-3 minutes. Stir the hazelnuts into your ice cream when almost set.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours
1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.
I will say that I thought the chocolate sauce took away from the flavor of the brown butter flavor (my mother does not agree), so I made a brown buttered rum sauce to just drizzle over the petit fours, which I like much better.