Friday, August 18, 2017

Roasted Cherry-Mint No-Churn Ice Cream

Well, if the weather is still warm enough to eat ice cream, I would suggest making this cherry-mint no-churn ice cream.  I fell behind posting what I made this month because I've been very busy lately, with camping last week and then some volunteer work my son and I were doing this week.  But, I have to admit, most nights I look forward to spend time with my family during the summer.  We love to watch movie and summertime is the time we catch up with movies.  And sometimes we're doing things outside.  So even as I'm still baking and creating desserts I don't have time to write the post!

The idea of making this combination comes from me starring in the opened kitchen pantry and saw a box of Girl Scout Cookie's Thin Mint.  I love those cookies!  Love it more than Oreos, really.  But buying a box of that isn't very friendly to my wallet, so it's best to ration the consumption.  Anyway, I had cherries also sitting in the fridge.  I thought by combining these two, I would get an exciting flavors.

The cherries got roasted for some time in a 400F oven.  I was thinking roasting them would bring more sweetness and give them caramelization.  Caramelization equals sweeter, right?

Okay, so here's the recipe because I need to watch a movie! :D

Roasted Cherry-Mint No-Churn Ice Cream

Serves 8-10

1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup roasted cherries, see instruction below
1 cup coarsely chopped Thin Mint cookies--depending on how you like the cookies, you can add more if you want!

In a large bowl whisk together kirsch and vanilla extract with sweetened condensed milk and salt.

With a mixer, whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture.  Fold the roasted cherries.

Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or wax paper.  Spoon half of the ice cream mixture.  Add half of the cookies, mix gently with spoon.  Spoon the rest of the ice cream mixture and then add the last half of cookies.  Press plastic wrap onto the surface of ice cream and wrap tightly.  Freeze until firm, or for at least 12 hours before serving.

Let ice cream stands for 10 minutes or so before scooping.

How to roast cherries:  Heat oven to 400F.  Place cherries on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 10 minutes.  Cool before using.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Peach Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping

Since the weather is awfully sweltering here in Oregon, I thought what better way than to share a cool dessert such as this peach cheesecake?  Every summer, we've always had fresh picked peaches from a friend's farm in Canby.  There's a joy of wanting for special fruits or produce when they're in season.  I love how in the summer, there's fruits to eat based on what's ripening that week.  I've had local watermelon now that they're available and boy, they're much sweeter than other variety!

I've made several things with peaches but never in a cheesecake.  This one is quite simple, basically the peaches are diced then marinated in whiskey.  In this case, I did it with Grand Marnier because that's what I have.  Then I make the crumbs and cheesecake batter.  Finally it's baked in a 350F oven.  Whether you want to bake it with water-bath method or straight bake method is up to you.  I've tried both and there's things I like with both method.  The only drawback with the straight bake one is that the cheesecake is prone to cracking.  But if you like to top it with something, sometimes it doesn't really matter.

The blueberry topping and caramel sauce is my spur of the moment additions.  I had plenty of blueberries in the fridge that I would like to use up.  They go together nicely!

Peach Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping

Serves 10 to 12

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup diced peeled peaches (about 2 medium)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or whiskey
3 packages (each 8 oz/250g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blueberry topping:
2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought

To make the crust:  In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.

To make the filling:  In a small bowl, combine peaches and Grand Marnier.  Set aside

In a mixer bowl, fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, yogurt and brown sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth, for 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Fold in soaked peaches, with juices, and vanilla by hand.

Pour over frozen crust, smoothing out to sides of pan.  Bake in a preheated oven until top is light brown and center has a slight jiggle to it, 45 to 55 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

To make blueberry topping:  In a saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and orange zest.  In a small bowl, mix together orange juice and cornstarch; pour this mixture into the saucepan.  Cook in medium heat until blueberries pop, bubbly and start to thicken, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

When ready to serve, drizzle some caramel sauce on a plate, place a slice of cheesecake and drizzle some blueberry topping on top.

Source:  adapted from The Cheesecake Bible by George Geary