The contest is now closed. Scroll down for the winner!
This ice cream has always been about pecans.
I came up with the recipe as an accompaniment for pecans
specifically for a pecan pie.
Usually, pecans make me feel mushy and happy because I associate them with home:
my parents have pecan trees growing on their property in Texas
my grandmothers both say PEE-can, tickling me no to end
and while I don’t care for plain pecans, when holiday baking begins I end up eating a treeload’s worth in pecan pralines.
The gooey and sentimental feelings on pecans persisted until a few days ago
right up until the fifth attempt at making a pecan pie simply to photograph under the ice cream.
Five times on top of a burned Thanksgiving pie is past my threshold of Pie Failures in Ten Days.
Just the ice cream photographs, then.
Pitting dates is easy enough.
If you spray your knife blade with non-stick spray
(or wipe it with neutral-flavored oil)
the dates will spend much less time clinging desperately to your blade.
I pitted the dates
sliced them into quarters
then piled the quarters up neatly and chopped into even pieces.
After all of the dates were chopped
I put everything into a small bowl
and poured over enough Grand Marnier to soak everything.
Soaking the date pieces in alcohol helps prevent them from turning into violent, tooth-cracking bits of shrapnel.
I covered the bowl in plastic wrap and then microwaved everything for a few minutes.
I would’ve done this step in a small pot
but every single pot in my kitchen was waiting to be washed at that moment.
I set the hot fruit and alcohol aside to soak for a while
and began on the custard.
I had not used orange blossom water with heat before
so I didn’t know if heat would diminish the water’s flavor
(the same way heat can dull vanilla’s flavor)
and decided to wait until I cooled the custard to add it.
Putting the orange blossom water aside
I warmed buttermilk, sugar, and cream in a pot.
While that was heating, I separated the eggs
(freezing the whites for later use)
whisked the warm milk mixture into the yolks to temper them
then added the yolks and milk back into the pot
that was clean, despite its appearance.
It had an unfortunate experience of being empty, forgotten, and over heat for a while.
I’m not sure its finish is going to ever recover.
After a few minutes the custard was ready:
I strained it
and poured in some reserved cream to help it cool down.
I added the orange blossom water and mixed everything to a uniform color.
Then I kept licking the spatula
and I knew things were good.
The custard went into the freezer for about an hour to chill.
Once the custard was very-cold-not-frozen
I poured it into the machine and let it churn for about 25 minutes.
I added the dates
which had soaked up all of the liquor
and continued to run the ice cream maker for another five minutes.
I like firm ice cream
so I packed the ice cream into a container and popped it into the freezer overnight.
The next morning I had buttermilk date ice cream with orange blossom water
and one of my failed pie crusts for breakfast
(failure is good for something, at least)
with chopped pecans on top.
It’s pecans that really make this ice cream.
The pecans and buttermilk remind me of buttermilk pralines
the orange blossom water of oranges, flowers, and pecans at Christmas
and dates soaked in Grand Marnier… well, that’s just a good idea at any time.
While good on its own
I made this ice cream with pecans in mind
and pecans it demands.
In light of demanding ice cream and (five) pie disasters
I’m happy to be able to give away a Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie from the fine people at Goode Company.
The fact that it is a pecan pie
and that the box is emblazoned with “You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas”
makes me a little homesick all the way in Pennsylvania
but the sweet-sad coverts quickly to excitement when I realize I get to facilitate pie appearing on someone’s doorstep.
Here are the rules to winning a pecan pie that you don’t have to make (or try to make five times and fail):
- The Prize: A Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie from Goode Company
- Number of winners: 1
- Prize Ships: Within the continental U.S..
- To Enter to Win: Leave a comment on this post. You could tell me if you like to eat your pie à la mode or if you like it stark naked (the pie), how your day was, or if you’re going to make this ice cream I’m proud of.
- Bonus Entry Opportunities: Pin a photo from this post to Pinterest, Tweet a link to this post, or share through Facebook. Come back here and tell me how you did it (if you share this post multiple ways, make sure to leave a separate comment for each way you shared) and you’ve got yourself another entry.
- Giveaway Ends: Friday, December 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm Eastern time.
- The Fine Print: The winner will be selected at random. Up to four entries per person (one comment about anything, one pin on Pinterest, one tweet, one Facebook share). Entrants must have a valid e-mail address.
Notice: I am only a pie facilitator. I was not compensated in any manner by Goode Company or anyone else to host this giveaway. Goode Company will be shipping the pie directly to the winner.
If you don’t win the pecan pie
you can console yourself by making ice cream that needs only some toasted and chopped pecans to make it sing.
Buttermilk and Date Ice Cream with Orange Blossom Water
Use a light hand with the orange blossom water. It is easy to add too much and quickly find yourself in a bouquet of flowers that you now have to eat. Don’t buy pre-chopped dates. Buy whole ones and practice your knife skills. This yields about a quart of ice cream.
- 5 oz pitted dates, chopped
- 6 tablespoons (100 ml) Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liquor
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 heaping cup of sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1-2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- Pecan pie or toasted and chopped pecans to serve
- Combine dates and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Cover and microwave over high heat for two minutes. Set aside.
- Have ready a shallow casserole dish with a fine mesh strainer set over it.
- Mix together buttermilk, one cup of cream, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat through until the mixture is steaming (but not boiling) and the sugar has dissolved.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and while whisking constantly, slowly add one cup of the hot milk mixture to the yolks.
- While stirring the milks and sugar, gradually add the yolk and milk mixture back to the saucepan.
- With a cook spoon or spatula, stir the custard slowly and constantly over medium heat until it has thickened enough to coat the back of the stirring implement. Do not let the mixture boil.
- Strain the custard into the casserole dish and add the remaining cup of cream.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of orange blossom water to the custard and stir until the custard is uniform in color.
- Chill the custard in a refrigerator or freezer until very cold (overnight in a refrigerator or about an hour in a freezer).
- Once cold, pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for freezing, adding chopped dates in the last few minutes of churning.
- Pack ice cream into freezer safe containers and freeze overnight.
- Serve ice cream with chopped pecans or better yet, a pecan pie.
You can warm the dates and Grand Marnier together in a small sauce pan on the stove, if you’d like. Make sure your pot is small enough so that the dates are nearly covered by the alcohol.
Using the And The Winner Is… plugin, the lucky pecan pie recipient is:
Keep an eye on your email lizlizliz and thanks to everyone for participating!
If you didn’t win, give the ice cream recipe a shot.
I promise it’s delicious.