Tag Archives: ice cream

Buttermilk and Date Ice Cream with Orange Blossom Water and a Goode Company Giveaway

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


  1. Combine dates and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Cover and microwave over high heat for two minutes. Set aside.
  2. Have ready a shallow casserole dish with a fine mesh strainer set over it.
  3. 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.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and while whisking constantly, slowly add one cup of the hot milk mixture to the yolks.
  5. While stirring the milks and sugar, gradually add the yolk and milk mixture back to the saucepan.
  6. 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.
  7. Strain the custard into the casserole dish and add the remaining cup of cream.
  8. Add 1-2 teaspoons of orange blossom water to the custard and stir until the custard is uniform in color.
  9. Chill the custard in a refrigerator or freezer until very cold (overnight in a refrigerator or about an hour in a freezer).
  10. 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.
  11. Pack ice cream into freezer safe containers and freeze overnight.
  12. Serve ice cream with chopped pecans or better yet, a pecan pie.

Quick notes

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.

Drumroll please…
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.

We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home – Honeydew, Cucumber, and Cayenne Frozen Yogurt

We have been overrun with cucumbers.

I mean that in quite a literal sense
as the cucumber vines are breaking out of the garden
through our chain link fence
and onto the sidewalk
where everyone in the neighborhood takes their nightly walks.

I hope they take some of the cucumbers as they go by.

In a concentrated effort to use up the cucumbers
I’ve been trying every recipe I find that uses them.

We’ve been pickling
having a lot of cucumber salads
and I have a cucumber risotto coming up on the menu plan.

I’m thankful for the risotto because it uses ten cucumbers
which should put a dent in our supply…
for a few days.

While the frozen yogurt recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home doesn’t call for ten cucumbers
it does call for at least part of one
so I felt it would be appropriate to make Honeydew, Cucumber, and Cayenne Frozen Yogurt
on the heels of The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World.

Continue reading We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home – Honeydew, Cucumber, and Cayenne Frozen Yogurt

We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home – The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

I purchased Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home because I only had one ice cream cookbook
(Lebovitz’ definitive book for the home cook, The Perfect Scoop)
and I thought it was time to try something new.

Splendid Ice Creams does not use eggs in any of its recipes
whereas most of Lebovitz’ ice creams are custard-based.

I prefer a custard base for ice cream
but the egg-free recipes are what interested me about this book from the start.

If you don’t try new recipes
how do you grow?

Bauer writes she doesn’t like to use eggs because they muddle the ice cream’s other tastes
(sounds like another chef I know).

Instead of using xanthan gum,
a typical emulsifier in ice cream recipes without eggs,
she uses cornstarch and cream cheese to thicken the ice cream.

When I was researching the book before I purchased it
her use of cream cheese made me pause for a moment.

I didn’t want the ice cream to taste like cream cheese or cheesecake.

I have a funny relationship with cream cheese.

I like cream cheese
but you’ve never seen me turn a cookbook page so fast
as when cream cheese is in the ingredient list.

I usually think of it as a cheater ingredient
something to “add something”
instead of thinking hard for a moment and figuring out what the dish really needs
(butter? cream? a roux base? salt? sour cream?).

I didn’t say it was a RATIONAL relationship with cream cheese.

The cream cheese only caused a small pause on my end.
Bauer’s not an amateur
and my worry that the ice creams would all taste like flavored cheesecake was fleeting.

Bauer uses cream cheese for its casein proteins
and explains why in a section of the book entitled The Craft of Ice Cream.

It’s an informative section
and also outlines why she uses sugar and corn syrup
(not high fructose corn syrup)
and how cornstarch takes care of the ice cream so it doesn’t become icy.

I’ve not had problems with my custard ice creams becoming icy
even after lounging in the freezer
but I know that some people end up with icy cream instead of ice cream.

I went through Splendid Ice Creams several times before settling on a first recipe.

You’d think that I would start with vanilla ice cream
but I went with chocolate.
Dark chocolate.

I started with The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World
(I don’t always start off with chocolate, but when I do, it’s darkest chocolate in the world)
because dark chocolate ice cream is my favorite flavor
ever since I first had it at Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin.

Jeni’s, Amy’s…
Can someone open up a place called THOR’S ICE CREAM, please?

There is danger in expecting a recipe from one place
to taste like the product from another place
so I reminded myself about that
and focused my expectations on a good dark chocolate ice cream
not Amy’s dark chocolate ice cream.

Continue reading We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home – The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

I knew they would come when I wasn’t looking.

My husband and I
with Tiny in tow
went to Canal House’s Smallholding Festival for our anniversary on Saturday
and I knew
that the moment I left the house
the moment I stopped checking the doorstop
the books I had been waiting on for a week would come.

More than one person has asked me why I have so many cookbooks
since I “can’t possibly cook everything from them.”

They’re right
but sitting down with a tower of books to plan seven days worth of meals
is the most relaxing
and exciting
time in my week.

The box that arrived at my house while I wasn’t looking
brought several new books for me
among them,
Jeni Britton Baur’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. 1579654363

I had read a few reviews on Amazon about the book
Googled a few press releases
but nothing told me what I wanted to know about it.

How did it feel in my hand?
What did the layout look like?
Did the photos, if any, accurately represent the recipes?

So I caved in
used a few rewards points from my book club
and bought the book to find out for myself.

Continue reading We Cook: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home