The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
Another month and another fun challenge, especially for a chocolate lover. To make the cake (recipe here) I assembled a few bars (tavolette di cioccolato) of different brands, mostly with 70% cocoa content, a couple with 60%. The melting of the chocolate is the step that requires some care and patience, but the smell helps quiet the mind. I baked my cake in a 9" springform pan. While offering a vanilla ice cream recipe each, our hosts let us free to accompany the cake with the ice cream of choice, made by us. I have been making ice cream and sorbet (gelato e sorbetto) at home for several years, so I must admit that this was a welcome requirement.
I decided to go with berries, having a substantial amount of frozen locally grown blueberries (mirtilli) in my freezer. First I made Blueberry and Buttermilk Sherbet, a recipe I have described in my recent post on homemade buttermilk (latticello fatto in casa).
I then made an ice cream, again using blueberries, drawing inspiration from a recipe in the same book, Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir: Strawberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream (gelato alle fragole e mascarpone). I could not pass up an opportunity for using my mascarpone fatto in casa (homemade mascarpone). My gelato ai mirtilli e mascarpone (Blueberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream) was excellent (and this is not just my opinion). I made a custard with two whole eggs, half a cup of sugar (100 g) and a cup of non-fat milk. Once the custard had cooled down slightly in a cold water bath, I added 250 g (8 and 3/4 oz.) of freshly-made mascarpone. I expected the mascarpone to easily blend into the egg custard, but that did not occur, so I ran the mixture through a wire mesh strainer, covered it, then chilled it. [Update: the last time I made the ice cream, my mascarpone blended well into the egg custard as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.]
I placed two cups of frozen blueberries in a pan and warmed them up until some of them started to break open, then removed the pan from the heat, cooled then chilled in the fridge. When I was ready to churn the ice cream, I used a potato masher (schiacciapatate) to mash the blueberries (as it is done in the sherbet recipe referenced above) before adding them to the custard. I then churned the mixture to obtain a mauve ice cream that complemented the chocolate cake and purple blueberry sherbet: the ensemble was a delicious trio.
A special thank you goes to our hosts for their efforts and support: it was a nice challenge. I hope you will take the time to go around and look at the gorgeous creations of my talented fellow Daring Bakers.