Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daring Bakers February Challenge: Chocolate Valentino Cake and Homemade Mint Ice Cream

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I know I'm late with my Feb challenge but between traveling every weekend and some other things it's been a crazy month. But I'm pleased to finally post the February 2009 challenge: Chocolate Valentino Cake with homemade ice cream...

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They 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.

The Chocolate Valentino, is a flourless Chocolate Cake inspired by Malaysia’s "most flamboyant food ambassador," Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

Visit our hosts Dharm and Wendy for the full recipe and both a traditional custard ice cream recipe and a Philadelphia style ice cream recipe.

Part of the challenge was making the homemade ice cream and our hosts left it open for us to make whatever ice cream we desired, so I decided to go for a fresh mint ice cream. Here's what I did...


Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients:
* 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 cup of packed fresh mint
* 6 large egg yolks
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* Several drops of green food coloring (optional)

In a medium heavy saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer. Remove pan from heat. Add mint sprigs and stir, cover pot, and allow to steep 30 minutes. Once the mixture has steeped pour through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl pressing the leaves to extract all of the milk/cream mixture; discard solids.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in vanilla extract. Add a few tablespoons of warm milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking vigorously to temper the eggs. Then add egg mixture back into milk mixture, whisking continuously.

Return the mixture to the saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a large heat-proof rubber spatula until custard thickens. You'll be able to tell that it's ready when it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and a mark remains when you run your finger down spoon. If you have an instant read thermometer you can cook until it reads 175° to 180°. DO NOT allow mixture to boil. DO NOT stop stirring this isn't a dish you can leave alone even for a moment.

Once custard has reached the appropriate temperature/thickness remove from heat and strain custard through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl; discard solids. Cover the custard and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day. (If you are in a hurry you can speed up the chilling time, by placing the glass bowl of custard in an ice bath in the refrigerator until custard thickens slightly and is completely cool to touch.)

Once custard is properly chilled freeze the custard according to ice cream maker instructions. While ice cream maker is mixing the custard add in a few drops of green food coloring until the mixture reaches the desired shade of green (if desired). When ice cream is ready transfer to airtight container and freeze for a couple of hours and then serve.

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If you don't have an ice cream maker take a look at David Lebovitz's site for instructions for making ice cream without an ice cream freezer.

I decided that heart shaped cupcakes would be lovely so I picked up a very cool mini heart cupcake pan from New York Cake and Bake. My chocolate cakes were tasty, but a bit dry. I think I suck at folding egg whites. I will conquer you yet flourless chocolate cake!

The ice cream on the other hand was spectacular. I highly recommend this recipe for mint ice cream lovers. Lawman was a bit put off by the amount of food coloring that I added. Food coloring is fun! And it's almost St. Patty's day. Live a little! Speaking of St. Patty's Day, for those of you bereft New Yorkers without access to bright green minty milkshakes because of Mickey D's vast Shamrock Shake conspiracy, I highly recommend preparing this recipe adding a few scoops of ice cream to your favorite glass and pouring in as much milk as desired. So, so freaking good. The ice cream is really creamy and the mint is really minty and I know some will call this blasphemous, but it was a lot better than my first Shamrock Shake experience last year.

If you want to go crazy you can crumble up your Valentino as I did and toss it in your shake. Yum! Enjoy!

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Visit the Daring Bakers blogroll to see more fabulous takes on this challenge.

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