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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Beat the heat with Tarragon Olive Oil Ice Cream


 Tarragon Olive Oil Ice Cream

French Tarragon is such a versatile herb, which we are lucky to  have growing in our herb garden like a flavoursome weed.  Then in Spring it becomes a carpet  of  beautiful small yellow flowers which the bees adore. Each year after flowering we prune it back and replant some of it and then we have a healthy crop for the remainder of the year. I think we have the French variety which is the preferred one, however in savoury or sweet dishes, such as ice cream it excels in flavour, and the aniseed flavour is quite subtle. This ice cream is an absolute delight and when the man of the house suggested we should use tarragon to make an ice cream, well I was all for it. 

We worked together on the first batch, my main role being to make sure that we  followed the stages of the recipe in sequential order, and stir the custard, whilst he prepared the tarragon. Then when we were successful, he very excitedly went solo with a second batch whilst I was busy elsewhere. He is the proverbial sweet tooth of the family. Next time we will just be doubling the recipe so that we have plenty in reserve. A drizzle of olive oil and a surprise scattering of sea salt over the top before serving, and this ice cream is my very favourite flavour at the moment, and also the tarragon imparts a nice subtle olive green flavour which the photos don't do justice to. I wish I was a better foodie photographer, however the proof is in the eating and well worth the effort. I think basil could be a nice substitute for tarragon as well.  Now there's a thought. The original recipe for this delightful concoction came from the Bojon Gourmet

I hope that anyone who finds my blog isn't suffering too much from the heat at present. We have had some dreadfully hot days here previously, however today isn't too bad on the tropical Queensland coast around Mackay. Take care everyone and treat yourself to some ice cream.

Let's make ice cream

Ingredients:

1 cup thickened cream
6 large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 bunch tarragon, leaves removed from stems, and packed into 1 generous cup size
1/2 cup fruity, extra virgin olive oil

Equipment:

A whisk
Heat proof silicon spatula
Medium saucepan
Kitchen Aid or other brand ice cream maker bowl if possible
Heatproof glass jug
Fine mesh sieve
Large metal colander

Let's make the custard:

Some of the mystery is removed from making ice cream when you realise that it is about making a good custard which ends up frozen.
  1. Place the thickened cream in a large glass jug which holds about 1 litre (1 quart) and set aside.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl on top of a damp tea towel for stability and set aside also.
  3. This is where we scald the milk. Select a medium sized saucepan, warm the milk, sugar and salt over a medium hotplate, stirring the milk occasionally with a wooden spoon until the milk is steaming and small bubbles form on the bottom of the pan and milk attaches to the spoon. You will know when this is happening. It only takes a few minutes.
  4. When the milk is hot, dribble it slowly into the yolks in the heatproof jug, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan on a medium low hotplate, and simmer, stirring constantly with a heat proof silicon spatula scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, until the custard just begins to thicken and stick  to the bottom of the pan, taking just a few minutes
  5. Remove the saucepan from the stove immediately, and pour the hot custard into the cold, thickened cream. Place it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, so you can work well in advance. On the other hand, I haven't actually done this, but the Bojon Gourmet who originated this recipe says "if you are in a hurry, you can place the mixture in an ice water bath and stir until it is cold."
Let's prepare the Tarragon:

Blanching: 
Boil some water in a medium sized saucepan. Meanwhile have a bowl of iced water ready on the bench. 
Blanch the tarragon in the boiling water until bright green, 5-10 seconds, so don't leave the stove. Drain through a a colander, and then plunge the tarragon into the iced water.
When it is cold, drain it, and use your hands to squeeze all of the water out.

Place the blanched, squeezed tarragon into a blender or food processor. 
Remove your cold ice cream base from the fridge, and add about a cup of the cold ice cream base and blend until smooth. slowly adding the remaining ice cream base. Our food processor wasn't powerful enough to completely blitz the tarragon in  this mixture but it didn't affect the outcome. 
Strain the mixture, now nicely and subtly green tinged  through a fine mesh sieve.

Churning the ice cream:

Place the ice cream base into a pre-chilled container and place it in the freezer for half an hour to get it really cold, shaking or stirring it every 10 minutes. This produces a smoother ice cream and that's what we want.
Spin the ice cream in a pre-frozen ice cream maker bowl until it is the consistency of a thick milkshake.
Transfer the ice cream to a storage container, preferably pre-chilled in the freezer, and freeze for at least 2 hours for a scoopable consistency. Ours was made 24 hours in advance so n ow it gets interesting.

We needed at least 13 portions, so Mr. HRK who I have already mentioned was the driving force behind making this ice cream came up with the idea of using silicon muffin pans to freeze the ice cream in, so that it would be much easier to transfer scoops onto the serving plates.

Lightly oil the muffin pan holes, and spoon the ice cream into the holes. This way you are sure of how many exact servings you have and the scoops will just pop out of silicon the muffin trays.



Serve scoops of the tarragon coloured ice cream with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, flakes or grains. If you can get Maldon that is fine, however we had some nice French granulated salt we were gifted from Provence so that worked well.

The ice cream is best consumed within a week of being made, but ideally will keep for several months if necessary. As if it would ever last that long in the average household freezer.




This recipe came from The Bojon Gourmet.

Bon appetit and warm wishes everyone.

Thankyou for visiting my blog.

Pauline

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