Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ice Cream Party!!!


When I received the Cuisinart 2 Lt Frozen Yoghurt, Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker to review from Kitchenware Direct, I could have said: "I'll make an ice cream", but what I actually said was: "Let's have a party!"  You may remember that I had an ice-cream party back in the summer of '07 - that was five years ago and it was well overdue for another one!

In the week leading up to the party, we made eight different ice creams with loads of accompaniments for our sixteen guests.  It was a big blur of custard making, chilling, churning and freezing.


The Machine


Here's the ice-cream maker, in a snazzy metallic red.  My old ice-cream maker is a one-litre Breville Scoop Factory ice-cream maker (it's about ten years old now, I think, and still chugging along!)  Both work the same way: you have a chiller bowl (kept in the freezer between churns), which rotates in the machine with a paddle to churn the ice-cream.  Because the bowl needs to be completely frozen before churning, you can only make one ice-cream at a time.  Although if you happen to have two machines, you can make two at once!  Wahey!  

Because the machines are both so similar, I didn't see a huge difference in the quality or results.  The main bonus of the Cuisinart is that it has a 2-litre bowl, so I can churn more mixture at once.  The downside of this, though, is that it seems to take quite a bit longer than the smaller Breville Scoop Factory to churn the ice cream - about twenty minutes as opposed to ten.  (This wasn't a huge deal, as churned ice-creams need to sit in the freezer for a good few hours to firm up before eating anyway).


The Ice Creams

Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream
Cheesecake Ice Cream
Chestnut Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Mango Sorbet
Pandan and Toasted Coconut Sherbert

Of the eight ice-creams, we tried to get a mix of classic flavours and some more exotic ones, whilst also trying to make sure they'd match well together.  (Recipe sources are listed as a caption underneath each picture.)

Vanilla Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's How to Eat
I used a very large, very fresh, vanilla pod for this one, which resulted in a super-speckly, very-vanilla vanilla ice cream.  Delicious!  I could have probably used just half the vanilla pod and it still would have been good.

"The World's Best Chocolate Ice-Cream" - Nigella Lawson's How to Eat
I love this dark, creamy chocolate ice cream, with smoky hints from the addition of burnt caramel.  (I've made it once before, as part of my How to Eat project!)  This is like a slightly lighter version of Fergus Henderson's dark chocolate ice cream, which, although delicious, is so dark and intense that I can only eat tiny amounts of it.

Strawberry Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer

I'm always impressed by how vibrantly Nigella's strawberry ice cream actually tastes of strawberries, and tends to scoop pretty easily, despite being a fruit-based ice cream.  (As a general rule: fruits = water = an icy hard result).  The strawberries in questions were actually ones we picked by hand at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm about a month ago - I'd carefully cleaned, hulled and measured them out, and stashed them in the freezer for just this purpose.

Cheesecake Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer
This is one of my faves, which I've made twice before (here and here).  It's so easy to make, is always smooth and creamy, and really tastes like cheesecake.

Chestnut Ice Cream - BBC Good Food website
I wasn't a huge fan of the chestnut ice cream - despite using unsweetened chestnut puree, the finished product was very sweet.  It was also incredibly difficult to scoop, staying rock solid long after the other ice creams were already melting.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream - David Lebovitz' Ready for Dessert
David Lebovitz' salted caramel was easily the most popular ice cream out of all of them.  I loved how creamy and soft it was, right out of the freezer.  I was afraid that the dark, almost burnt caramel would be too intense for my friends, but they absolutely loved it!  (N.B. the salted caramel ice cream from Ready for Dessert doesn't contain any butter, and is thus different from the salted butter caramel ice cream on David's wonderful blog.  I'm sure the butter version would also be delicious!)

Mango Sorbet; Toasted Coconut & Pandan Sherbert
(both adapted from recipes in David Lebovitz' Ready for Dessert)
Finally we have a couple of fruity ices, both adapted from recipes in Ready for Dessert.  The mango sorbet simply contained mango, sugar and a little rum - refreshing and gorgeously bright yellow.  I adapted David's toasted coconut sherbert recipe to make the Malaysian-style pandan sherbert, and I was so pleased with the results that I'll give it its own blog post this week!


The Serving Bowls

I got to use all the funky ice cream paraphernalia that I'd gotten for Christmas - I love the pastel-coloured metal bowls especially, but the stripey paper cups and sundae glasses were pretty awesome too!
  


The Accompaniments


Meringues (plain, cocoa, blue)
Toasted Pecans
Lindt Chocolate Flakes
Salted Candied Peanuts (David Lebovitz recipe)
Blueberries, Strawberries
Coconut Flakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce (Nigella recipe)
Whipped Cream

Toasted Pecans, Shredded Coconut, Lindt Chocolate Flakes

Most of the ice creams we made were based on egg-yolk custards... which meant lots of leftover egg whites!  So I made a massive batch of meringues the night before - I divided the mixture into three, and made plain ones, cocoa ones, and baby blue ones.
Meringues - cocoa, plain

Blue Meringues
I thought the cocoa-swirled ones were especially pretty, but I must say I quite liked the plain ones too!  (I was pretty proud that I could pipe decent-looking stars, hehe!)  The baby blue meringues seemed to crack and weep a bit - I wonder if it was because of the extra liquid from the colouring, or if the mixture was mixed too vigorously when the colouring was added?  Either way, they turned out a lovely shade of blue so I was happy with them.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce - Nigella Express

The chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce from Nigella Express (recipe here) is insanely delicious!  Very rich, sweet and decadent - but still compulsive.  (Towards the end of the day, I even saw one of my friends dip meringues into the sauce to eat it!  Woah - sugar overload!)  Nigella suggests serving the sauce with ice-cream and salted peanuts, but why just have salted peanuts, when you can have...


David Lebovitz' truly amazing salted candied peanuts!  I cannot overemphasize how good they are!  I made them the night before, and it was so hard not eating them all before the party started!  (I've previously made them with macadamias - also fabulous).  I can't believe I only made one cup of peanuts - despite the huge amount of other sweet treats on offer, people couldn't seem to get enough of these and they were the first thing to finish up.  The next day, we even made a double batch of these to give to my dad and my aunt who only managed to have a little bit at the party.

I found it really interesting seeing how everyone approached the ice cream buffet.  (Are there three more beautiful words in the English language?)  Most people tried a spoon of each one and then went back for their favourites; some carefully considered the labels and then carefully selected their flavours - and all the while there was lots of discussion of the different flavours and toppings. Yay!


The Sundaes

Although most people just made up little bowls of mixed flavours for themselves, we did make some 'proper' sundaes too - let's check them out!
Neapolitan - chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice-creams with whipped cream and chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce 

Mont Blanc - Crushed meringues, chestnut ice-cream, whipped cream and chocolate flakes 

Eton Mess - Whipped cream, crushed meringues, strawberries, chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce
No ice-cream in this one - as the party drew to a close and only a few people remained, I realised that we had whipped cream, meringues and strawberries, and swiftly made myself an Eton Mess.

The "Georgina" Special - Salted caramel ice-cream, chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce, salted candied peanuts 

Perhaps the most on-trend ice-cream sundae of the day!

Affogato - Vanilla bean ice-cream and espresso 

The "I Can't Decide" - Vanilla, salted caramel, chocolate and cheesecake ice-creams with chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce and salted candied peanuts 

Everything tastes better with whipped cream
Left: topped with crushed meringues
Right: topped with chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce & chocolate flakes

What a super-fun day!  Big thanks to my friends and family for being so enthusiastic about the ice creams!

6 comments:

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

What an awesome dessert fest! Great work!

Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday) said...

ice cream party... i am so scared of this idea considering we just had a deep fried party but omg... want!

Hannah said...

It seems to me that this world is a very cruel place. How is it that we can't all close our eyes and then open them again to find a spread like this in our homes? Sarah, you amaze me.

I'll take the chestnut ice cream (even if it is too sweet) slathered in chocolate peanut butter sauce and candied peanuts, please. FOREVER.

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

Gosh, bummed I missed this!!!! I had to go get myself some salted caramel ice cream to make do... LOL

OK. I'm giving you two choices. You can now be referred to as Dessert Queen or remain to be the one and only, crowned, Butter Queen. You have 24 hours to take up the new title after which will self destruct.

I leave it in your buttery hands.

Norm said...

Wooooaaaaahhhhh! What an AWESOME party! It all looks amazing. I'm going to bookmark this page so I can shamelessly copy your idea one day in the future when we're back in the UK.

Sarah said...

Leaf - Thanks so much! :)

Kat - If you have a party you share the calories ;)

Hannah - You're too kind! And I love your idea for a sundae!

Adrian - Butter Queen forever! The giant Mrs Fields Cookie has spoken!

Norm - Surely Brunei has a better climate for ice-cream? :)