Dog Days

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I know what you are thinking.  You think I’ve been slacking off all summer, what with the post here, another there and multiple weeks in between.

Actually, the opposite is true.

The last couple of summers I found myself teaching a pretty intense graduate course.  As much fun as it was (really, it was), come September I found myself exhausted and not really ready to start the academic year.

So this year I said no to teaching and instead became the student.

Of baked goods.  I just finished up a phenomenal 10 week baking course through the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA.  Every Monday night the class convened for lecture and hands-on practice. The instructor, Chef May Hennemann was fantastic: incredibly accomplished, knowledgable and patient.   I’m not exaggerating when I say I think I smiled the entire 40 hours.  We covered everything from quick breads to laminates and I feel like my technical skills have greatly improved.

As an adult so many things I do are driven by need or purpose–means to an ends.  It was an incredible luxury to do something with the sole aim of enjoyment.

In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I working on negotiating additional coursework.

But here is the rub.  Each weekend following the Monday night class I would practice the previous week’s lessons.  This hasn’t left me with much time or motivation for blog posts.

But, I do have lots of stuff to share.  Some is directly from the class but most of it derivative from the concepts I’ve learned and played with on my practice days.

I many even have to double up some weeks.

I

We didn’t actually make ice cream in class.  But, the base of ice cream is very similar to creme anglaise, custard and pastry cream.  Like I said, derivative.  My very favorite chocolate cake includes a healthy dose of stout beer in the ingredient list.  So, when a friend brought us a Tabasco sauce meant for serving over ice cream I immediately thought of this combination.  It’s a good one!

Stout and Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

adapted ever so slightly from David Lebovitz

makes about one quart

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 3/4 C stout beer (Guinness or another favorite)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks (you don’t want to scramble your eggs), whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer over the milk chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

One thought on “Dog Days”

  1. How did I miss this post? Your classroom experience sounds enriching (ha ha) — I can’t wait to learn more about it!

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