The short version of this post goes like this: remember when we made crème anglaise? That sauce made from milk, cream, and sugar, flavoured with vanilla and thickened with egg yolks, gently cooked on a double-boiler? If you put that sauce into a well-chilled household ice cream churn, you can make pretty good ice cream.
The long version of this post is more like this:
There are two broad styles of ice cream: Philadelphia and French. Philly ice cream typically contains only milk, cream, and sugar, while French ice cream also contains eggs. In fact, the crème anglaise we made last week is very, very similar to some recipes for French ice cream mix. The only difference is that … Continue reading.
While crème brûlée is immediately identifiable by the crust of burnt sugar on top, the custard itself has a very particular consistency and flavour. Since it is eaten out of a ramekin, it can have a much softer, moister curd that, say, crème caramel, which is unmolded on to a plate and is therefore firmer, and eggier.
In fact crème brûlée used to be even more moist than it is now. According to Harold McGee, crème brûlée used to be completely liquid, like crème anglaise, and was poured into a very shallow dish, dusted with sugar, and burnt. Before blowtorches became the norm the burnt crust was made by taking a heavy, metal plate out of some very … Continue reading.
Clarified butter is butter from which water and milk solids like protein and sugar have been removed to leave pure milk fat. As the name implies, it has a radiant clarity. As the proteins have been removed, it can be heated to frying temperatures without burning.
Clarifying butter is simple. If you gently heat butter in a pot, this is what happens:
- The milk fat becomes liquid.
- The water content begins to evaporate, gently bubbling to the surface.
- The light whey proteins form a foam on the surface. Once the water content has been driven off, this foam dries and forms a crackly skin.
- The heavier casein proteins coagulate and fall to the bottom of the pot.
If you skim … Continue reading.
Attendez la crème!
-Col. Hans Landa
Though whipped cream has been around for hundreds of years, it took two relatively modern inventions for it to become as common as it is now.
One is the wire whisk. Before this tool was invented, cooks used cumbersome bundles of sticks or straw. More important for the future of whipped cream, though, was the invention of the mechanical cream separator. The traditional way to separate cream from milk is to let the fresh milk stand for several hours. Fattier bits will float to the top, and the cream skimmed from the surface will typically be about 25% fat. Mechanical separators use centrifugal forces and are able to produce cream with a … Continue reading.
Malt has an amazing flavour, one that sits at the nexus of sweet and savoury: its aroma simultaneously evokes caramel and green grass.
Outside of brewing, one comes across malt in odd, far-flung corners of the culinary world. It is somewhat common in bread baking: in the form of malt extract and maltodextrin it is sometimes added to bagels and pretzels. It is used a lot in modernist kitchens. The Copenhagen landmark Noma uses maltodextrixin to make an edible substance that looks like topsoil (yum). I’ve never seen the recipe, but I’m confident that Milk Bar in New York uses some form of malt in their famous cereal milk ice cream. And of course there are malted milkshakes, which everyone … Continue reading.
I think I remember scallop potatoes more fondly than any other form of the tuber. Maybe French fries were more highly prized when I was a child, but truth be told I ate them much more often than scallop potatoes. Scallop potatoes, being a casserole dish, was reserved for large dinners, especially Easter.
At its core the dish is potatoes, cut into rounds (scalloped), then baked in cream and cheese. There are obviously countless variations; I know some mothers who bake their scallop potatoes in mushroom or onion soup mix. There is a classic French dish called pommes à la dauphinois that is identical to scallop potatoes. The addition of grated cheese to the top of the dish would make … Continue reading.
How to Incorporate the Eggs. There are several different ways to put the “egg” into “eggnog.” For a few years I used this method:
- whisk egg yolks with some sugar until pale and foamy
- whisk egg whites with some sugar until soft peaks form
- fold the two egg foams together and stir into milk and cream
- add rum and nutmeg
The problem with this method, first of all, is that if it sits for even five minutes, the eggy foams separate from the milk and cream. I wouldn’t mind a bit of head on the nog, but the foams make up about 90% of the volume. Even during the brief moments in which all the ingredients are properly incorporated, … Continue reading.
Last night was Ash Wednesday, and I partook of my family’s traditional meatless supper of macaroni and cheese. Thought I’d share my recipe. Notice the crazy simple ratio at its heart: for every pound of dry macaroni, make a cheese sauce with a quart of milk and a pound of cheese.
Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb dry macaroni
- 2 oz unsalted butter
- 2 oz all-purpose flour
- 1 qt whole milk
- 1 lb medium cheddar cheese, grated (Obviously any good melting cheese can be used. Sylvan Star young gouda and Gruyere work great.)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- extra cheddar for the gratin
- Boil the macaroni in salted
… Continue reading.
There are two drinks that we go through in unholy quantities this time of year. The first without question is rum, as it is used in all kinds of preserves, baking, and cocktails. The second is Irish cream, consumed on its own, or diluted with a bit of milk or coffee.
For years my standby has been Bailey’s, but this year I decided to make my own.
Irish cream is comprised of cream, sugar, and Irish whiskey, usually but not always flavoured with coffee. It is around 20% alcohol by volume, and has a rich, viscous mouthfeel. It’s basically an Irish coffee with the ingredients in different proportions.
If you plan on consuming Irish cream in coffee, there’s probably not … Continue reading.
While outsiders might consider Wiener Schnitzel or Apple Strudel the national dish of Austria, most Austrians acknowledge a special sausage called Käsekrainer (“KAY-zeh KREYE-ner”) as their greatest culinary achievement.
In a nutshell Käsekrainer is a sausage filled with little cubes of cheese. Like many classic Austrian preparations, it is not entirely an Austrian invention. Käsekrainer has the same relation to Austria that pizza and hot dogs have to the United States: they are unquestionably of foreign origin, but they have been adapted and adopted by the new country.
If you’ll allow me… let’s break down the word Kasekrainer…
“Käse” means cheese.
Krain is the German name for the Slovenian region of Kranjska, historically called Carniola by English-speakers. This is one … Continue reading.