Caramel oranges and saffron – pistachio ice-cream.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yes! The citrus stockpile is diminishing!

As you may remember we returned from our visit to Nana and Pop’s with a whole lot of oranges and lemons. (Official tally: Lemons = 8, Oranges=23. That’s not including 1 blood orange and 2 mandarins I’d hurriedly stuffed into a ziplock bag and thrown into the freezer before we left!).

One lemon has already gone into a risotto (thanks for the suggestion Hungry Dog!) and mini-critic senior has left one orange out for the fairies. That still leaves a whole lot of citrus.

Luckily, we have guests coming over tonight and I’d planned a Spanish influenced meal inspired by the latest issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. Thoughts of saffron, cinnamon, and pistachios swirl around my head and remind me of these caramel oranges, which I make for dessert (recipe below).

Feeling motivated, I figure this is as good a time as any to have a go at homemade ice-cream to serve with the oranges. Two recent blogposts have pushed me over the edge so to speak. This post on salted butter caramel ice-cream by Julia of Melanger and this one on marzipan ice-cream by Aran of Cannelle et Vanille.

Aran’s marzipan ice-cream made me think of the pistachio marzipan I still had leftover from this project. (The pistachio marzipan keeps up to 6 months in the fridge). I wasn’t sure how my marzipan would behave if I tried to incorporate it into the custard base, so I opted for folding it through the ice-cream instead. Worked like a dream.

I must say I’m very impressed with the ice-cream because it was made without the aid of an ice-cream machine and it still turned out pretty fabulous.

So impressed in fact that I’ve invested in a Pyrex storage container for future ice-cream attempts. Those of you who make ice-cream regularly may wonder why I’m making all this fuss but ice-cream has never really excited me before. I finally get it!

And the citrus tally? Lemons=7 (still), Oranges=14. Great progress ☺ Thank you for all the ideas!

Saffron ice-cream with pistachio marzipan.

(Adapted from a basic vanilla ice-cream recipe in the January 2003 edition of ABC Delicious, Page 144 which can be found here. For a “proper” marzipan ice-cream, do check out Canelle et Vanille for the recipe.)

400ml milk
200ml cream (the original recipe uses half milk and half cream but I upped the milk. Thanks for the info Aran!)
150g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
1 cinnamon quill
pinch of saffron
a couple of drops vanilla extract (optional)(I was worried about the ice-cream smelling too “eggy” so I added about 2 drops worth).
Half a cup of pistachio marzipan- ground (I used a mortar and pestle. It doesn’t have to be too finely ground, but enough to stop guests from hurting their teeth).

Lightly toast the saffron in a dry frypan over low heat. It will start to smell good.

Mix the milk, cream and cinnamon together and scald (tiny bubbles will appear around edge of pan). Remove from heat, crumble in the toasted saffron and leave to infuse for a little while (at least 10 minutes).

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light and thick. Mix in with the cooled milk/cream mixture (and vanilla if using) and cook over low heat. Stir all the time until the mixture thickens (enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon). I wasn’t paying attention and ended up with a few *ahem* tiny scrambled specks. Luckily after the mix went through the sieve twice, it was silky smooth again.

Egg yolks beaten until light

Pour into a freezer-proof container and chill in the refrigerator until cold (about half hour or so). Then transfer the container to the freezer. When it appears frozen around edges (shake the container and the middle should move around while the edges take more time to detach), remove and whisk/beat until smooth (I used hand beaters). After beating, fold in the crushed marzipan (if using).

I repeated the freeze and beat process three more times (total of four). The intervals for checking on the mixture becomes shorter as it gets colder (the last two times I checked about an hour apart).

Alternatively, churn in an ice-cream maker.

To serve, top the ice-cream with some crushed seasoned pistachios (I used a scant half cup pistachios, 1 teaspoon olive oil, good pinch of salt, dash of paprika and dash of pepper. Warm the nuts in a low oven, remove and mix with the oil and seasonings, return to oven and bake until crisp but not too browned. Cool on crumpled kitchen paper. )

Caramel Oranges
(can’t remember where the original recipe came from, I’m guessing probably from the ABC delicious mag)

8 small oranges (or 4 large ones) – peeled and pith removed. (sub with mandarins or other oranges if preferred).
Juice from 1 orange (about ¼ cup)

For caramel:
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon quill (optional, or sub with other spices eg. cloves, star anise or vanilla)
(optional – dash of liquer eg: Cointreau to flavour).

Make the caramel first by stirring the water and sugar together over low heat until sugar dissolves. I also put a cinnamon quill in at this stage. Once all the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and let mixture bubble. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals. Cook until the sugar mixture starts to change colour (it took me about 10-15 minutes on low heat). It will look sort of golden/amber. In this recipe, it doesn’t matter too much if it doesn’t exactly become caramel because it doesn’t need to set. The taste will be affected slightly but not too much.

Remove from heat at this stage and let bubbles subside. Very carefully pour the orange juice in (mixture may spit and it is VERY VERY HOT!) and stir with a long handled spoon. Don’t worry if the caramel starts to harden, just stir carefully until everything becomes liquid again.

Arrange the peeled oranges in a bowl wide enough and deep enough for the oranges to sit in one layer. Pour the caramel syrup over the oranges, turn the oranges over to coat, then leave to cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the oranges again once if leaving overnight.

Serve with some of the syrup and ice-cream.

Have a great weekend folks, see you on Monday ☺


Hungry Dog said...

What success! The ice cream looks beautiful and creamy. I really love the photo of the oranges, so pretty. Thanks for the shout-out!!

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

I just made ice cream too!! Must be getting to be that time of year...

Citrus ice cream is a favorite of mine. The flavor combination sounds wonderful.

pierre said...

hello Shaz !!
if you like pistacchios come and see my blog you will see a pitscahio dessert chef !
cheers !!Pierre

Velva said...

Absolutely delicious! The ice cream would be a great way to say good-bye to summer. Just beautiful ice cream.
By the way, I did not know you could freeze citru fruit whole-I need to rember that.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG, what fabulous flavors! So refined and delicate! I'm drooling...



shaz said...

Thanks Hungry Dog! Very pleased with my first ice-cream attempt

Snap Megan! I loved the sound of your pink peppercorn ice-cream

Cheers Pierre ( I really wish I could actually read French to understand your beautiful blog)

Thanks Velva- I'm not quite sure how the frozen oranges will turn out, I'm hoping they'll do fine if it's just for juicing anyway.

Thanks Rosa - too kind :)

Grace said...

as someone existing without an ice cream machine, i'm always interested in recipes that don't require them. this one's clearly a winner. even better than that, though, is this notion of caramel oranges--it sounds TERRIFIC!

shaz said...

Thanks Grace! The absence of a machine has held me off for too long. I do find that you have to eat this ice-cream within a few days or it gets icy, but hey, that's a small problem to have :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh my this looks brilliant! I love the interplay of flavours too :) And you are such a neat orange slicer/peeler!

Mansi said...

Came here from Lorraine's blog, and this ice cream caught my eye! lovely flavors:)

I'm hosting a sweet celebration contest on my blog, and it'd be great if you could participate!

shaz said...

Thanks Lorraine!

Thanks Mansi, I'd love to have a go...must put my thinking cap on now.