Just Dessert

Margarita Ice Cream with Picante y Dulce Almond Brittle

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I suddenly realized the other day that Cinco de Mayo was fast approaching and, good heavens, I haven’t posted anything relevant.  Not that too many people will care…but I had a couple of big theme months recently, food-wise, what with all the Valentine’s Day dinners and desserts in February and then the whole corned beef project in March.  April…well, April just kind of flew past me.  So I think I felt I needed to pay more attention to the holidays again.  And because of all that, I came up with these two recipes.  Hope you try them, and hope you like them!

My ice cream recipe is adapted from the Lemon Ice Cream recipe from Masaharu Morimoto’s cookbook Morimoto.

Ingredients:

2 large egg yolks

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1/2 cup sugar

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1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

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zest of half a lime

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3 T tequila  – plus enough lime juice and orange or lemon juice (or a blend) to make a quarter cup of liquid or so.

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* Our house ratio for a martarita is 3 parts tequila, 1 part triple sec or Grand Marnier, and 1 part lime juice, so I tried to keep close to that.  There was more "other" citrus juice in this than lime, simply because I had a blend of freshly squeezed citrus juices on hand (long story) and only half of a tiny lime in the fridge.  That’s why I used the zest of the lime – for the flavor.

Anyway.

In a heatproof medium bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly.  Gradually whisk in the sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and pale, about 2 minutes.  (I actually had to add another yolk – maybe my first two were on the runty side.)

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In a small saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles appear around the rim of the pan.  Gradually whisk about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the yolks to warm them. 

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Slowly whisk the yolks back into the remaining milk in the pan.

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Reduce the heat to low and cook,

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stirring,

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until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

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Strain into a clean bowl (I didn’t strain – I decided to keep the zest in the ice cream), set over a larger bowl of ice and water and stir until cooled.

Whisk in the heavy cream and yuzu (or lemon) juice.  (And while I was making this and taking pictures (and probably distracted by something…like a small child…or two) I combined the cream with the milk earlier in the process, so I only added in the tequila/juice combination at this point.)

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Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until chilled.

Pour into the canister of an ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to a covered container and freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight, until firm enough to scoop.

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While the ice cream was in the freezer, I made the Picante y Dulce Almond Brittle.

Once the brittle was ready, and broken into pieces, I assembled the dessert.

Img_1398_1_2 When I started thinking about this concoction, I knew I could probably do the Margarita ice cream without too much trouble.  But I knew it would need something else.

Something…maybe crunchy like chips and salsa…but spicy, too, to balance out the cold tang of the ice cream.  I started thinking about Mexican flavors that might work in a dessert, and this brittle is what I came up with.  In some ways, my choice was influenced by what I already had in the pantry or the freezer.  I thought of making some sort of cookie, too, and maybe I’ll try that next time, but somehow the thought of a nut brittle of some kind appealed most to me. 

I figured I could do a lot with the ingredients…and the broken shards of candy stuck in the ice cream looked good in my mind. 

So I thought I’d see how they looked for real. 

And that’s how this dessert came about.

And how did it taste? 

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Pretty yummy, actually. 

I could taste the smoky tequila flavor along with the citrus in the ice cream, but I think maybe next time I’d zest a whole lime instead of a half.  (I’ll also, hopefully, be planning ahead then, too.)  I’d had some initial concerns about the tequila preventing the ice cream from freezing properly, but the day after I made it, the ice cream was solid as a rock. 

The brittle was best when taken from the center of the pan.  Around the edges it was thinner and had fewer nuts and just wasn’t as texturaly (is that a word?) satisfying.  The red pepper flakes added an unexpected (to everyone but me) flash of heat at the back of the throat – which was just what I hoped for.  What better way to cool that heat than with the accompanying ice cream?

So overall I’m pretty happy with my little experiments.

And then this morning – I was trying to figure out what to call the ice cream, and I thought "Margarita con Leche!"  Margarita with Milk, right?  That’s kind of what it was.  And then, just to make sure I had the meaning of "con Leche" right (I second guess myself all the time) I typed "Margarita con Leche" into Babel Fish and selected the Spanish to English translation.  And I learned that it translates to "Daisy with Milk" – so maybe that’s what I’ll call it, eventually.  And just confuse the heck out of everyone.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!  Enjoy some "Daisy with Milk!"

12 thoughts on “Margarita Ice Cream with Picante y Dulce Almond Brittle

  1. I told you you’d do it! Get ready for an onslaught of hits today. You deserve it!
    Hey, you got any of that Ice Cream left over?

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