Welcome to another edition of Ice Cream Fridays. Every Friday you can look forward to a new ice cream recipe which will hopefully inspire you to break out your old dust covered ice cream maker that is hiding somewhere in a closet (yes, I'm talking about you). Since I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas, feel free to leave me a comment here on my blog or on my facebook page, and let me know what ice cream flavor you would like to see. Who knows, you might just get lucky and it will be featured the following week.
Sometimes my friends get a kick out of supplying me with an ingredient and letting me "loose" in the kitchen to come up with a dish. This is how today's ice cream flavor came about. My friend Laura supplied me graciously with some Cajeta. Cajeta is sweetened goat's milk that is cooked until thick and dark in color, like Dulce de Leche, it is also very popular in Mexico. It is quite delicious by itself drizzled over the top of plain vanilla ice cream, but I knew I wanted to find something that really integrated the flavor.
This is where one of my ice cream books came to play. While my daughter was flipping through the pages one day she got very excited when she came across this Banana Cajeta Cashew Gelato. She showed it to me, thinking it would certainly fit the bill for working the ingredient into a great dessert. Boy, was she right. What made this even better was the cashews which I had received from Oh!Nuts. All I needed to do was make the ice cream base. I still had some ripe bananas left over from my banana cake so I was covered. The ice cream starts by making a plain vanilla base. After chilling it thoroughly, ripe bananas are blended with half of the mixture until smooth before mixing it with the rest of the base. The mix is then frozen in your ice cream maker, and finally towards the end, chopped cashews are added to the Gelato. Upon layering the finished mix in your freezer bowl, cajeta is drizzled over the top and then quickly swirled in before freezing.
This was a very different but wonderful flavor combination. The kids didn't care for the cajeta by itself, but once integrated into the ice cream they went crazy for it. I'm really glad my friend introduced me to an unknown product which I ended up liking a lot. In case you can't find cajeta readily available, I'm including a recipe on how to make it yourself. However, if the thought of goat milk caramel is just a bit too exotic for you, the cajeta can be simply replaced with Dulce de Leche and you will still be left with a delicious ice cream.
Banana Cajeta Cashew Gelato
(adapted from Ciao Bella)
Plain Base (recipe to follow)
2 ripe bananas, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted cashews
1/2 cup Cajeta, slightly warmed (recipe to follow)
Make the Plain Base and chill as directed.
Place the bananas, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and add half of the base. Blend until smooth, then whisk into the remaining base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the cashews 5 minutes before the churning is completed.
Just after churning, drizzle the cajeta over the top and quickly and lightly swirl in a zigzag pattern with a spoon or butter knife.
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees F. Do not bring to a boil.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. to cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
(makes about 3 cups)
2 cups goat's milk
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda. When the bubbling stops, return the pan to the heat, bring back to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, for 1 hour, or until the mixture starts to thicken and turn golden. At this point the cajeta will start to thicken fast, so don't leave the pan unattended. Continue to cook stirring constantly so it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan, for another 20 minutes, or until the cajeta is a rich brown color and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. It should cool to a medium- thick caramel consistency. If it's too thick, add a samll amount of water; if ti's too think continue to cook until thickened.
Transfer to a container, let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Warm slightly before serving. It will keep for about 1 month in the refrigerator.