The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
When I saw what my first challenge would be, I was a little freaked out. It seemed pretty time consuming and fairly complicated. We had a choice to make a Baked Alaska or Ice Cream Petit Fours. I chose the latter. It was mandatory on both recipes to make the ice cream and brown butter pound cake. I was super excited about the pound cake because brown butter is delicious, especially in this recipe. But I’ve never in my life made ice cream and since I don’t own an ice cream maker, I knew it would be challenging.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz:http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html
Since I had to make it by hand, I had to freeze it for about 45 minutes, mix, and repeat for 3 hours. I was surprised ny how well it turned out.
Then I spread 2 cups of ice cream into 8×8 dish lined with plastic wrap and let it freeze overnight.
After the ice cream was done, I started on the pound cake. It called for browned butter, which is just butter heated in a skillet until it turns light brown and smells nutty, or like heaven.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
After the cake cooled, I cut it in half, flipped the frozen ice cream onto the bottom layer of cake and topped with the remaining layer of cake, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and froze overnight.
Then I made a chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)
9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
While the chocolate was cooling, I took the cake out of the freezer and trimmed the edges and the cut the cake into 25 tiny squares. Then I dipped the squares into the chocolate sauce.
This seems like it would be so easy, but no. Mine turned out like this:
The ice cream was melting and they started to fall apart quickly. I hurried to put them back in the freezer so they could harden up but still no.
They were still delicious, just not very pretty. I left some plain so we could heat up some of the leftover chocolate and spoon it over the top. This was a hit!
Over all, it took me 3 days to make this dessert! Not something I will do often, but it was a major accomplishment for me to make my own ice cream.