Ice Cream – pan-roasted figs, mascarpone, maple candied walnuts

I’ve been thinking of a refreshing recipe – an ice-cream using mascarpone for its creamy texture and to try something different than cream, some candied walnuts and caramelized figs. So there I am surfing on the net in search of inspiration.

There are countless recipes, as you can expect. I was in luck and found these:

I combined them and slightly changed the ice-cream one. It uses 500g mascarpone.
I used 250g mascarpone and 250g fromage blanc 20% (Quark in German).
It isn’t difficult to make, but as it is my first time making ice-cream, and that, without an ice-cream machine, it’s taken me ages.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine make sure you are at home for a few hours to ensure the stirring of the ice-cream (every 30min) during the freezing process.
I also opted for a simple way to candy the walnuts. Of course you can always make a syrup, roast the walnuts and make a praline. See how much time you have. One is quick and easy, the other one, not so much!

Make the ice-cream

Makes 1L ice-cream
500ml Milk
6 Egg yolk
250g Caster sugar
2 Vanilla pods (I use Madagascar Vanilla)
250g Mascarpone
250g Fromage blanc 20 % /curd cheese

1. Pour milk in a sauce-pan with 2 vanilla pods. Split them in half and grate the vanilla with a knife. On low-medium heat bring to a simmer.
2. When the milk starts to simmer, take it off the heat and remove the pods. Let cool 10 min.
3. In a bowl mix the egg yolk and sugar until white and fluffy, then pour the hot milk gradually while mixing.

 4. Place the mixture back in a saucepan on medium heat. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon constantly stirring, gently thicken the cream. Make sure it does not boil otherwise the eggs will cook and you’ll get scrambled eggs. When the cream coats the spoon, it’s done.
5. Let cool on a iced water-bath.

Add the mascarpone and the quark 20%, whisk until homogenous. Pour the mixture into a plastic Tupperware or a metal box and place in the freezer.
7. Wait for 30 min, stir well using a whip. Put back in the freezer. Stir the cream every 30 min for 3 hours to ensure the mixture does not crystallize.

Make the candied Walnuts

65g Walnuts
4 Tbsp (65g) Maple syrup

1. In a bowl mix the walnuts with the maple syrup.
Place on the baking paper and bake on 200c° for 12min, stirring twice until the walnuts are brown. Then let cool.

3. Once it has cooled, crush the walnuts.

Make the figs

6 Figs quartered
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tsp Fleur de Sel
The juice of a lime
1 Tbsp water

1. In a frying-pan on medium-high heat, bring 2 Tbsp sugar and the lime juice to a boil and starts getting brownish.

2. When it starts bubbling set aside. Put the figs quartered in the syrup.
3. On low heat let the figs cook in the syrup. Add the butter and water, let cook further (10min). Then set aside and let them cool.

The ice-cream:

After an 1,5 hours of stirring the ice cream, it should still be creamy enough for you to stir.  Add the figs as well as the candied walnuts. Stir well and place the dish in the freezer. You’ll have to stir a few times more before it can rest.

Serving suggestion:

Pan-roast the figs the same way than for the ice-cream, add some rum and flambée them, sprinkle the dessert with candied walnuts, enjoy!

Ice Cream – pan-roasted figs, mascarpone, maple candied walnuts

Raspberry tartlets – pistachio crème pâtissière

In search of new inspiration I got myself a few Pâtisserie books. One of then is Philippe Conticini’sSensations“. It is full of amazing recipes, creativity and complicated combinations, which happen, for some of them, to be a real challenge.

Having friends over for diner is always the perfect opportunity to practice and observe the reaction of our guests. I think it was pretty well received!

This recipe offers a different flavor and consistency provided by roasted pistachio paste,  mascarpone and a salty breton (from Brittany, France) cookie base. It isn’t really difficult to make although I got confused by the pistachio paste and praline. I have seen a few different recipes for the paste. Some uses nuts and icing sugar in the same amount (ex: 125g pistachios – 125g icing sugar) and mix them, or some roast the nuts, make a syrup and add almond powder and mix the whole thing.
The praline is nuts (roasted or not) added to a syrup in a pan and caramelised. Once caramelised it is mixed in an electric mixer to give a paste, the praline.
Crème pâtissière is the base of many french pastries. It uses milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, eggs and butter.

The amounts for the praline and paste are too much, but you can freeze them and re-use them of other desserts. That way you don’t have to go through the whole process again.

This dessert – a sweet and salty dough, a round nutty pistachio cream and the acidity of the raspberries, is special for that the dough isn’t usually used for tartlets but are enjoyed as they are with coffee and the presentation makes it pretty fancy.

Pistachio Praline (150g)

90g pistachios (non salty)
60g sugar
15g water

1. In a pan bring the water and sugar to a boil. When the temperature reaches 115c° add the pistachios.
2. Mix well. The sugar will crystallize and become white. carry on mixing for about 20 min until the sugar starts getting brown.
3. Place the mixture on a cutting board to cool. Once cold mix them with an electric mixer.

Pistachio Paste

125g pistachio (skinless and unsalted)
175 ml water
60g sugar
30g almond powder
2  drops almond essence (optional)

1. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet. Let roast for 10 minutes or until slightly colored. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Make the syrup: add the water and the sugar in a pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook for 5 min. Pour the syrup on to the pistachios and let the mixture cool.
3. Pour the mixture in a mixer. Add the almond powder to it and mix again.

Pistachio Crème pâtissière:

60g pistachio praline
190g semi-skimmed milk
20g liquid cream
10g flour
10g Maizena (starch)
40g  sugar
2 egg yolks
20g gelatine preparation (20gr gelatine powder+100gr cold water. Mix well and let cool in the fridge until used)
20g pistachio paste
60g butter
25g mascarpone

The day before, make the pistachio praline.
Notes: For the ones who have never used gelatin. To soften the gelatin soak it in water for 20 min. Press out the water with the hands. Place it in a pan and let it melt on low heat. When you add it to a cream, whip continuously so that you get lumps.

1. Bring to a boil the milk and cream, put aside as soon as it boils.
In a bowl whip the egg yolks and sugar until very creamy and “white”.
When the sugar has dissolved, add the flour and Maizena, mix well to obtain an homogenous paste. Pour half the milk-cream onto paste, mix again and pour it back in the pan with the rest for the milk.
Bring it to a boil for 2 to 3 min while mixing continuously with a whip.
Once the cream has thickened set it aside. Add the gelatin. Mix well, then add the pistachio paste, the praline and the butter.
Place the cream in a dish to cool and cover it with a cling film. Let it rest 30 min in the fridge.
Once it’s cold, whisk the mascarpone 5 min with the cream.

Sablé breton dough:

125g flour
175g salty butter (take out of the fridge 2 hours before use)
90g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
80g almond powder
a pinch fleur de sel
Muffins tins.

1. On medium speed, whip the icing sugar, the almond powder and the butter (very soft).
Once this is well mixed, add the egg yolks, the flour and the fleur de sel.
Fill up the tins up to the third of the height.
Preheat the oven on 170C°.  Bake for 8 min, take the tins out of the oven. Using a cork, press it in the middle of the dough to form a hollow space into the dough and bake another 7 min until golden.
Once they are ready, take them out to cool, turning them upside down (the hollow side down).

Make the tartlets:

1. Using a piping bag or a teaspoon, generously fill the tartlets with the cream.
2. Place the raspberries on the tartlets and powder them with icing sugar.

Raspberry tartlets – pistachio crème pâtissière