Friday, August 27, 2010


Brown Butter Pound Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramelized Peaches & Chocolate Almond Ganache

My dad bought us an ice cream maker when I was in grade school. I have only vague memories of us sitting on the driveway in front of the house, churning ice cream. I don’t remember much about the ice cream itself; there may have been vanilla and peach, maybe strawberry. But I do remember the chocolate ice cream that came out of that maker. The flavor haunts me to this day, and, like a Pavlovian reflex, just pulling up the memory makes my mouth water. Maybe it was the rock salt that we had to pack around the central canister, but the chocolate ice cream, light and icy, had a salty undertone that I simply loved! I had always been a kid intrigued by unusual flavors and flavor combinations, eating peanut butter and bologna sandwiches, for example, so the hint of salt in the chocolate ice cream was the best thing that I’ve ever tasted!

JP and I went to Florida for six months after Clem was born and stayed with my mom. A bumpy ride it was; newly marrieds with new baby staying with family is rarely a very pretty sight, but we made some wonderful culinary discoveries – Paul Prudhomme and Cajun cuisine, for one – and brought back some wonderful kitchen tools. We had splurged, as poor as we were, on a small Donvier ice cream maker. We absolutely fell in love with this baby! The small silver canister sits in the freezer until you are ready to make your ice cream. Then pop the canister into the plastic container, screw on the lid and churn. By hand. We loved having dinner guests over, serving them a spicy Shrimp Creole or spicy breaded veal cutlet à la Prudhomme then whipping out our small hand-crank ice cream maker filled with coffee or chocolate cream and watching jaws drop or curiosity splash across astonished faces. We would all take turns gleefully grinding the handle, passing the Donvier around the table until the ice cream was ready to serve. On top of homemade cake, of course, in chocolate or lemon or a good old fashioned quatre-quarts.

Which brings me to this month’s Daring Baker challenge. Now, this month has been more than hectic here in Crazy Junction. After a lazy month in Florida, we have been having a hard time catching up and getting back into the swing of things. I had only posted twice on my blog and once on Huffington Post during those four weeks away so the fingers were itching to clatter across the keyboard, yet the brain seems to still be on vacation or shrunken dramatically from the Florida heat and hours upon hours of mindless TV. I have so many pages open on my computer screen, bits and pieces of stories, thoughts and ideas waiting to be filled in as I root around in the closets and drawers looking high and low for my blogging mojo. And August is a slow month at the office so JP takes just a tad longer with me at lunch and is home earlier in the evening, dashing from room to room, teasing me to follow him, making me laugh with his silly jokes, imitations and antics. “Come away from the computer,” he booms as his expression goes from smirk to iron eye. So his playtime becomes mine and two or five more posts get sidelined again. But August is such a wonderful time; the apartment is comfortable, the peaches and plums are out in abundance at the market, our favorite pizzeria is open for business and the streets are practically empty. Heaven!

For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa of 17 and Baking was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make Brown Butter 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. The challenge comprised many parts and many options. I made the Brown Butter Pound Cake, a recipe from Gourmet, and Vanilla Ice Cream, a recipe adopted from David’s book. I used my own recipe for Chocolate Ganache using Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate with Grilled Almonds and a splash of Amaretto. Since we are at the height of peach season and since I love them so and because I felt that this dessert needed something fruity to offset the vanilla cake and ice cream and offer a wonderful contrast to the dark chocolate drizzle, I caramelized peaches and raspberries in a dot of butter, a dusting of brown sugar and yet another splash of Amaretto. And I came up with an elegant, layered treat, smooth and creamy, cool and fruity. I also created my take on the Peach Melba: chunks of the Brown Butter Cake topped with a smooth, creamy scoop of perfect vanilla ice cream, topped with the caramelized peaches and raspberries then drizzled with the chocolate ganache and finished off with slivered almonds. Divine! Sweet and creamy, wonderfully fruity and all brought together in the loving embrace of a smooth, warm chocolate sauce.

I will also be sending my Peach Melba to Elissa for Sugar High Fridays, of course!

What does Comfort Food mean to you? My latest article on Huffington Post Food analyzes the whys and the hows. And offers you the recipe of one comfort food that I turn to in times of trouble and woe.



Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165 g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

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.)

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. (I did not have an ice bath)

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.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 tsp if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Once the mixture was cool enough, I poured it into a large plastic container and placed it in the freezer overnight.

Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 Tbs (275 g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200 g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter, line with parchment and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan or an equivalent round pan.

Place the butter in a 10-inch (25cm) 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.) The butter will sizzle loudly for quite some time and it will begin turning brown when the sizzling stops. Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined and then the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the batter, blending on low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 - 30 minutes.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right side up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

2.6 oz (75 g) good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt Excellence semi-sweet with Grilled Almonds)
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
2 tsps (10 g) unsalted butter
1 Tbs Amaretto

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the butter and cream just to the boil to scald in a small saucepan. Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate and gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined and smooth. Continue to give the ganache an occasional, hearty stir with the spatula as it cools to room temperature and thickens a bit. You do not want this too warm or the ice cream will melt to quickly and you want it just thick enough that it stays on top of your dessert and doesn’t simply run off and puddle on the plate, bringing fruit and ice cream with it!


zorra said...

I'm drooling!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love what you did with the different components of the DB challenge! A lovely dessert!



veena krishnakumar said...

yeah i am drooling too:-)lovely clicks

Happy Cook said...

Jamie i loved your version too. Especially withthe peaches and the peaches and the adition of ameretoo who can resist something like that.

Sanjeeta kk said...

I really like your way Jamie! Lovely clicks.

Alina said...

All those ingredients blend perfectly to create this delicious dessert, lovely!

Deeba PAB said...

SIMPLY SCRUMPTIOUS Jamie, absolutely droolworthy. Peach Melba and Strawberry Shortcake are 2 things that I missed this summer, and your take with the browned butter cake is amazing. What's now to love about it sistah? Say you save some for moi, coz I didn't quite get to the challenge this month!

procrastinatingbaker said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I very much enjoyed reading about your peach melba and your various ice cream machines! You write in a very evocative way - I got a strong mental picture of that childhood chocolate ice cream.

Nicisme said...

Your peach melba is very drool-worthy, a great dessert!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hey your site is looking great daaaahling, its much lighter on the eyes.
Peach melba looks stunning. I love your take on it.
Have a wonderful weekend ahead.
*kisses* HH

MeetaK said...

love your interpretation of the challenge jamie and i too am taking it easy in august. it's an easy month and before we know it we'll scurring all over the place with halloween, thanksgiving and christmas preps.

91 days!!

Aparna said...

I really like your intepretation of this month's challenge, Jamie. And it looks so colourful and pretty.
Love fresh fruit in desserts. Don't even mind if the dessert is all fruit. :)
One thing I have to get myself is an ince-cream machine, if I can find one here!

Jamie said...

@Meeta - EEK! 91 days sister! Yay!

@Aparna - I want an electric ice cream machine. Almost bought one but husband insisted on the fish poacher! Ugh!

@Heavenly H - Ta dahling! Same to you, dear!

@Deeba - We will visit. We will visit. We will visit....

elra said...

Delicious. I love Peach melba, yours sounds more sophisticated jaime.

El said...

The dessert looks simply divine!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

I make a peach melba dessert this way. Purchased pound cake. Peaches put on the grill. Top cake with peaches, raspberries and whipped cream.

I always thought it was good...and well, easy...but now it just seems lame after seeing this beautiful version! I would have never thought to add chocolate either...yes, this is droolworthy, absolutely.

Jamie said...

@Barbara/VinoLuciStyle - Ha! I've seen your stunning desserts and your peach melba probably would leave mine in the chocolate sauce? Ah, this ganache was the winning touch. xo

Asha @ FSK said...

I much prefer your interpretation of the challenge! :))) and I LOOOOVE the new look!!! :)))

haha.. nice story about the hand churner.. We didn't have one but hub tells me stories of all family kids gathering arnd to churn the ice cream..always so much fun in retrospect!

LoveFeast Table said...

You are beautiful is your new look...and that dessert!! Total eye candy!
~Kristin & Chris Ann

Lucy said...

Ooh the flavours in your creation are just fabulous! Plus it all looks gorgeous :)

Tracy said...

Oooh, this has my mouth watering!

Caroline said...

beautiful, I have yet to make peach mealba this season, thanks for the reminder. Love the ganache!

Jennifurla said...

What a gorgeous place you have here, glad to have found it!

Nanette said...

Jamie I'm loving everything about this, just everything!

Renata said...

I love the story about the hand churner going around the table... your dessert looks fabulous and so colorful!

5 Star Foodie said...

I love your peach melba creation - very elegant and heavenly delicious! I need to try this!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Oh Jamie you are just so clever! I knew you'd do something deliciously brilliant and of course you have! :D And peach melba is one of my favourite desserts! :D

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

What a fabulous dessert this would make. I think my mum would faint if I made it for here, it's her favourite!

Heather said...

Wow!! So cool to make your own ice cream!

I found your button on bloggy moms. I am following you.

Would love for you to stop by and visit when you get the opportunity.

Mommy Only Has Two Hands!

Monika said...

That little ice cream maker is adorable! I'm a sucker for all vintage stuff, and that applience is totally retro! :) I also love the ice cream flavor you used. It must be a perfect balance between rich cake and the chocolate ganache. Great job!

shaz said...

What a lovely little intro, I am on my way to EBAY now to see if I can find a hand cranked ice-cream machine. I WANT one! Gorgeous peach melba too, and glad to hear you're back and enjoying your time at home :)

girlichef said...

This sounds soooooo fabulous. Just the brown butter pound! I love eating creamy chocolate ice cream with espresso sea salt sprinkled over the I totally felt you there! Gorgeous, Jamie =)

UrMomCooks said...

Am tucking away this pound cake recipe right now!!! The perfect base for so many things... Ur dessert looks fabulous! I'm inspired to pull out the ice cream machine one more time... (Can so relate about August - we've been a little "relaxed" around here too...) Lovely post!

Barbara Bakes said...

Looks like a perfect combination of flavors. I love fruit desserts. I've never had homemade chocolate ice cream. I think I need to get busy.

Marcellina said...

Yum! Your Peach Melba look devine! I can't wait to summer and peaches to try this! You are making my mouth water!

OysterCulture said...

Peanut butter and bologna sandwich - hhmm, my mom made a peanut butter and salad dressing sandwich which I wish was novel flavor that still remained undiscovered. I just never developed a taste for it and as a consequence my love of peanut butter came a bit later in life.

We had an old fashioned crank ice cream maker and I agree the flavors my parents produced were simply amazing, of course all that work cranking ahead of time just built the anticipation to a frenzy.
Peach melba your way appears to suite my way just as easily, it looks and sounds delectable. Thanks for sharing.

bake in paris said...

A very lovely, fruity, and colorful presentation! Whoever that loves Peach Melba before will love it even more now..

Sawadee from bangkok,

Lora said...

Fantastic combination of flavors...yummm...

Radhika said...

*Drool* I love your take on Peach melba.

The Betz Family said...

Beautiful job! Your platings look absolutely delicious. Nice job on the challenge!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

I am utterly in love with that first picture!

I have always wanted an ice-cream maker have neither counter space nor space in my freezer for the bowl!! The peach melba sounds absolutely heavenly - all the ingredients I love :)

asiangrrl said...

I want this now.


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