Cocktails and Spirits and Wine–Oh My!
It’s summer, and summer means the colder the treat the better to combat the heat. Ice cream and popsicles and smoothies to the rescue and, if you can punch them up with a little bit of finely-crafted spirits, so be it!
Back at the Plantation, our Executive Chef wanted to try a dessert he’d read about that paired tropical fruits with 3 sorbets, each sorbet made with a liqueur. Now, the thing about booze is, it doesn’t freeze. The higher the sugar content of something, the less likely it is to freeze, and since alcohol is a sugar, items with alcohol in them wont’ freeze unless you keep the non-sugary bits in the right ratio.
We got our Chambord and Grand Marnier sorbets to freeze okay, but the Godiva chocolate? Just wouldn’t gel. It probably didn’t help that the ice cream maker we had was one of those that you needed ice and rock salt to surround the tub and was on its last legs anyway, but it took all day to get anything remotely solid out of the mixture. The dessert was a success and we had enough of each sorbet to last the 2 weeks it was on the menu, but I think we were all in agreement that Godiva sorbet would not be making a reappearance.
That was my first, strongest thought when I got the chance to review Slushed!: More Than 150 Frozen, Boozy Treats for the Coolest Happy Hour Ever by Jessie Cross.
Last year or so I purchases a Cuisinart ice cream maker, the one with the freezable canister that only takes 20 minutes to make just about anything, used it a few times, then got caught up with other things. Trying out some of the recipes from Slushed! was a great excuse to brush the perma-frost off of my ice cream maker and give it a spin.
Remembering my earlier incident with alcohol-laden sorbet, I was happy to see this very topic covered in the introduction along with guidelines of how much alcohol of a given strength could safely be added to a quart of ice cream. That, right there, was worth the price of admission, folks.
We made 2 ice creams and 2 frozen yogurts and 2 frozen pop recipes, though the book also covers smoothies, novelties, gelato and so much more.
First, of course, I had to try the Chocolate Martini Pudding Pops (page 25). Instant pudding and Godiva liqueur, opposite ends of the chocolate spectrum, and man were they great together! I couldn’t get these suckers out of the molds, but they ate just fine with a spoon, let me assure you!
The other ice pops I made were the Mojito Pops with Fresh Mint (page 26). Each pop recipe made 8-10 servings so I cut mine in half (to regulate the damage to my waistline), but still had extra mix to use. Into little leaf-shaped ice cube trays the extra went and, let me tell you, as good as they are on their own, a couple of the mini cubes in a glass of tonic water or club soda and you’ve got a nice, light, refreshing drink with a very low alcohol content.
As for ice creams, we tried both the Spice Trader’s Vanilla Vodka Ice Cream (page 37) and the Bananas Foster Ice Cream (page 48). The vanilla was a typical custard-style ice cream with vanilla beans and it was oh-so-rich and good. That one lasted maybe a week (though, in our defense, it was my birthday week and we had an awful lot of cake to eat up). The Bananas Foster used no eggs, though we did have to first cook the bananas in brown sugar and butter to get that amazing caramelized flavor going. Both boozy ice creams were scoopable straight out of the freezer–a definite benefit to a little liquor in the recipe.
The frozen yogurts, on the other hand, benefit from sitting out a little bit or 20 seconds in the microwave before trying to chip away at them. The Limoncello Swirl Frozen Yogurt is light, refreshing and just tart enough to get the job done, though I wish I’d added even more lemon curd swirl to this batch. The Sex on the Bean Frozen Yogurt was, unfortunately, the only one I wasn’t truly crazy about. Something about the combination of orange and dairy just didn’t want to work for me (though I know I used to love Dreamsicles as a child, so go figure). Still, it’s not a bad fro-yo at all.
We stopped there, but I have at least 3 more recipes I want to try out in the near future (especially the St Germaine & Earl Grey Tea Gelato, page 61) and more after that.
Compared to the other alcohol-related book I reviewed this month, this one wins hands down!
Now, if I can just figure out how to get the frozen pops out of their molds. (Definitely a first world problem.)