Friday, February 5, 2010

Ice Cream and More (Galore!)

Janet here: We are not a family of cake eaters. Did that start because I'm not a cake eater and never made them, the same way we never had soda in our house growing up so I never developed a taste for soda? Who knows, but whatever the reason, we have homemade ice cream cakes for birthdays... and they barely last a day.

I'm not sure where I got the idea to make an ice cream cake (or perhaps more accurately, an ice cream pie) but once I did, the path was set. The way it works, each birthday person can pick the kind of ice cream and whatever mix-in they want smushed in. Depending on the birthday child, it's been anything from M&Ms to Reeses Peanut Butter Cups to Heathbars (and sometimes all of them). This recipe is absurdly easy (and fun to lick the bowl afterwards). Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

20 oreo cookies, smashed
20 (give or take) small Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, smashed (or whatever you choose)
2 pints of ice cream (coffee is a favorite at our house but again the choice is up to you)

Put the ice cream out to soften.
While it softens, mash the oreo cookies in a bowl. I use a pestle but a covered hammer could work too.
Place the cookie "crust" in an 8 or 9 inch pie pan, making it level. Make sure there is enough for the sides. (You can always add more mashed cookies if you need more.
Mash the smush-in of choice in the same bowl. When you've got enough, add the softened ice cream and mix up some more. Spread into the pie pan and put it in the freezer for at least an hour. (It will be hard to wait but worth it.) Serve it up!

Rachel here: So, as evidenced by my mom's cake, ice cream was the theme for this post and, as evidenced by the fact that the picture right above these words is a picture of sorbet, I strayed. Oops! I'm pretty sure my mom's used to my, shall we say, interpretations of guidelines at this point. But anyway...

The reason I made sorbet was that, well, I wanted to. I keep getting really excited at the grocery store when I see California berries at a reasonable price in the middle of winter and, though I could have made ice cream with them, sorbet seemed to honor their magnificence just a bit better since the fruit stands on its own more (don't get me wrong, though, I adore ice cream). For the last few weeks I've noticed gold raspberries and I've been meaning to try them and so I picked some up (along with some red raspberries and some strawberries...I wasn't kidding when I said I keep getting really excited at the grocery store) and embarked on my very first sorbet making adventure. You can follow me along this delicious path using the recipe below and substituting whatever is local and fresh in your produce department.

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
juice from one small lime
3 c. gold raspberries
3/4 c. red raspberries
1/4 c. sliced strawberries

Make a simple syrup with the sugar, water and lime juice. Don't know what simple syrup is? It's a syrup that is quite simply made by heating the sugar and water (and, in this case, the lime juice) over the stove until the sugar dissolves. Mmmm...
Place in fridge or freezer until quite cold (but not frozen).

In a food processor, break down your berries until smooth. I've heard that some people like to then strain the seeds out of this berry concoction, but I like evidence of the fresh fruit I've used so I left them in. If you don't have a food processor, I am going to post a little alternate recipe below that should turn out just fine. Back to this version, though...
Place the berries in the fridge and chill until quite cold.

Combine berries and syrup in a pourable container. Set up your ice cream maker/attachment (don't have one? No big deal with sorbet. Just put your well mixed berries and syrup in the freezer, checking on it every 15 minutes or so and fluffing it up so you don't get ice crystals until it's a good texture for you) and let it work its magic. Put your sorbet in an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Alternate version
So, you don't have a food processor. It's ok, I didn't always. I got one this summer when John and I got officially hitched. It's awesome and sort of like having a kitchen b*tch, but I'm sure I don't need to rub your face in its wonders. So, what you should do instead is take half of your simple syrup and combine it with 1/2 c. lemon juice. This should taste like sweet lemonade. Now just mash or chop up your berries and mix them into this. Everything else you need to know from here it posted in the main recipe above. Enjoy!