African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is quickly becoming one of my favorite theme parks. I remember as a kid I didn’t quite “get it.” But now, I love to just wander through the park, seeing all of the absolutely amazing details and finding the hidden walks and trails, including the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Africa. The pathway curves along through lush plants and exotic wildlife, including hippos, gorillas, and bright colorful birds.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Now imagine you’re wandering along the trail and you see a small path veer off to the side that you’ve never noticed before. Feeling adventurous (after all, you’re in Africa, right?) you follow it and find yourself surrounded by dense vegetation, only to break through and see a thatch-roofed stand offering just one thing: The. Best. Vanilla. Ice. Cream. … Ever. You can just see it, right? Sounds perfectly like some hidden magic that Disney would include in their theme parks. Well, if it ever happens, this would be the ice cream.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This isn’t a plain-Jane vanilla ice cream. The rich cream and sweet milk are highlighted, instead of over-shadowed by, the star of the show: The Madagascar Vanilla Bean. Now, I don’t know how things are where you live, but around here, vanilla beans pretty much cost about as much as an entire meal. But every now and then, it’s worth it. And this is one of those times. You cannot believe how much flavor you will get out of just one of these unassuming, glorious beans. Trust me.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s my normal sweet cream base, except that you scrape the seeds out of a vanilla bean and add the seeds AND the bean shell (is it called a shell? A husk?) into the base before you bring it to a boil. I just made traditional vanilla bean ice cream, but this would be a FANTASTIC base to make for my Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream or to add any other mix-ins you can think of.

And of course, one bit and you’ll think you discovered the most perfect treat on an exotic (Disney) African jungle trek. 🙂

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp corn syrup

3 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

In a large pot, mix together the milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds and husk/shell. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. In a separate dish, stir together the egg yolks and salt. When cream mixture has cooked at a boil for five minutes, remove from heat and slowly add about 1 cup of the liquid to the egg yolks (try not to get the shell of the vanilla bean in here), stirring constantly. Pour the now-hot egg yolks back into the pot with the remaining cream, return to low heat, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, pour into a heat-safe container, cool completely and chill. When chilled, pour into the base of your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream

Title Shot

Have you ever had the Berry Cobbler at Artist Point inside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? It’s one of those desserts that has become a Disney classic, and for good reason. It’s a warm doughy cobbler filled with blueberries, and topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries, and finished with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream! Which of course means that it would be absolutely excellent to mix all that together into it’s own ice cream recipe, right? I mean, it’s only common sense! 🙂

The original dessert from Artist Point has become so popular that it’s featured in some of the official Disney cookbooks, and can be found in the Recipe section on allears.net (Click here to see the recipe section). I used the recipe from my Delicious Disney cookbook.

Cookbook Cover

Inside Cookbook

The cobbler is easy to make (and makes a great breakfast if you bake it early enough :)) You just mix together your dry ingredients, then add the cold butter and mix with your hands (or a pastry cutter if you’re fancy like that) until it’s crumbly. Stir in an egg and some cream until just mixed. Pour it all into a 9″ square pan, plop plenty of blueberries on top, then sprinkle some brown sugar over top and dot it with more butter. The recipe says to bake for 20-25 minutes or until browning on top. I baked mine for about 35 minutes and clearly, it did not really brown on top.

Cobbler

Also clearly, we do not really have much self-control in our household when it comes to baked goods. I tried to justify that piece out of the middle by “making sure it was done,” but let’s be honest. I love that little bit of gooey part.

Anyway, my guess is that a little extra brown sugar and butter will help the top of this look like the official cookbook picture. Feel free to give it a shot and let me know!

Next, we’re finally going to make a delicious vanilla ice cream base. I know! I haven’t done any plain vanilla yet! But hold onto this vanilla base recipe, I’m sure it will be popping up plenty in the future. The base is made just like any other base (cooking cream, milk, and sugar to a boil; adding a bit to some egg yolks and salt; stirring the egg/cream mixture back to the pot and heating until thickened, add the vanilla, cool and chill).

To get the fresh raspberry and blackberry part of the Artist Point Berry Cobbler incorporated into the ice cream, I made a quick sauce of the berries with some sugar and heated until they’re mushable. If you would like, you’re more than welcome to push the sauce through a sieve when it’s finished to help remove all the seeds. I didn’t. Could it be because I already had a pile of dishes in the sink? Possibly. I like to say it’s because they use whole berries in the original dessert (seeds and all) and I was just keeping the Artist Point integrity in the making of this ice cream.

Once you churn your ice cream, you’re going to layer everything into your freezer-proof container. Pour in some ice cream, top it with some crumbled chunks of cobbler and berry sauce, and keep layering up till you’re out. Be sure to save some of the cobbler and berry sauce for the top layer so everyone knows what they’re getting. And because it looks pretty.

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I took this to an Independence Day campfire cookout and it was a big hit – hope you all love it just as much!

Campfire

Enjoy!

Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream

Berry Cobbler (Recipe from Delicious Disney cookbook):

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

1 cup heavy cream

12 oz. fresh blueberries

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup butter and mix with hands or pastry cutter until crumbly. Add egg and cream, and mix with a spoon until just combined.

Pour batter into a very well greased 9″ square pan. Place blueberries on top, sprinkle with brown sugar, and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp. of cold butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or longer) until golden brown. Cool completely and set aside until ready to use.

Berry Sauce:

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 pint fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

salt

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a low boil, and cook until fruit is softened. Remove from heat. If desired, push through a sieve to remove seeds. Cool completely and set aside until ready to use.

Vanilla Ice Cream Base:

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks

salt

2 tsp. good quality pure vanilla extract

In a large pan, bring the cream, milk, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Cook for five minutes. In a separate heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the salt. Remove the cream mixture from heat, and gradually add some of the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add about 1 cup of the liquid to the yolks. Slowly pour the tempered egg yolks mixed with cream back into the pot with the remaining cream mixture, stirring the whole time. Return pan to low heat and cook until slightly thickened, stirring, and do not allow to boil. Remove from heat, pour into a separate container, add vanilla, stir, and cool completely.

When chilled, pour into the base of an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. When ice cream is ready, pour about 1/3 into a freezer-proof container. Top with broken pieces of the cobbler and a few spoonfuls of the berry sauce. Layer on more vanilla ice cream, and continue layering the ice cream with the cobbler and berry sauce until out of ice cream. Finish with a few more bits of cobbler and a swirl of berry sauce. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

Banana Ice Cream with Curry-Candied Cashews: Cotton-Top Tamarins

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I was so excited the other day when I came home and found this:

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While these bananas may look rather mundane to most people, my husband hates over-ripe bananas. I was planning on make this ice cream last week, but the ripe bananas were gone by the time I got home from work. But luckily this time I caught them before they were extradited from my kitchen. 🙂 To prepare these for the ice cream, I sliced them both, sprinkled with a little brown sugar, and roasted in the oven until the sugar was melted and starting to bubble (about 10-15 minutes). Once cool, puree them in a food processor or blender and set aside.

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So of course, bananas will work perfectly with the adorable Cotton-Top Tamarins at Animal Kingdom (yes, I know it’s a generalization). Honestly, when these guys are active we could stand and watch them for hours.  But then I started to wonder what I could pair with the bananas to make it fit better in Animal Kingdom. I thought I would be very scientific with this and research the Cotton-Top Tamarin. Turns out, they are mostly found in Columbia, South America. Here I was expecting them to be from Asia (mostly because I’m pretty sure my mom hangs out at their habitat while we ride Expedition Everest). And unfortunately, the main spices and flavors of Columbia weren’t really in line with what I was thinking for this ice cream.

But I am intrigued by the flavors found throughout Animal Kingdom, so I decided to infuse some of the spices found throughout the park. Behold, the creation of the Candied-Curried Cashews.

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These glorious little morsels are a mix of brown sugar and spices that are pan roasted just until the sugar melts. They have a little kick to them but aren’t too spicy. More on that later.

The base for this ice cream actually is a little lighter than normal, using only one cup of heavy cream. You get a very similar creaminess from the bananas, so I replaced the extra cream with milk. Otherwise, the base is the same as a regular sweet cream base, just add the pureed bananas when the base is finished. The cashews get layered in after the base is churned.

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So what does this crazy combination taste like? When you first take a bit you get the smooth, fruitiness of the bananas and the crunch of the cashews. The curry flavor is very slight, but then you end up with a bit of a tingly heat afterwards, which is both balanced and slightly heightened by the milkfat in the cream.

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It’s a perfect pair that just screams Animal Kingdom, and will remind you of those fun and feisty Cotton-Top Tamarins.

Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream with Curry-Candied Cashews

Curry-Candied Cashews:

1 cup cashews (pieces & halves work fine)

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. tumeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Remove from heat and spread out over a piece of wax paper to cool. Set aside.

Banana Ice Cream Base:

2 over-ripe bananas

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2-1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks

Salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Slice bananas, sprinkle with brown sugar, and cook in 375 degree oven until the sugar is melted and bubbly, 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt. Remove cream mixture from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add about one cup of the hot cream to the prepared egg yolks. Slowly add the tempered egg yolks back to the pot with the remaining cream mixture, stirring the whole time. Return to low heat and cook until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes), stirring often. Remove from heat and pour into a chilled bowl. Stir in the banana puree and vanilla extract. Cool completely and chill. Pour into canister of ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. When finished, layer base into freezer container with the curry-candied cashews, ending with a smattering of cashews. Freeze at least 4 hours in the coldest part of your freezer. Sprinkle with additional cashews when serving, if desired.

THE Creamiest Strawberry Ice Cream: 1900 Park Fare

Ok guys, get ready. Because this, this is a recipe you’re going to want to keep. Honestly, if I had to pick just one ice cream to eat for the rest of my life, I think this may be it.

And, the recipe is based on the Chilled Strawberry Soup served at 1900 Park Fare at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort, so you know it has to be good. 🙂

Fresh, ripe strawberries

Fresh, ripe strawberries

Have you ever tried the strawberry soup? It is absolutely indulgent, creamy, sweet and fresh. Which clearly makes it perfect to churn into some ice cream, right? The ice cream (and the soup) is filled with juicy, sweet, ripe strawberries (try to get locally grown ones if available), and sweet cream, as well as the unexpected addition of sour cream. The sour cream helps add to the creamy body of the ice cream and also adds a little tang to help balance out the sweetness.

Possibly even better in a Mickey Mouse casserole :)

Possibly even better in a Mickey Mouse casserole 🙂

Before you start the ice cream, you’ll want to hull and slice a pint of strawberries, toss with some sugar, and roast in the oven. The roasting is important because it helps to concentrate the flavor, evaporates some of the extra water in the berries, and helps bind the sugar to the berries so they don’t end up as hard, frozen chunks in the ice cream. Once the berries are cool, put them in the blender and pulse a few times – don’t over-blend them, you still want some pieces, but no big chunks. You’ll have more of this puree than you’ll need for the ice cream, but feel free to save the extra sauce to top this, or any, ice cream.

The base ice cream base is the typical sweet cream, but with slightly less milk than normal. Once the base is cooked, you’ll slowly whisk it into the sour cream (I like to do a little at a time to avoid chunks), stir in the strawberry puree, and chill completely.

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It may be hard to resist eating it at this point, since it’s pretty much the Chilled Strawberry Soup that you’ll get at 1900 Park Fare.

Then you just pour it into the base of your ice cream machine, freeze according to manufacturer’s suggestions, and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours. But to be honest, I like this one best when it’s still pretty soft. Almost half ice cream, half strawberry soup.

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Enjoy!

Creamiest Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Puree:

1 pint strawberries (locally grown if possible)

1/3 cup sugar

Hull and slice strawberries, toss with sugar, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Sour Cream Base:

1-1/2 cups whole milk

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup pureed berries

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large pot, bring the cream, milk, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the salt. Slowly add about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Return the egg and cream mixture to the pot, slowly, and return to low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).

Measure sour cream into a large bowl and add vanilla. Add part of the hot cream base and stir well until incorporated. Slowly add the remainder of the base to the bowl with the sour cream. Be sure there are no remaining lumps of sour cream. Add the pureed strawberries then chill completely.

When cool, pour into the base of your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Place in a freezer-proof container and freeze in the coldest part of freezer for at least four hours.

Coolest Summer Ever: Blueberry Mint FROZEN Yogurt

Show of hands: Who is going to Walt Disney World this summer for the Coolest Summer Ever? And now, who all WISHES they were going down to the World for the Coolest Summer Ever?

Unfortunately, I fall into the second category. Of course, I may have secret vacations priced out for every week that we’re free between now and the end of August, you know, just in case. 🙂

But since chances are I will be missing out on all of the Frozen Summer Fun at Walt Disney World, and specifically at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I decided I had to make a frozen treat that would make Elsa, Anna, and Olaf proud. Thus the creation of the Coolest Summer Ever inspired Blueberry Mint Frozen Yogurt. Blueberry because the color looks like it belongs in the movie. Mint because it just tastes exactly like summer to me. And FROZEN yogurt because it’s inspired by FROZEN! 🙂

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The yogurt base is pretty much similar to the sweet cream bases I’ve posted before, except that most of the cream is replaced by Greek yogurt (most, not all, it is still inspired by a celebration don’t forget!). You heat the milk, sugar, corn syrup, and a little cream and let it cook for a bit, then add it to some Greek yogurt and add a handful of mint leaves. Let it cool completely before churning.

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The blueberry mint sauce that gets swirled into the yogurt base is phenomenal. In fact, I unfortunately ate a couple large spoonfuls while it was cooling and wished I had more to add to the ice cream later. So head’s up: As much as you may be tempted, only take little tastes of the blueberry sauce until you know you have enough for the ice cream. 🙂

The sauce is very easy to make. You cook together some fresh blueberries and sugar with a splash of water until the berries are soft and the sauce is slightly thickened. When it’s slightly cooled, add in some chopped mint and refrigerate until ready to make your frozen yogurt.

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Once you churn the frozen yogurt, you’re going to layer it in your freezer container with the blueberry sauce, which results in a beautiful blue swirl when you scoop it out.

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I’m pretty sure this Blueberry Mint FROZEN Yogurt will help you make the Coolest Summer Ever, even if you are enjoying it in your backyard instead of on Hollywood Boulevard.

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Blueberry Mint Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Base:

1-1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. corn syrup

1-1/4 cups Greek yogurt

Handful of mint leaves

Blueberry Mint Sauce:

1-1/2 cups blueberries

2/3 cup sugar

Splash of water

8-10 mint leaves, finely chopped

Salt

In a large saucepan, bring the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Have yogurt ready in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the yogurt, making sure there are no lumps. Add the whole mint leaves and refrigerate until completely chilled.

Heat the blueberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the berries are soft and the sauce slightly thickened (mine took about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and add salt. Let cool to room temperature, add chopped mint, and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

When yogurt base is completely cool, freeze according to manufacturer’s recommendations. When finished, pour a layer of yogurt into your freezing container, followed by a layer of blueberries, continuing until all the yogurt is used. Top with a spoonful (or 2) of blueberry sauce. Freeze in coldest part of freezer for at least 4 hours.

Enjoy!