Friday, May 25, 2007

Chipotle Vanilla Ice Cream

Take a bite. Go ahead. The first thing that hits your palate is vanilla, engaging both your nose and your tongue with its lovely perfume. Then cold. Sweet. A little crunch of chocolate. Suddenly, as the ice cream melts and reaches the back of your tongue, a bloom of smokey, hot, red jalapeno pepper fills your mouth.

What? You don't like your ice cream spicy hot?

Take heart, O timid one. Tempered by the cold and sweetness, the bloom is fleeting, gone all too soon. Did it really happen? That's when you take another bite. Then another. Then another...

Mr. CC's eyes got very big after his first taste. This is always a good sign. As a slow grin spread across his face, I knew I'd hit the bull's eye.

Hornitas in Estes Park, CO

So, the sisters and nieces were sitting around in Di's (the youngest sister) house in Colorado talking about Ann's (the middle niece) upcoming @%#*!th birthday (we're not allowed to say it out loud) and blow-the-doors-off-bash she's going to throw. Amidst the talk, margaritas and ginger-mint snaps (Ann's creation - hopefully she'll share the recipe), we were cooking up a somewhat Mexican influenced dinner for Kelly (the youngest niece) whose 18th birthday was on that very day.

While charring red bell, poblano and jalapeno peppers for the myriad dishes on the menu that night, which I will talk about in another post, I idly wondered about combining chipotles and vanilla in an ice cream custard. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea and told Ann that, if successful, I'd bring the ice cream to her birthday bash.

I'm happy to report that this concoction is as delightful as I'd hoped and then some. Excellent on its own, a scoop would be an elegant partner to a sweetly-filled empanada (south american filled pastry turnover), my sis Cynthia's specialty.

As I'm wont to do, I made the ice cream low fat and sugar-free. The chocolate walked on stage as I was freezing the custard last night. Giving a slight curtsey it pleaded, "Use me, please!" How could I say no? Feel free to use all the cream, eggs and sugar you wish, but this is quite delicious as I've made it here and way easier on your heart.

Chipotle Vanilla Ice Cream
Christine's original recipe
2 cups 2% milk
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/2 vanilla bean
3/4 cup Splenda granular
1 cup egg substitute such as Lucerne's Best of the Egg (found at Safeway)
1 12-ounce can fat free evaporated milk
1 ounce chopped or shaved bitter-sweet chocolate

Combine the milk, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, vanilla bean and Splenda in a saucepan, whisking gently to incorporate the Splenda.
Place over low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. It's okay for the chile to break apart during this process as it will infuse the milk with its smokey heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the egg substitute until fully combined.
Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Take care that the eggs don't curdle.
Remove from the heat again and allow to cool for 5 minutes before stirring in the fat free evaporated milk.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass container.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the mixture, stir to blend and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's directions. Add the chopped chocolate when the custard has become semi-frozen.
Ann, you find the ice cream maker and I'll figure out how to get the custard to Oakland.

Cook's Notes:
We girls cooked up a storm while in Colorado and I'm hoping to get a few of those recipes posted here soon.

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