Sunday, 26 August 2007

A refreshing summer dessert

As I referenced in an earlier post, summer is almost over and we've got to make the most of it. At least for now though, succulent, juicy berries are still available in the stores. So, to kick off the start of the weekend, I made a light dessert for dinner last night.

Reminiscent of the ice cream floats that I'm sure we all loved from childhood, I made a sparkling lemonade float that was topped with strawberries and mascarpone ice cream. (Credit for this combination and the recipe go to Emily Luchetti, one of my favourite dessert cookbook authors.) The mascarpone ice cream, being perfumed with a vanilla pod, was essentially a creamier, more luxurious version of vanilla ice cream and provided the perfect contrast to the slightly tart and tangy taste of the lemonade. Refreshing, yet indulgent at the same time.

Mascarpone ice cream
From this book

4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 cups mik
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise with seeds scraped out
1 cup mascarpone cheese

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Cook the millk, cream, vanilla bean, and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost simmering. Slowly pour the liquid into the egg-and-sugar mixture, whisking as your pour. Return the cream-and-milk mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant plastic or wooden spatula, until the custard reaches 175F and lightly coats the spatula.

Strain the custard into a clean bowl, discarding the vanilla bean, and cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Whisk in the mascarpone. Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. If necessary, whisk the ice cream base to combine. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until scoopable, about 4 hours, depending on your freezer.