Red Berry Swirl Ice Cream & Gingersnap Cones
For a long time, I’ve wanted to live in a city.
Two semesters in college have confirmed this. Sometimes I think Boston won me over just as much as the college tour. I see the parks as my quad, the neighborhoods as my library. When the sun dips, I love walking down the endless streets – light concentrates in the spaces between brick buildings, bathing the whole city in gold.
I like the way the sidewalks breathe at night. Even in the dark, people are everywhere, and insect wings glint under the streetlights. I love the way honking cars and buzzing neon signs become lullabies. In the morning, I wake up with the city. The bus exhales beneath my seat and happy smells waft out of the bakeries. Every day is new and full of possibility, of discovery and change. I feel alive.
My boyfriend I- isn’t like this. He appreciates the pizza parlors open until 2 am and enjoys late-night photography in Chinatown. But in the “real world,” he could never live somewhere with that many cars, with so many people.
He visited Seattle for the first time last week. I made sure we checked out downtown record shops and college student hangouts. But I-’s favorite things about Washington?
He loved driving east towards Fall City, where thick trees threaten to swallow the road. He’ll remember Snoqualmie Falls, the semi-decayed bridge we were too scared to cross, and the pie we ate at a tiny North Bend diner. He was impressed with rocky Mount Si and snow-capped Mount Rainier. And he liked our floating bridges.
He also liked my backyard. It’s large in proportion to our little house, wrapping around three edges of our home. One section is a grassy stretch, another features the stone path and garden Mom and Dad built two years ago, and the third area holds our herbs and vegetables.
There’s something magical about growing our own produce. Since our lettuce heads unfurled, I’ve eaten more salads than ever. We get on our knees to find the ripest strawberries, which are more tender and sweet than any grocery store berry. I like slicing them in half, pouring coconut milk over them, and sprinkling the top with raw oats. Food tastes better when it’s just picked, still sun warmed, still breathing.
Before we planted them in our garden, I’d never thought about red currants. Each berry is tiny, translucent, and unbelievably crimson. They’re a little sour and pop between your teeth. The morning every berry suddenly turned ripened, I picked currants until my fingertips and lips were perfumed red.
I have to admit that I don’t really know what to do with them. My mom and I picked every currant in a race against the birds, and now we have cups and cups of a fruit that remains a mystery to both of us. Our batch is a little too tart to eat raw but we don’t have any experience with cooking them. Mom simmered some into a syrup, and I swirled some into ice cream.
It takes a lot of currants to make not-so-much puree. I threw in a few of our strawberries to add sweetness, and some honey when strawberries weren’t enough. I layered the red berry puree with my favorite vanilla ice cream. The berries are so deep and vivid against the creamy white, freckled with black seeds, that I see galaxies and constellations in every scoop.
I spent an afternoon making gingersnap ice cream cones, and after an hour in the kitchen I was ready for fresh air. I went into the backyard to photograph them, and realized I didn’t want to go back in. The ice cream just tasted better outside. It made the berry swirl brighter and the vanilla more exotic, standing in the sun without a skyscraper or printed ad in sight.
I miss the bustle of living downtown, but I’ve learned something else. I want to eat like I’m tucked deep in the country. I don’t know how I’m going to make it work back in school, without soil or farm-fresh produce in sight.
For now, I’ll keep eating lunch outside, listening to the leaves rustle and feeling more alive than I have all summer.
This was my first time making ice cream cones! I made my own mold out of a semi-circle of cardboard, taped into a cone shape and wrapped in aluminum foil. The tuile batter is easy to make and pretty simple to bake. The hard part? Rolling them into cones.
The cookies were so hot when they came out of the oven, I could barely roll them around the mold. I tried wearing oven mitts, but really – you might as well not have fingers when they’re under that much fabric. In the end, I had some really tasty gingersnap cones that were completely open at the bottom. I dropped a tiny stemmed strawberry into the cone before topping with ice cream, and when I got to the last few bites, the vanilla cream soaked berry was magical.
Red Berry Swirl Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Makes a quart
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Red Berry Swirl
8 oz red berries (I used 5 oz red currants, 3 oz strawberries)
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey (to taste, may be more or less)
First, make the vanilla ice cream. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan. (I waited until I saw the liquid steaming.) Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour.
Set up an ice bath by placing a 2 quart bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
In another bowl, stir the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk until warmed, then gradually pour some hot milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolks and milk back into the saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard that coats the back of the spatula.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
Meanwhile, make the red berry puree. Combine the berries and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir and mash with a spoon, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the berries are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Press the puree through a very fine sieve into a bowl. Press down to get all the juice out, leaving behind the seeds. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use. (It’ll keep this way about a week.)
When you’re ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard and freeze in an ice cream maker. Pour a third of the churned ice cream into a container, smooth the top with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the berry puree over the ice cream. Top with half the remaining custard. Smooth the top and spread the remaining berry puree over it. Finally spread the last of the custard over the puree.
Freeze the ice cream until solid. When you drag the ice cream scoop through the container, the layers of berry puree will swirl through.
Printer-Friendly Version – Red Berry Swirl Ice Cream
Just barely tweaked from David Lebovitz
Makes eight 6” cones
1/4 cup (60 ml) egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
7 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (90 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup (90 g) flour
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon mild molasses
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Combine the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir in the salt, spices, and half of the flour. Mix in the melted butter and molasses, then stir in the rest of the flour until smooth.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a small offset spatula to spread 2 level tablespoons of batter into a circle with a diameter of 6″ (15 cm). I traced the circles onto the underside of the parchment to get even circles, and I was able to bake two per sheet. The smoother and more even your rounds, the prettier your cones will look.
Bake one sheet (two cones) at a time. Start checking after 10 minutes, but depending on your oven, the baking time will be 10-15 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown throughout, with some lighter and darker spots.
Pull the sheet out of the oven and run a thin metal spatula under a circle to loosen the edges. Quickly flip it over and roll it around the cone shaped mold. Press the seam firmly against the counter to close the sides of the cone, and press the bottom together to pinch the point at the bottom. Let the cone cool slightly on the mold until it keeps its shape, then let it cool completely in a tall glass. Roll the other cone (if the cookie has cooled too much to roll, return the sheet to the oven for a minute.)
Continue to bake and roll cones with the remaining batter.
Printer-Friendly Version – Gingersnap Cones
Entry filed under: Cookies, Frozen Desserts. Tags: baking, berries, boston, cinnamon, Cookies, currants, dessert, desserts, frozen, ginger, ice cream, Seattle, strawberries, summer, vanilla, vanilla bean.