10 August 2007

August Ice Cream Challenge

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President Reagan declared July America’s national ice cream month, and while I lick my share of cones every summer, I don’t really hit my ice cream stride until August. August, when the heat settles over us in an unrelenting glare and we retreat to the beach in search of respite, clinging to those last days of vacation before we return to school and work, August is truly the month for ice cream.

I’ve been thinking about this recently, how everyone in so many cultures knows that late summer afternoon, when it’s too hot to work or even to play, when all you can do is stroll languorously and lap up a bit of cool creamy custard. I’ve also been thinking about my own love of ice cream and my rediscovery of homemade ice cream, and inventing new ice cream flavors, and I thought, why not? Why not churn up a bunch of different ice creams in August, just for fun. I could post them here on the blog, and if you’re not French and don’t get most of the month off, if you’re trapped in a cubicle, sweating as you run to work in your suit, you can tune in everyday and check out a new ice cream flavor.

damien salted butter caramel

So I’m announcing my own August Ice Cream Challenge, in which I’ll be posting a new ice cream recipe here every day for the rest of the month. Three weeks, 21 days of ice cream. It’s absolutely crazy, I know, but I think it will also be pretty fun. I’ve been doing some prep work ahead of time, and I’ve got some classic and some unusual flavors planned. If you have your own blog, I invite you to play along and post an ice cream of your own, or simply share your favorite ice cream experience in the comments section. If you’re looking for inspiration, I highly recommend David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, Bruce Weinstein’s The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, and Ice Cream Ireland. Claudia Flemming, Emily Lucchetti, and Nigella Lawson have also provided inspiration on my own recipe hunt.

Will she do it? What kind of wacky flavors will she come up with? Will she fit into her pants at the end of it?! I urge you to stay tuned and find out!

P.S. If you’re wondering where my crazy love of ice cream comes from, read this. I use an inexpensive ($50) ice cream machine with a bowl I store in the freezer. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve made some of the ice creams ahead of time over the past few weeks so that I could get a head start on posting them, and let me tell you we’re in for a fun ride.

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Margie said...

I can't wait! :)

Deborah said...

Wow - what a challenge!! I will be rooting you on - I love ice cream!

Anonymous said...

EVERY DAY?!?! Holy wow. I cannot wait.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I'm looking forward to your posts.

Elmi said...

Elmi loves Ice-Cream and he loves this BLOG!

Kendra said...

Please, oh please, oh please make a coconut ice cream.
One of the best ice cream moments I ever had was a scoop of coconut ice cream with breaded fried bananas at a Thai restaurant...Yum.
I love to make homemade ice cream and I could use a good coconut recipe.

Unknown said...

Mmmmmm...ice cream. A very popular flavour, in NZ, where I'm originally from, is Hokey Pokey ice cream. It's a vanilla ice cream with chunks of hokey pokey in it. I almost got it right a couple of days ago, hence the 6 egg whites for the pav. However, I didn't quite put enough vanilla ice cream mixture in the maker, so it didn't freeze. My other problem is getting the sugar to melt, at altitude, for the hokey pokey. I haven't given up though!!!

Mercedes said...

Oh yes, everyday, my waistline is already suffering. I think it's up to about 18 flavors now...

Kendra- stay tuned ;-)

Karen- what on earth is hokey pokey??!!

Unknown said...

Hi Mercedes,

Hokey Pokey is a candy made with sugar, golden syrup and baking soda. You melt 5 tbsp sugar with 2 tbsp golden syrup. Once the sugar has melted, you bring it just to the boil. Take it off the stove and mix in 1 tsp of baking soda. Once it all foams up you pour it into a buttered dish and let it set. It should end up all light and foamy and crisp. It's important that all the sugar is dissolved before the mixture boils, otherwise the candy will have a grainy texture. You also have to watch that it doesn't burn. My problem, with being at altitude, is getting the sugar to dissolve before it gets to boiling point.

Quinne said...

Hi Mercedes :) I have been reading you now for a month or so and am enjoying your blog immensely! It is a joy to visit and see what you are up to. One of my favorite homemade ice creams from childhood was called "frozen passion" - ha! You make vanilla, adding Cheerwine to the mix. Being from TN perhaps you have some experience with Cheerwine? Have a lovely day! Q

May said...

Hi! You have a great blog!
The ice-cream challenge sounds great!
I read you like figs (so do I), so how about fig ice-cream? And will you make sorbets too?
Good luck :)

Mercedes said...

Karen- ah, hokey pokey sounds just like the British honeycomb (see here). I love honeycomb in Crunchie bars, and I bet it would be delicious in ice cream.

Quinne- thanks! My mom's from Tennessee but I've never lived there, Cheerwine is like doctor pepper, right? That combination of soda and ice cream sounds like a regional variation of a root beer float.

M- there's certainly a fig ice cream in the works, I'm actually not sure if I'll do any sorbets. I wanted to do all ice creams, but my waistline, or a sense of variety, may dictate a sorbet or two.

And to anyone who's wondering, the ice cream challenge will begin Sunday!

Quinne said...

Hi again :) You don't have to add this comment to the forum. I just wanted to pass a recipe along...

Cheerwine is cherry pop, but I have never been able to describe the tast of the ice cream. It does have a cherry zing, but it's so different from cherry ice cream. And a small serving goes a long way.

We always had it at pool parties, and it was just the thing when you were hot and tired from playing and working out in the water!

2 Cups Milk
4 eggs
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (13 oz) can Evaporated Milk
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups Cheerwine (not Diet)
additional milk

Mix eggs and regular milk in double boiler and heat until steaming hot throughout. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Chill. Add Cheerwine. Put mixture into ice cream freezer container and add additional milk to bring mixture to fill line.

You can add cherries or nuts if you like, but for the first time I recommend making it plain :)

Unknown said...

Hi Mercedes,

Yes, Hokey Pokey looks very much like that. I noticed the recipe on your link,has castor sugar in it. That's a very super fine sugar that I used for pavlovas, etc in NZ. You can find it some stores here, so I think I might try that, to see if it helps the sugar melting problem. It's really driving me nuts!! If you like Crunchie bars, see if you can get hold of some Violet bars, they are even better!!

Anonymous said...

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