July 26, 2011

Brown Sugar-Molasses Ice Cream and Apricot Gallette

Brown Sugar-Molasses Ice Cream and Apricot Gallette

My grandmother was a serious, focused woman known for her attention to detail and lack of tolerance for silliness. She was a spectacular seamstress who made things like tailored suits from the best wool, complete with welted pockets, satin linings and bone buttons. While my mother and I sewed so that we'd have lots of fashionable things to wear, Grandma sewed, she once told me, in order to have fine things to wear. It is with the same sense of order and precision that she addressed cooking.

My grandmother was an excellent cook who eschewed the encroaching fast food conveniences like Minute Rice (regular rice is more nutritious, she told me, is less expensive and only takes 15 minutes longer) for seasonally fresh and home-preserved items. As the adept executive assistant to the chief executive of an insurance company, Grandma once told the story of being served turtle soup at a dinner with her boss. As an eight-year-old, turtle soup was the most exotic food I could imagine. I was dually impressed with Grandma's gustatorial bravery. And, I wondered, if a turtle could be prepared and eaten, then what else??


Grandma served me many wonderfully prepared dishes, but one thing stands out as the most simply spectacular thing I ever tasted: Apricot pie. I only had my grandma's apricot pie once, and even though it was close to four decades ago, the memory is boldly indelible. The sweet and tart and velvety fruit, still subtly warm, enrobed in a crackly, flaky crust stole my attention.

Honestly, I've never tried to recreate that pie, and never will. That delicious memory is simply too precious to be tampered with. I'm happy, though, to allow it to inspire new iterations of the theme. My Grandma would have loved this apricot gallette and its accompanying ice cream. I think you might, too.


A fresh apricot is a fine thing, but poaching, roasting or baking turns it into something ethereal and otherworldly, both in intensified flavor and in melting texture. For the gallette I used exactly the same method and pastry recipe as this, substituting 8 large apricots, halved, for the fruit. The crisp and tender butter pastry marries happily with the apricots.

The brown sugar-molasses ice cream (my new favorite flavor) came about as a bit of a fluke. I always make ice cream from a cooked custard, so when I skipped that method in a time crunch I really expected a ho-hum outcome. I am my grandmother's granddaughter, after all, and cut corners are usually noticed. I was very wrong, and will experiment further with this "cheater" ice cream base. The ice cream froze into a perfectly firm yet creamy and scoopable texture free of icy particles, which is what I had always thought I was avoiding with the more laborious custard.



I had planned just the brown sugar ice cream flavor, but as I was stirring it all together, I really wanted a darker color and deeper flavor than I was getting. The addition of molasses was also an experiment and resulted in something lovely.

Brown Sugar-Molasses Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups cream
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in 2 quart mixing bowl until sugar and molasses are completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Freeze according to ice cream maker's manufacturers directions. Cover tightly and place in freezer until ready to serve.

To all the grandma's of the world, let us not underestimate our impact on our grandchildren. We never know just what small thing (perhaps an apricot?) may cause them to think of us when we're gone.


25 comments:

  1. The ice cream looks wonderful as does the gallette.

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  2. Turtle soup-it's funny which food strikes our curiosity when we are little. As far as this gallette, it really does look unforgettably delicious, especially with the ice cream. I am sure that your grandma would be proud to see how her cooking has influenced you.

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful combination - though I'm sure both the galette and the ice cream are both perfectly delicious on their own, too.
    I've only ever made custard-based ice creams, so I'm quite interested to try out your custardless version. I hate standing over a hot stove in the summertime (especially when the weather is as hot and muggy as it's been this year), so it sounds like a godsend!

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  4. I love the idea of this ice cream flavor! Very unique. And I agree about Apricots. I love them fresh but they just seem to be made for cooking don't they?

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  5. All of it sounds amazing! Brown sugar molasses ice cream, warm apricots and flaky pastry, heaven! I'm sure grandma would approve.

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  6. That ice cream sounds amazing! The gallette looks wonderful too - I am sure that was like a party in your mouth when eating that!

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  7. Oh my yummmmm... the gallette, the ice cream...I just want to pick them off my screen! sigh...

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  8. Wonderful pairing.....this looks delicious.

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  9. You had me at brown sugar-molasses ice cream! I need to make this immediately!

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  10. Oh my gosh, this sounds like heaven. I love brown sugar in my ice cream and I can only imagine how amazing it must taste with warm apricots.

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  11. That galette is just beautiful! And what a perfect way to top it off! : )

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  12. This just makes me sigh with a cozy, homey feeling. Sounds so good, Pam. I love molasses flavors and it sound really good with apricot.

    My mom was just reminiscing about her mom's peach and blueberry pies yesterday. I never got the opportunity to try one of her pies, but they were supposedly the bomb. It's funny how I strive to make a good pie in honor of grandma, without ever having tasted one of hers.

    This was a really sweet post.

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  13. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman! I love gallette's and I love that you are leaving that memory intact. The ice cream sounds like a DREAM! Buzzed!

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  14. Your grandmother must have been a great person. I like the attention she gave to details, and I can see you've inherited a lot from her, looking at this wonderful dessert you've made. Apart from the great flavor combination, I think you've made it even more perfect by bringing two different textures into play: the smooth ice cream and crunchier gallette.

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  15. You got good advice from your grandmother. I do try to mix up the advice I got with some 21st century sensibilities to see what happens! Sometimes it works...

    I am making this ice cream for the weekend! I'll let you know how it comes out.

    Jason

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  16. What lovely flavors!! And, an equally wonderful story! kate@kateiscooking

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  17. What a great read! I loved the way you made this icecream, with the ingredients which are just perfect here! Congrats on being at top 9 today!

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  18. Yum. Congrats on your top 9!

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  19. Oh, my! What a gorgeous combination of desserts...each one on its own would be delectable enough, but together must be fabulous! Congrats on the Top 9 today!!!

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  20. Wow! That ice cream sounds so interesting and extremely delicious!

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  21. I just made the ice cream this afternoon with my 3 year old, it was SO easy and SO delicious!! He loves to help me in the kitchen, we call him "Little Chef" like in Ratatouille, so I'm always looking for easy recipes. This has got to be my new favorite "no cook" ice cream base. Every single other one I've tried comes out crystally, not smooth and creamy like a custard based ice cream. This one didn't! It's every bit as smooth and creamy, and with the vanilla in there you're hard pressed to think it's not a custard base. It takes all of 3 minutes to mix everything together and throw it in the machine (we use the ice cream attachment for our Kitchenaid stand mixer) and let it do it's thing! MUCH better than the 5 hours it takes for a custard base for it to cool down. I'll still do custard for fancy stuff but this is definitely my new go-to for everyday type stuff. Thank you so much for sharing it!!

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  22. YaY! This made Top 9 and is WELL deserved! Not only is this beautiful, but you blog is so lovely....I look forward to each post!

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  23. Ahhh. I am more than flattered by all of your kind comments. Amber, Little Chef is lucky to have you to introduce the world of balanced good and healthful foods, and I am so delighted to hear from a reader that you actually MADE one of my recommendations and liked it every bit as much as I do. A higher compliment couldn't be made.

    Ann, your ongoing support and sweet words are music! Thank you!

    And, thanks to Foodbuzz for the Top 9 mention toady. I mostly think Foodbuzz doesn't like me because I don't play things their way, so this was an unexpected delight today.

    Life is throwing some interesting things my way that I'm sure you'll be hearing about soon, and, honestly, I imagine the faces of my readers when I write. Thank you all for supporting this forum.

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  24. I'm going to try this today, and substitute bourbon for the vanilla (or perhaps alongside; we'll see how it tastes!). Thanks so much! :D

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