Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Elderberry Ice Cream


  • 1 cup water
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons crème fraiche or buttermilk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups elderberries, stripped off the stems
  • 2 tablespoons elderberry liqueur, cassis or other dark fruit liqueur


  1. First make the syrup. To make the syrup out of a seedy fruit like an elderberry, add about 2 cups of the elderberries to a pot and pour 1 cup of water over them. Heat slowly until it simmers and the berries begin bursting. Keep the berries at a slow simmer and begin pouring in sugar. Start with 1/2 cup and stir it in well. Taste and add more if you want. Don’t go higher than 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes or so and then take off the heat.
  2. Let the syrup cool push it through a food mill with the finest setting, or a medium-meshed sieve. Elderberry seeds tend to be small, so you will need to account for that. Use a mesh that prevents them from getting through. Try to get as much pulp in as you can — it adds body to the syrup, and later the ice cream. Pour the syrup into a jar and chill it in the fridge. The syrup like this will last for weeks in the fridge, so you can make it far in advance.
  3. When you want to make the ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a heavy pot and put it over a medium-high flame. Add the syrup. How much? I use 1 1/2 cups of elderberry syrup, but it will depend on your taste. Use as little as 1/2 cup, or as much as 2 cups. Just add and taste, and do it bit by bit, tasting as you go.
  4. Bring the mixture to about 160 degrees, which is steaming but not simmering. Lower the heat a bit for now.
  5. Get a bowl and beat the egg yolks.
  6. Now comes the tricky part: With a ladle in one hand and a whisk or fork in the other, slowly pour some hot cream into the egg yolks. Do this very slowly at first, whisking the eggs all the time with your other hand. Pour in another ladle, which can go in a little faster, then one more ladle, just to be sure. You are tempering your egg yolks, so they do not scramble in your cream mixture — this is making the custard. Pour the hot egg-cream mixture into the pot and whisk well.
  7. Add the crème fraiche or buttermilk — you can add more if you want, but use your taste as a guide. Whisk everything really well. The crème fraiche will not want to dissolve at first, but it will. Bring the mixture to 160 degrees, take it off the heat. Again, this is not quite a simmer. Let it cool on the counter for 15 minutes or so, add the liqueur. You use this both for flavor and to prevent the ice cream from setting up like a rock in the freezer. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill thoroughly, even overnight. Once it’s cold, pour into your ice cream maker and follow its directions.

Ingredients For Dough

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus one more for filling


  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ripe fresh figs (about 16), stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Make dough: In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, gradually add up to 2 tablespoons more water). Do not over mix. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days).
  2. Make filling: In food processor, combine almonds and sugar; process until finely ground. Add 1 egg, butter, flour, vanilla, and salt; pulse until smooth, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine figs and lemon juice; set aside.    
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a large lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll dough to a 14-inch round. Spread almond filling in center, leaving a 2-inch border; top with fig mixture. Fold border over edge of filling, pleating all around; press down gently to seal. In a small bowl, mix remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water; brush dough with egg wash.
  4. Lifting edges of parchment, transfer crostata to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool on baking sheet at least 30 minutes. To serve, cut crostata into wedges.

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