Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Smooth as silk

Ever since I bought my new ice cream maker, I've been looking for excuses to make more ice cream. So I was excited to see this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte. This week's recipe comes from Amy of Food, Family and Fun. It's basically an ice cream cake, with alternating layers of your favorite frozen confection and chocolate ganache. The original recipe calls for store-bought premium vanilla ice cream blended with raspberries. I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry, but I just finished about a quart of homemade chocolate raspberry swirl.

Also, ever since the Filbert G√Ęteau, I've been wondering what to do with my leftover praline paste. The recipe made about a cup, and the buttercream for the cake only used a third of that. After eating a few spoonfuls, I still had about half a cup hanging around. Since I really liked the flavor in combination with the ganache glaze on the cake, I thought I'd try making a hazelnut praline ice cream for my torte. I started with my basic vanilla ice cream recipe. I used both whole milk and 1% because that's what I had in my fridge (the whole milk is for Gillian, mostly). Once the custard was done, I whisked in the praline paste. In hindsight, I probably should have mixed a little of the custard mixture into the paste and then mixed that back into the rest to minimize the chance of lumps. As it was, I just poured everything through a fine-mesh strainer. I would have put more rum in, but figured I shouldn't if I was going to feed it to my kids. =)

Another concern when feeding small children is the quantity of raw eggs in the ganache mixture for the torte. If it were just for me and Jamie, or if it wasn't so many eggs, I probably wouldn't worry about it. The simplest solution was to buy pasteurized eggs. A bit more expensive, but in this case I figured it was worth it. The filling mixture is pretty easy to make. It reminds me a lot of French silk pie. Sure enough, when I checked the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook, the ingredient list is very similar.

I didn't really want to make an 8-inch torte. I tried to find a 6-inch springform pan, planning to make half the recipe, but Sur la Table didn't have any. I didn't have time to look elsewhere, so I just went with my 7-inch pan and made 3/4 of the recipe. And yes, I did the math to figure it out. =) Assuming a similar pan height, you just have to compare the surface area. An 8-inch round pan is about 50 1/4 inches in area. A 7-inch pan is about 38 1/2. Pretty close to 3/4.

Assembling the torte is pretty straightforward. It just takes a little while, since you have to freeze each layer for 20 to 30 minutes before adding the next. And then you have to suffer through a 6-hour wait (or overnight, in my case) before tasting it. As usual, the first piece was a pain to get out, and not particularly photogenic. =) Once that was out, things went a lot better.

The verdict? There was a definite difference in texture between the layers. The ice cream melts a lot more quickly than the ganache softens. I like the flavor of the ice cream I made, but it's a bit overshadowed by the chocolate. Still quite tasty, though. Brianna, oddly enough, preferred the plain ice cream that she had Sunday night over the torte. She mostly ate the ice cream out of her piece and left the rest. Gillian, as usual, loved the whole thing, and was covered in it, since she found it easier to eat with her hands than with her spoon. =) Jamie's reaction? "Yum!"

Want to try your own ice cream torte? Decide on an ice cream flavor and head on over to Amy's blog for the full recipe. Of course, you can always just go buy the cookbook.

Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) heavy cream
8 ounces (1 cup) whole milk
8 ounces (1 cup) 1% milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup hazelnut praline paste (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon dark rum

Whisk together the cream, milks, sugar and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved and the mixture is hot. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks until smooth. Still whisking, drizzle in about a third of the hot liquid to temper the yolks. Then whisk the the yolk mixture back into the remaining liquid in the double boiler. Heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. The temperature should be between 170 and 180 degrees F. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the praline paste. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl (to remove any lumps of praline or eggy bits) and stir in the rum.

Refrigerate the custard until well chilled. Churn the mixture into ice cream following the instructions for your ice cream maker.  Makes about 1 quart.

Praline Paste
(adapted from Great Cakes by Carole Walter)

1 cup (4 ½ oz.) hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Line a jelly roll pan with non-stick foil.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low to medium flame for about 10 to 20 minutes until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly.

When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then turn the mixture onto the foil-lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible.

As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make a paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. Do not refrigerate.


  1. Looks fantastic! Your layers are perfect and that homemade ice cream is to die for. I need to get me an ice cream maker!

  2. The ice cream sounds great. Nice photos, too.

  3. praline and rum sounds delicious! nice layers!

  4. Looks great, kudos for making your own ice cream too!

  5. Now you make me wish I hadn't eaten all my leftover praline paste! That sounds fabulous, and looks it too.

  6. I'm with Gillian, I would have loved to pick this up and eat it with my hands too! Your torte looks fabulous. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  7. You're right--the layers melt at different paces. I've noticed it before in the Dove Ice Cream pints that my girlfriend gets, and in this as well: if you don't hurry, you'll be left with ice cream soup and chunks of chocolate. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Your torte looks great!

  8. OOH, lovely combination of flavors - so enterprising of you to make your own ice cream. It turned out perfectly!

  9. Hazelnut praline! Oh, Lordy. YUM.

  10. I am craving that ice cream...Yum!

    Haven't posted yet, but I figured out a way to "cook" the ganache. It's a bit fussy, though. Pasteurized eggs sound a lot easier and a good idea with small kids.

  11. Your math skills are impressive!

  12. I love that you used the praline paste! Way to be resourceful! Did your girls like the shawkit? :)

  13. oooOOOOOoooooo Praline paste....oh dear....I need some.


  14. Ohh I love your flavor combination! The hazelnut praline ice cream sounds amazing, beautiful torte!

  15. I love that you used the hazelnut paste! This sounds fabulous. Great job!

  16. Look at you Mrs. Resourceful!! AND perfectly banded. I know you made some kind of deal with the devil. Know. It.

  17. Oh my. What a great idea. It looks fabulous.

  18. Di-not only is that absolutely gorgeous, that homemade hazelnut ice cream sounds out of this world.

  19. Mmm. That ice cream sounds yummy! Your pictures turned out great!

  20. It looks perfect! Love the ice cream flavor!

  21. Yum - that sounds delicious!

  22. Looks so good!! The ice cream you made sounds fabulous. And the picture you have of the sliced torte is picture perfect.