cherry mint stracciatella

cherry mint stracciatella

The ice cream has a mint-infused roasted cherry base ribboned throughout with snappy veins of chocolate. It makes a wonderfully fruity mint ice cream with a chocolate flavour that doesn’t overwhelm.

cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella
cherry mint stracciatella

I first thought of this ice cream as a cherry mint chocolate chip. My mum, however, isn’t a fan of how hard frozen chocolate chips get, so I decided to use a stracciatella-type technique. Stracciatella is a term which applies to both gelato and egg-ribboned soup; on the gelato side it is usually done by drizzling melted chocolate into a gelato base while it churns. The chocolate freezes upon contact with the ice cream, forming small shards which snap and melt in the mouth. To enhance the meltiness, I took inspiration from Stella Parks’s recipe in which she stirs in some coconut oil to lower the melting point (here I used a smaller quantity of canola oil, given its even lower melting temperature).

If you have a manual ice cream maker like me, drizzle in a bit of chocolate, then replace the lid and give the base a few churns. Repeat several times until the chocolate is done. I found I didn’t need too much chocolate (though of course you can add more if you prefer) so it goes quite quickly despite the extra steps.

(In the pictures I’m pouring David Lebovitz’s chocolate sauce made with a good pinch of salt.)

cherry mint stracciatella

cherry mint chocolate ice cream

  • Servings: about 2 cups ice cream base
  • Print

Some techniques taken from Stella Park’s cherry ice cream and stracciatella

  • 400g cherries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 250g heavy cream
  • 4g (1/4 cup gently packed) fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 100g whole milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30-60g dark chocolate
  • 3-6g neutral oil

Begin by roasting the cherries. Preheat the oven to 400F. Use a baking casserole or line a small baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the cherries and 1 tbsp of granulated sugar. Bake, stirring every so often, for about 45 minutes or until the cherries are cooked and have started to wrinkle a bit. Do turn down the heat if anything begins to burn. 

Once the cherries have cooled, pop out the pits and reserve. Grind up the roasted cherry flesh using either an immersion blender or a food processor.

Then infuse the cream. Warm the cream until it is steaming. Stir in the reserved cherry pits and mint leaves. Cover and let cool, then transfer to the fridge to infuse overnight. The next day strain the cream to remove the mint and cherry pits.

Prepare the custard. Whisk together the milk, egg yolk and remaining 1 tbsp of sugar in a glass bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until it thickens or reaches about 160F. Transfer to a container, cover and chill completely.

Combine everything together. Stir the roasted cherry puree into the cream, then whisk in the custard. At this point to make it a bit smoother you can use an immersion blender or transfer the base to a blender/food processor. 

Churn the ice cream. Melt the chocolate and stir in the oil. Once the ice cream has become thick, but still soft enough to churn, drizzle in the chocolate. You can either drizzle it in continuously while the ice cream stirs. As my ice cream maker needs the lid on to stabilize the paddles, I drizzled in just a spoonful of the melted chocolate at a time, closed it up, gave it a few turns, then repeated it again until all the chocolate was used. 

spumoni cake (& guest post by the writographer)

spumoni cake
spumoni cake
spumoni cake

I am a lazy person, writing is hard and I love to outsource the labour. So today I bring you a wonderful guest post from The Cousin (who also goes by The Writographer)!

Hi ten.times.tea readers, 

It is I, the Cousin (also known as The Writographer), and I have returned to this blog after a very long day. I just did the calculations, and I have not written a guest post in 1236 days (it will probably be more when you are reading this, but that is how long it has been when I write my original draft. Despite being given an open invitation to write for this blog whenever I feel like it, I have not taken up ten.times.tea’s offer. But now that it is summer, and my schedule is less busy than usual, I have decided to finally write a blog post. It took me a while to decide what to blog about; this blog’s author told me that I could write about anything, but I did not think she would appreciate another nerdy blog post about Star Wars (and to be fair, I have no yet watched episode IV). I did consider writing a blog post about Downton Abbey, specifically talking about the new movie coming up. I concluded that the readers of ten.times.tea come to this blog for baking and photography; not the nerdy cousin’s rants. 

One of the hardest parts about writing this guest post is that I have no idea what the recipe is, so whatever I say will have nothing to do with the baking. I can guess that the baking is probably with very little sugar, whole wheat flour, no chocolate and most likely will include rhubarb and some interesting spice combination. I am excited to see how accurate my prediction is. 

After much deliberation, I concluded that my post should have something to do with ten.times.tea, so either revolving around baking or photography. Since I am not much of a baker (the closest I get to baking cool creations is when I wash the dishes for ten.times.tea), I am sticking with photography topics. So this blog post is going to be about what I think are ideal photography conditions. Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer. These are my opinions that I find lead to good photographs. 

  1. Good weather – While I say good weather, this depends on what you find is “good weather.” I enjoy it when the weather is slightly warm since I go for long walks when I take photos. If it is too warm then it’s annoying to stand in place for a long time to get the right shot. Also, since I normally take cityscapes and various street photography, I enjoy cloudy days since the sky looks more interesting, and then light/shadows are more interesting. 
  2. A fellow photographer/friend – Some people might prefer to take photos on their own, but I enjoy having someone with me. Whether it is someone also taking photos or just someone whose company you enjoy. This way you have someone to talk to and they might be able to point out good photo opportunities you missed.  
  3. Food/drinks – Since I normally go on long photography walks, it’s nice to get sustenance by stopping to get something to eat/drink. Or depending on the weather, it’s fun to get takeout drinks and walk around with them while you take photos. I’ve done both and I am not entirely sure which one is better. It probably depends on the area that you are in. 
  4. Extra batteries/enough memory – I realize that a lot of people now use smartphones to take photos, but I am thinking of actual cameras. I have had the misfortune to have forgotten to pack batteries and to run out of room on my memory card while on a photo walk. So before leaving to take photos, check if you have charged/extra batteries, enough room on the memory card, and take a test photo to make sure your camera is working. 
  5. A route/destination – Sometimes you are just out and suddenly see an opportunity to take a good photo. However, I find some of my best photographs have come from knowing where I want to go. While I always bring my camera (or at least my phone) when I go out, it is nice to have an idea of what you want to photograph. 

Bonus: natural lighting – this is more for ten.times.tea’s benefit since she can only bake when there is natural lighting. Since I usually photograph outside this does not apply to most of my photographs.

Okay, that is all I have for you today. Ten.times.tea, I hope your baking turned out well; I am sure that it did. I am looking forward to seeing what you have created. Goodbye!

spumoni cake
spumoni cake
spumoni cake
spumoni cake
spumoni cake

Thank you again The Cousin! I gave you a pretty difficult request by asking for a guest post without any idea of what recipe I would be posting – what a great idea to talk about photography! (If, reader of this blog post, you were not already aware, she is a brilliant photographer!). Oh and by the way, I am totally for it if you want to write about Star Wars again someday too…

If you want to see more of The Cousin’s hijinks, she has her own tag on tentimestea. You can also check out her blog, The Writographer, which features her photography and writing, or find her on Instagram!

My cousin has me pegged in terms of baking tendencies, but I decided to be unpredictable (ooh so wild!!) – this recipe has no whole wheat flour and quite a bit of chocolate. I was inspired by the flavour combination of spumoni, an Italian frozen dessert typically featuring pistachio, chocolate, and cherry: this is a fragrant pistachio cake, spotted with fresh cherries, marbled with cocoa powder and finished with a dark chocolate ganache. Due to the nuts nuts, the cake itself is very tender and moist. It also chills and eats very well from the fridge (likely as it’s an oil cake instead of butter) which is helpful in making it keep for a few days.

spumoni cake

spumoni cake

Cake adapted from The Milk Street Cookbook‘s pistachio cardamom cake (book edited by Christopher Kimball). Ganache from Ottolenghi Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

cake

  • 85g pistachios
  • 100g almond flour
  • 130g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 120g greek yoghurt
  • 50g olive oil (if you like the taste – otherwise use a neutral vegetable oil)
  • 50g whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 150g cherries, pitted and halved

ganache

  • 53g very dark chocolate (90% cocoa), chopped
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 23g corn syrup
  • 55g water

cake

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a loaf tin and line with a parchment paper sling.

Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Process until the pistachios are finely ground.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, yoghurt, oil, milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter in two, transferring half to a second bowl. Beat the cocoa powder into one half of the batter. Add half the cherries to each half of the batter and mix. Put the chocolate batter into the prepared loaf tin, then top with the remaining half of the batter. Use an offset spatula, butter knife or spoon to dip down to the bottom of the pan and draw back up. Repeat a few times in the loaf tin to create some swirls.

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer is removed with a few moist crumbs clinging, or clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

ganache

To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a very small saucepan, put the sugar and corn syrup. Stir together until mixed. Heat over medium-low until the sugar, then increase the heat to bring the mixture to a bubble. Cook until the sugars caramelize and turn amber (about 7 minutes).

Remove from the heat and add the water carefully – it will splatter a bit. The sugar will seize and harden so return the saucepan to the heat to allow the sugar to redissolve and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat again and let cool one minute before pouring over the chocolate.

Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes to begin to melt, then whisk until smooth. Pour over the cake while still warm.

Let the ganache set slightly, then top with cherries and chopped pistachios as desired.

Due to the moisture content of the cake, I recommend storing in the fridge. I find this cake eats very well cold from the fridge – and I slightly prefer eating it cold too!

spumoni cake

black forest cream puffs

black forest cream puff
black forest cream puff
black forest cream puff

While one crisis makes it into the news every day, a second crisis makes for more sporadic headlines despite its own deadly impact. In my home province of Alberta (aka third wave overachiever for COVID cases per capita), the opioid crisis has also been raging. 2020 has been the worst year for opioid-related deaths with 1144 deaths or 25.7 deaths per 100,000 person years. To put that in context, it nearly matches the tragic death rate from COVID at the time (1389 lives lost over a similar time frame from March 2020 to Jan 2021). Opioid-related deaths are preventable – no one should have to die of this, let alone that many individuals.

Reminiscent of how the Ontario Ford government decided to revoke the two hard-won mandated paid sick days in 2018 right on time for a pandemic, the Kenney government had put forth a similarly ineffective abstinence-only “Alberta Model” to address the opioid crisis predicated upon the false notion that harm reduction is counterproductive to recovery. Under this policy, they’ve attempted to defund life-saving harm reduction initiatives all while increasing funding for private abstinence-only recovery services (some reportedly run by business owners with ties to government officials). And just a couple of days ago, it was announced that they would shutter Calgary’s sole supervised consumption site.

black forest cream puff
black forest cream puff
black forest cream puff

This is not a policy informed by evidence, compassion or care for people’s lives or chance of recovery. The standard of care for opioid use disorder IS opioid agonist therapy. The most common option, buprenorphine, is a partial opioid receptor agonist (activator) which allows it to prevent cravings and withdrawal. As only a partial agonist, it is safe and doesn’t cause overdoses or highs. Canadian clinical practice guidelines firmly recommend avoiding abstinence-only treatment as it is both ineffective and dangerous, putting patients at higher risk of relapse, overdose and death. Harm reduction practices such as safe consumption sites and needle exchange programs help people stay alive – and staying alive gives people a chance to access treatment services and recover when they are ready to do so.

So rather than evidence, the “Alberta Model” is based on rhetoric, prejudice and partisanship. The government-issued report on supervised consumption sites (SCS), which laid the groundwork for recent events, is a stunning example of this: a one-sided narrative questionably linking SCS to crime (see also this journal article with more details on the many flaws) and a perfect tool for Kenney’s political agenda. Notably, the government report completely disregarded the remarkable health impacts of SCS on overdose prevention and saving lives in lieu of tales of “social disorder”; SCS in Alberta have had a 100% success rate in preventing overdose death.

That brings us to the announced closure of Calgary’s SCS, Safeworks. While it will be replaced with sites at other (still undisclosed) locations, the current site had been chosen after careful study for its central location, and concentration of overdose deaths, drug use equipment and emergency calls (prior to the SCS) in the area. After years in operation, Safeworks had built relationships and trust with users of the site. To lose this site based on a biased report and flawed assessment methods is another tragedy. Following the pattern in other cities across Alberta, it sounds like the UCP wants SCS out of sight and out of mind, without considering more nuanced solutions that incorporate the needs of all members of the community and most importantly, focus on saving lives.

To keep up to date on the story from advocates and community perspectives, I recommend following @street.cats.yyc and @thetable.yyc. Consider contributing to Street Cats YYC Mutual Aid Fund or donate to the organizations leading a legal challenge of the provincial government’s attempt to dismantle SCSs.

black forest cream puff

Here’s another black forest adaptation: cream puff edition. Choux with cocoa craquelin, cherry kirsch compote, chocolate pastry cream, a massive swirl of whipped cream and cherries. It’s simple, straightforwards, and hits on all the same flavours as black forest cake!

black forest cream puff

black forest cream puffs

  • Servings: 10 larger puffs
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Craquelin adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. Choux adapted from Alain Ducasse. Chocolate pastry cream adapted from The Flavour Bender

craquelin

  • 33g brown sugar
  • 9g cocoa powder
  • 21g flour
  • 22g soft butter

choux pastry

  • 43g butter
  • 90g milk
  • pinch kosher salt
  • sprinkle of granulated sugar
  • 45g whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ eggs (may not use all – this time around I only needed 60g-ish, but it will always depend!)

chocolate pastry cream 

  • 6g cornstarch
  • 3g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 180g whole milk
  • 30g chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 generous tbsp of kirsch 

cherry kirsch compote

  • 100g cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tbsp kirsch 

assembly

  • 150g heavy cream whipped with 1 tsp sugar
  • 10 cherries

craquelin

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a cohesive dough. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment and roll out to a thickness of 1-2mm. Slide onto a pan and freeze until firm.

choux pastry,

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper – on the backside, trace twelve 4.5cm circles.

Place the butter, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour and quickly mix in with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat and continue to cook the mixture until it forms a ball. Remove the pastry from the heat and let cool a bit before adding the egg.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add a bit at a time to the pastry. Assess the consistency of the dough after each addition of egg and stop once you’ve achieved the right consistency. I find it easiest to begin beating in the eggs with a wire whisk and then transition back to stirring with a wooden spoon once the batter loosens. The dough should be shiny, but not fluid (if its something a bit new to you, look up a video or a more detailed tutorial for the right consistency – such as looking for the “triangle” of dough!). Importantly, you don’t need to use all the egg – or you may need a bit more or less! 

Transfer the pastry to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the pastry onto the 4.5cm circles. Take the craquelin out of the freezer and cut 5cm circles from the dough. Top each puff with a round of the craquelin.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then decrease temperature to 375F and bake about 30 minutes more or until well browned. You can rotate the puffs after they’ve been in the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, once there are no worries of them deflating. As soon as you can handle the puffs, cut a small slit on the bottom of each puff to let the steam release and let cool on on a wire rack.

chocolate pastry cream

In a bowl whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, egg yolk, sugar and salt. If it’s very thick add a spoonful of the milk as needed.

Place the chopped chocolate in a separate bowl and set aside. 

Place the milk in a saucepan and heat until it just comes to a simmer. Slowly pour into the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly to temper the egg yolks. Transfer back to the saucepan and return to the heat being sure to whisk constantly. Cook the pastry cream until it begins to bubble and pop and continue to cook it at a bubble for 1 minute. 

Pour the pastry cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts in. Lastly, whisk in the kirsch. Cover and chill completely. 

cherry kirsch compote

Place the chopped cherries and kirsch together in a small saucepan. Cook together until the cherries are soft and the juices have thickened. You can add sugar as needed if the cherries are not very sweet. Chill completely.

assembly

Cut a lid from the top of each puff. Spoon a bit of cherry compote into each puff and press into the bottom.

Transfer the chocolate pastry cream to a piping bag – I like to use one of those long narrow filling tips to help get into all the corners – and fill up to the top with pastry cream. 

Whip the cream and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large French tip. This is just enough cream to pipe a couple of swirls on top of each puff.  

Lastly, nestle a cherry ontop of each swirl of cream. Best eaten day of assembly.

black forest tarts

You can also use the components to fill tart shells as shown below!

black forest cream puffs
black forest cream puffs

cherry, sage & st. germaine ice cream

cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream
cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream
cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream

This flavour combination was a bit arbitrarily constructed, but once it was put together it seemed to actually make rather lovely sense.

A combination of custard and pureed cherries makes up the ice cream base. The woodiness of the sage gives it the nostalgic mustiness of withered plants, still lingering in discarded pots in late fall sun. Sweet and floral elderflower liqueur St. Germaine is like throwing lace doilies haphazardly on top – and curiously enough it all goes together so swimmingly such that it looks a bit more like an art installation in questionable taste than a trash can.

Continue reading “cherry, sage & st. germaine ice cream”

black forest baba

black forest baba
black forest baba
black forest baba

This is a mashup of my two favourite retro desserts: baba au rhum and black forest cake – the result is, in essence, a very, very boozy black forest cake. The baba is flavoured with chocolate, soaked in a syrup of kirsch, rum and Chambord, and then served with plenty of whipped cream and a cherry kirsch compote.

Baba au rhum is classically a rich, yeasted cake soaked in a rum syrup. Recently I’ve been making babas based on the recipe in the Duchess Bake Shop book by Giselle Courteau. She dries out the babas for a couple days until they’re thoroughly desiccated and ready to absorb a startling amount of syrup. It’s a method that ensures the flavours of the syrup penetrate throughout the entire cake!

Continue reading “black forest baba”

coffee amaretto semifreddo with stewed cherries

coffee amaretto semifreddo
coffee amaretto semifreddo
coffee amaretto semifreddo

The texture of semifreddo gets me every time. I always go into it expecting ice cream, but semifreddo assertively reminds me that it is something of its own. It has a gorgeously creamy-crystalline texture (think creamy taiwanese-style shaved ice, but smoother and airier), and, just for a breath, melts into a cloud-like foam on the tongue, before dissolving away.

This semifreddo, a coffee and amaretto version for the holidays, had me marvelling at the texture of semifreddo anew. The alcohol keeps it at a state of softness that makes it easy to slice and gently cut with the side of a fork right out of the freezer.

Continue reading “coffee amaretto semifreddo with stewed cherries”