It started with 5 eggs.
I needed 5 egg whites for the vanilla birthday cake I baked for my dad’s birthday. It seemed such a shame to waste the yolks, so I held on to them, knowing many-an-ice cream recipes began with a handful of egg yolks. So what if it was 12 degrees outside? So, the yolks sat, covered, in my refrigerator for a few days until I could find a simple vanilla ice cream recipe calling for exactly 5 egg yolks, which I did. Little by little I have also been trying to use up the remnants of my holiday baking ingredients – chocolate, nuts and such – so I looked around a bit to find something to jazz up the vanilla. My jar of maraschino cherries kept calling my name, so in they went ultimately creating cherry vanilla ice cream. Pink, sweet, flecked with bits of red…I sensed a Valentine’s Day blog coming on.
To be honest, what drove me to add the Chocolate Madeleines was the fact that I didn’t think the ice cream would photograph very well on its own. A photographer, I am not. It’s a shamefully novice hobby of mine at the moment – one that I’d like to get better at, and, besides, doesn’t chocolate make everything better anyway? Even photos? (Here’s hoping) .
A quick internet search brought me to a great chocolate madeleine recipe, one in which I had all the ingredients in my pantry already (a whopping 6 ingredients is all you need!). You do need a specific madeleine pan to make these French cookies, which is a fantastic investment. After you have one madeleine, you’ll only want more so I predict you’ll get as much use out of it as I do. You also need a stick and a half of butter. That’s a lot, I know, but the recipe does make about 3 dozen cookies and it is Valentine’s Day after all. And, well, these little shell-shaped confections are to d-i-e for. Click here for the recipe I used for Chocolate Madeleines.
Finally, it being Valentine’s Day, I needed the perfect wine to tie all of this sweetness together. What else but Rose Spumante would do? Served in my vintage champagne coupes, of course. This wine is perfect in so many ways. It’s bright and festive, it is just a little sweet and it pairs well with quite a lot of foods, from cheesy appetizers to chocolate desserts.
This little trio of delights would be great for any kind of Valentine’s Day celebration – one celebrated with your sweetheart, your friends or your children (minus the booze!).
My wishes to you for a sweet holiday!
Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from Joy of Baking
- 2 cups half and half
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maraschino cherries, chopped
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the half and half to the scalding point (when the liquid begins to foam up. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl until they are light and fluffy. Gradually pour the scalded half and half into the egg yolk mixture, making sure you whisk constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon (170 degrees F). Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir the custard for a few minutes so it does not overcook. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until it is completely cold (at least four hours or up to overnight).
Transfer the custard to the chilled container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the chopped cherries. Once done, transfer ice cream to a container and freeze. Makes about 3 cups.
–What’s your favorite sweet on Valentine’s Day?