This is a two part post; first will be this week's recipe, followed by a summary of my first year in the Tuesdays With Dorie group.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla ice cream is a bit like a blank slate; there are thousands of ways to flavor, ornament, and otherwise jazz it up. At the same time vanilla ice cream, plain vanilla ice cream, is a delight in its own right. Made with quality ingredients, nothing rivals the simple pleasure of a dish of vanilla, especially if you are my husband!
- I made 3/4 recipe.
- I used 1/2 van bean + 1/2 tsp van bean paste for the vanilla flavor.
- Some of my eggs were on the small side, so I probably has less yolk volume than the recipe.
- The custard thickened and reached the correct temperature (measured by my digital thermometer) almost as soon as I added the hot milk/cream to the yolks/sugar.
I served this ice cream to my book group, along with 4 different brownies in a brownie taste test (haven't posted the results of that test yet). With all of the tasting and voting on brownies, it was hard to get specific reactions to the ice cream. We thought is was a very good vanilla ice cream, smooth and creamy. It's not as easy to make as our usual Philadelphia-style (no custard involved) vanilla ice cream.
My husband and I actually like the taste of the Philadlephia-style more, but this got plenty of thumbs up from the book group. We gave the leftover ice cream to our hosts, and the last thing I heard, our friend JT was hoarding/enjoying the last spoonfuls!
One Year With Dorie
July 29, 2008 was my first official post as a Tuesdays With Dorie member. That week's recipe was summer fruit galettes, and I made mini Raspberry Peach Galette-ettes, and froze some of them unbaked for later cooking. My freezer: already hard at work in Week One of TWD! There has not been a moment in the past year without at least one of Dorie's sweets tucked away in my freezer.
Before TWD my baking skills were quite basic. I could whip up muffins or a quick bread, cookies at Christmas, and the occasional cake for special events. Over the years I'd accumulated some trusty stand-by recipes, and I enjoyed making and sharing baked goods with family and friends.
In a year's time, I've chopped, poached, beat, whipped, whisked, tempered, melted, froze, folded, rolled, strained, ground, grated, zested, squeezed, rapped, mashed, pureed, punched, risen, washed, weighed, measured, substituted, adjusted, modified, calculated, guessed, stirred, manicured, cored, simmered, broiled, boiled, jelled, buttered, baked, timed, tested, cooled, frosted, glazed, dipped, piped, plated, garnished, photographed and TASTED!
Baking from Dorie's book is nearly like cooking with Dorie herself. The directions are clear and precise, and filled with tips like how the batter should look or at what stage something is done. I can almost feel Dorie standing next to me in the kitchen, dispensing advice, encouragement or a pat on the back. I still hold my breath every time I have to whip cream or egg whites; making caramel remains a frightening prospect, but, like tempering eggs (which I've done a lot for ice cream), I'm sure that if I practice enough it will surely get easier. Surely. I hope.
I've loved the TWD group; the weekly structure of baking and writing a blog post has both steadied and inspired me. Even though I've traveled a good bit, I've managed to bake ahead, and have never missed a posting in my first year. I'm fascinated by the preferences of of different bakers and tasters and amazed at the variety of recipes that have been chosen.
My Top Ten Dorie Recipes
My TWD favorites from July 2008 to July 2009:
1. Dimply Plum Cake,
2. Chocolate Cream Tart
3. World Peace Cookies
4. French Pear Tart
5. Tall Creamy Cheesecake
6. Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake
7. 16 Minute Magic Cake
8. French Riviera (yogurt) Cake
9. Coconut Butter Thins
10. Devil's Food White Out Cake (aka "The Cover Cake")
The Year in Review
Biggest technical challenges:
frosting for Cover Cake
ganache for Dacquoise
custard for Floating Islands
Recipes I did not find tasty:
Thanksgiving Twofer Pie
Recipe that was so rich I couldn't get past it:
Recipe that was very rich but I managed to love:
Most repeated recipe:
Most unusual recipe:
Most dramatic (looking) recipe:
Hidden Berry Torte (but that was my fault for trying to make it gluten free without really knowing what I was doing)
Most life-changing recipe:
Kugelhopf (it was my first yeast experience ever and inspired me to learn to bake bread)
It's been a great year, and I look forward to the next 52 Dorie recipes!