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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cranberry Black Pepper Swirl Dessert

When you're serving Turducken, it doesn't seem appropriate to follow it up with pumpkin pie. No, this day needed something special. Something familiar, something classic and yet something with a twist.

My mind it often does... pumpkin ice cream was too obvious; think, what else says Thanksgiving... cranberries! Is that boring? Yes- but not if mixed in ice cream...oh, and with black pepper! That's it!

I imagined being so full from the 4-meat turkey (because I always over eat, this is just a fact and now is going to be no different!) that I wouldn't want much of it, just a little scoop...

Again- a bit boring. But perhaps it will dress up a bit with some pecans and I'll incorporate some chocolate in some way.

Somehow, I've managed to take an already complicated Thanksgiving meal and add yet another complicated preparation to it. Really, this isn't hard, it's just that there are a few steps to the process. Make the ice cream and pecans a day or two ahead and prepare the cranberries and chocolate the day before. Then you only have to assemble when ready to serve.

You will be the hit; you're dessert will wow everyone.... it will truly be the worth the trouble! After all, what was your first thought when you looked at the photo?

Black Pepper Cranberry Swirl Ice Cream

Heat on the stove until just before boiling:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

In the meantime, whisk until thick and creamy:
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Return all custard to the stove top and cook over medium heat (stir often and don't boil) until it's thick. You can tell when you drag your finger across the back of the wooden spoon, a clear line is drawn.
(I would like to note here that I think it could stand more pepper- really, go for 4 tsp if you're brave!)

Cool, overnight in the fridge if possible, and then use your ice cream maker as instructed. Fold in the cranberry when complete and freeze.

Cranberry Swirl

4 cups of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of corn syrup
zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks

Simmer until thick (roughly 1/2 hour) and all the flavors have melded. Strain pushing all the berries with the back of the spoon. This will be your cranberry swirl as well as the simple plate decoration.

**If this gets too thick prior to using it (and it will if when you hold it in the fridge) simple warm it with some of the reserved sugar water from the sugared cranberries.

Sugared Pecans

2 cups pecans
Sautee in 1 tbls butter until toasted

Roll in a plate of sugar, and set aside to dry. Store in an air tight container

Sugared Cranberries

heat until dissolved. don't boil:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries

Cool and put in fridge to steep overnight. Drain (keep liquid), roll in superfine sugar, dry and store in an air tight container.
For superfine sugar- simply take regular sugar for a whirl in the food processor!

Marbled Chocolate sheets

Melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate
Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate (Add a tsp of oil if this starts to dry, not cream!)

Pour the dark chocolate onto parchment paper, pour the white chocolate and then smooth them as fine as you can using an offset spatula. You will need to work quickly. Let set, break into roughly 4 inch lengths.

Use a small ice cream scoop, layer two scoops on top of each other with a chocolate sheet between them. Sprinkle the plate with sugared pecans and cranberries. Warm the Cranberry swirl and add a simple plate design using a spoon or squeeze bottle. Voila!


  1. I think your ideas about food are extremely cleaver. Beer ice cream who would have thought. keep up the good work.

  2. The picture of the buttermilk mac and cheese makes my mouth water. Will definitly be trying that one

  3. OMG I want that desert

  4. I found the toasting of chick peas to be harder than you made it sound. The time is very touchy.



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