{No Bake/Frozen} PEACH-GINGER & PLUM-VANILLA GRANITA … bidding adieu to stone fruit

Worldly things were of little meaning. She lived for hamburgers, ice cream, pencil and paper. 
Carol Adams
I’m really really gutted and you might wonder why. I feel as if I lost the first prize and walked away with the consolation prize. At the heart of my misery is my rather late discovery of the granita. Have actually contemplated making it quite often, but never with such a sense of urgency until I saw this post on House of Annie. I was generally googling for something fun and refreshing to do with the last plums and peaches of the season, and this particular post had me gaping! Annie had made peach and plum granita and I just knew what my next sweet stone thing was going to be!
Annie made both granitas but her recommendation on the peach flavours were far more exciting – Peach & Ginger? Yes please! I had the sugar syrup and ginger simmering in no time. Her feedback on the plum granita wasn’t too good, and sent me looking for another. I settled for a Bon Apetit recipe I found on Epicurious. The vanilla bean had my attention, and I am really glad I tried this one.
Both the flavours turned out over the top fantastic which is why I was so cheesed off. Oh to have discovered something so good at the very end of the season! I know how my next stone season  looks  …  a fridge full of granitas for sure! And before I forget, I read somewhere that you scrape the granita with the fork every 30 minutes to keep the ice crystals small! They taste so good once they reach freezing point, that it’s difficult to keep away from stealing a bite. The son ran out of ‘scraping with the fork’ patience, “It’s OK Mama, we can eat it like this!”, while Mr PAB grabbed the fork and said “WTH is this? It’s fab“!

For me, the hard work was the pushing the pulp through the sieve. It took forever, or like forever. Also, my granitas took a whole day before reaching freezing point. Maybe I need a new fridge, maybe… I adjusted the sugar in the plum granita because the plums were quite sour. I also added 2 drops of red food colour as the plums weren’t the dark red ones. You can skip that, but I let them be to give me colour contrast with the peach. Oh yes, one more thing … once out of the freezer, granita melts really fast!

I’ve learnt since that running the plums through a blender is MUCH better than using a processor. Managed to achieve the other thing I had bookmarked and that was this delicious to the last drop plum lemonade, posted here. My last lot of plums were squishily sitting in the fridge till day before, and  now I have them blended. One more thing  on my list to do using plums before we are done with the season, a plum fro yo. Mmmm …

Plum Vanilla Granita

Adapted minimally from Epicurious {Bon Appétit}
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 pounds plums, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Method:
Combine water, sugar and cinnamon in heavy small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Cool syrup completely.
Puree the plums in processor. Press enough puree through sieve to measure 1 1/2 cups. Strain syrup into puree and blend well. Transfer mixture to a shallow 9 X 5 loaf tin. Freeze plum mixture until flaky crystals form, stirring every 30 minutes, about 4 hours. After it hardens, use a fork to scrape it up into coarse granules. {Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; keep frozen}

Peach Granita

1″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
7-8 large peaches, stoned
Method:
Slice the ginger into slivers and boil them along with the cup of sugar and cup of water
Cut up the peaches and blend along with the slivers of ginger from the syrup. Then strain the puree through a sieve. To the puree add the juice of one lime, and then the ginger sugar syrup. Pour into a shallow dish and place in freezer. After it hardens, use a fork to scrape it up into coarse granules.
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{Daring Bakers} CHOCOLATE & VANILLA SWISS SWIRL ICE CREAM CAKE

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
Seneca
The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
This was a challenge I wasn’t going to do because it had way too many steps for me as my kitchen was going to be under ‘attack’ beginning the month of July. Then again, fate had some other plans for me, and procrastination was out. The night before, i.e. on the 30th of June, I put some peach ice cream in to set because I had bought a load of juicy peaches. When I read the challenge the next morning, I was torn between doing it because I had ice cream ready, and not doing it because there was so much more to the challenge.
Tossing coins – should I, shouldn’t I? Then the daring baker in me won and I got tempted into trying the Swiss rolls even though I knew I was pushing my luck. I thought I would serve a decontructed dessert and took a stab at attempting the challenge. One thing that initially deterred me was the amount of cream in the recipes, but I knew I would find a lighter way out, and I did, pairing low fat cream with stone fruit. I have used cherries, peaches and plums in just about every dessert I could, including the chocolate pavs in the last months challenge. I’m lovin’ it!
I absolutely adore doing Swiss rolls. I find them ever so easy to make … Mango Ice-Cream Swiss Roll, Strawberry Chocolate Swiss Roll, Star Anise Swiss Roll, Red Velvet Swiss Cake are just a few… you can tell I love them! They bake in the express lane, and are the most charming things when you slice them up! I followed Sunita’s recipe and it was great. Once filled with a low fat cream and stone fruit filling, cutting back on many calories, I loved the rustic look they had. BLISS … I love being a Daring Baker! Being one just makes me want to push my limits, inspiring me to achieve beyond the odds. The pairing of the vanilla and chocolate rolls with the low fat and stone fruit filling was outstanding!
The peach ice cream was a big batch! I knew it would be good enough for the whole filling, with still some left over. Insanely enough, I hypnotized myself into making a small batch of chocolate ice cream too just because I needed egg whites to try making macarons! The recipe is one I made on the go, based on the method for a custard or pastry cream, and that seemingly was the most luxurious part of the dessert. The kids love the deep, dark chocolate flavours it offered, right in the heart of the cake!
The whole process was a challenge given that we were in the peak pf summer in North India at 40C + temperatures, but it all came together well and was a joy to make. It was tad bit involved though, and we enjoyed each part more individually as compared to altogether! A lot of flavour and a lot of colour … and a lot of work! Yet, the experience was wonderful and gave me many ideas for similar desserts, maybe not frozen!
Do stop by here and check out the BOMBES that the other Daring Bakers have rolled out!

Thank you Sunita for this exciting challenge. It was very engaging and a bombe to make! I was over the moon when I demolded the cake and it came out so easily! Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

Chocolate & Vanilla Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake with Stone Fruit
Recipe source- Inspired by the Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website
Peach Low Fat Ice Cream
{My recipe. This makes double the amount you need for the ice-cream cake}
1 kg peaches, peeled, stoned and pureed
1/2 – 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup hung yogurt
400ml low fat cream
1 tbsp vodka {optional}
1 tsp almond extract

Method:

Whisk all the ingredients together with an immersion blender or in a food processor until well mixed. {Check and adjust the sweetness}
Freeze the mixture in a wide dish or plastic container. {The larger the surface area, quicker the freezing – since we have to pulse this mixture a couple of times}…or follow the instructions of your ice cream maker.
Keep checking on the mixture every 30 minutes or so and use the stick blender to break the icicles, 4, maybe 5 times. (I used a sturdy whisk).
Chocolate Ice Cream
{My recipe}
100ml low fat cream
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean scraped
4 tbsp cocoa powder
50gms dark chocolate, broken
Put the cream, 1/2 cup milk, sugar, cocoa and scraped vanilla bean on simmer. Heat till small bubbles begin to rise on the sides.
Pour this over the yolks in a bowl, off the heat, whisking continuously.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the pan, whisk in the remaining milk, and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of the spoon. Take off heat, strain into a heatproof bowl, add the dark chocolate and mix till it melts.

Cool over an ice bath, and then freeze

Swiss Roll 1
Ingredients
3 medium sized eggs
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
3 tbsp plain flour + 2.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
1 tbsp of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
Swiss Roll 2
3 medium sized eggs
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
Method

Preheat the oven at 200C. Brush the baking pans {11 inches by 9 inches} with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water. Spread the batter out evenly into the prepared pan, guiding it gently into the corners of the pans.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
Meanwhile, spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
Repeat the same method for the 2nd Swiss roll.

Filling
200ml low fat cream, chilled
3-4tbsps granulated sugar powdered with 1/2 a vanilla bean
5 medium peaches, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 cup sweet cherries, pitted and chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 lime
Method:

Whisk the chilled cream and vanilla sugar with a balloon whisk. Fold in the chopped fruit quickly and gently, so the cream doesn’t lose volume.
Divide it into 2, and use as filling between the completely cooled cakes
Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges {a border of ½ an inch should be fine}.
Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down. {I froze them for easy slicing as it was extremely hot here, about 42C}

Assembly
Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices, approximately 2 cms each.
Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm {at least 30 minutes}.
Soften 1/3 of the peach ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm {at least 1 hour}.
Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the peach ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze till firm, at least an hour.
Soften another 1/3 of the peach ice cream and cover the chocolate ice cream, making this the last layer. {Some peach ice cream will be left over}. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze till firm, for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.

To Serve

Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

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STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE EGGLESS ICE-CREAM & A CSN STORES GIVEAWAY!

I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted — stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container. 
 Bill Bryson

I was delighted to hear from Sean for CSN Stores the other day asking if I’d like to do a home decor or kitchen accessories giveaway for readers of Passionate About Baking from the US and Canada. YES PLEASE!! I could choose something from counter stools or cookware from any of the CSN  Stores. Of course I had to choose something form the ‘cookware‘! This giveaway offers me an opportunity to thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to leave a comment and say wonderful things.

Have you had a look at the CSN Stores? CSN Stores LLC is a fast-growing, privately-held company offering customers the best online shopping available for home and office goods. A $200 million company, CSN is made up of more than 200 online niche shops offering a huge selection of products ranging from barstools and bedroom sets to grills, greenhouses and gaming equipment. They include All Barstools.com, Toys and Games Online.com, and Cookware.com.

 

With summer here, I thought either the Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker or Delonghi Retro Panini Grill would be a fun giveaway. I loved both of them, so thought I’d offer you a choice. Suggestion: With the grill, you can start with a several array of delicious panini sandwich recipes .

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment on this post before Sunday, April 24th, midnight your time, and let me know which of the two items from CSN Stores you’d like to win.  Tweet about this giveaway for an extra entry leaving a comment for each entry.

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker – ICE-30BC

What’s better than a quart of luscious homemade ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt? Two quarts! The fully automatic Cuisinart Pure Indulgence makes 2 quarts of your favorite frozen desserts or drinks in as little as 25 minutes. It’s easy, an integrated motor, double-insulated freezer bowl and automatic mixing paddle do all the work. Results are consistently smooth, cleanup is easy, and the brushed metal styling is simply sensational. 
or 
Delonghi Retro Panini Grill – CGH800
Make great tasting, restaurant-style grilled sandwiches in the comfort of your own home! This product features a double-sided non-stick grill that cooks from the top and bottom for fast, even grilling. Adjustable thermostat for grilling and toasting allows for easy operation and the temperature range window lets you easily view the precise temperature for perfect customized grilling and toasting every time!
The giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Be sure your email address is included in your comment.
My stash of strawberries lasted long. Some eaten straight out of the bowl, and loads frozen to be preserved. Others reduced to delicious Roasted Vanilla and Balsamic Strawberries, some headed into jars of Strawberry Vanilla Bean Conserve, and also in a Strawberry Cake with Quark and Mascarpone. Did I forget to mention the Strawberry Vanilla Bean Scented Frangipane Galette and these Double Chocolate Strawberry Energy Bars? Add to that a No Bake Strawberry Quark Cheesecake which I still have to post, and I could happily live off this passionate fruit for ever.

Like all good things come to an end, so has the strawberry season in our neck of the woods. It’s been better than any season before, and we’ve been spoilt silly by these luscious berries. Now it’s time to dig into the reserves and use the frozen ones! With the mercury almost hitting 45C very early in the season, this luscious eggless strawberry ice-cream was absolutely sensational.

Quick Strawberry Ice-Cream was music to my ears when I first saw the recipe in INDULGE – 100 Perfect Desserts by Claire Clark This gorgeous book that I received to review from Blogger Aid is one of the most special ones on my bookshelf, and if offers a variety of desserts from very involved to very simple. Each recipe has trivia attached to it, and Claire Clark extensively uses fruit in her desserts… that is something I love. If I were to own just one book on desserts, this would be my choice!

About the recipe, the author writes, ” One day when I was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, my friend and fellow pastry lecturer, Matthew Hardy, was in the basement , busily prepping for our ice-cream demonstration the next day. I was shocked to see him making strawberry ice-cream without any eggs, and was convinced it wouldn’t be as luxurious as my recipe. I was, however, pleasantly surprised, as it was every bit as rich and creamy as mine.Whenever I make a fruit ice-cream, now, whatever the flavour, I use this recipe.”

I adapted the recipe a little as I had just made fresh mascarpone for something and looking through Indulge had a a change of heart. I just HAD to make ice cream. but had used my last batch of cream to make mascarpone. The recipe is QUICK as it says. I used vanilla sugar, and the only extra ingredient was a tbsp of vodka. By all means go the double cream way as that might be easier for most of you. It’s a delightfully creamy ice cream and just right for summer. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, this giveaway just might win you one!

QUICK STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE ICE CREAM (Eggless)

Adapted from Indulge by Claire Clark, pg 193
Ingredients:
600gms frozen strawberries,  (or if using fresh, washed and hulled)
300gms vanilla sugar (or Castor sugar)
500 ml freshly thickened mascarpone ( or double cream)
1 tbsp vodka (optional)
Puree the strawberries in a blender and then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. ( I leave the seeds in because I love the added texture they offer)
Mix half the sugar with the thickened cream, and bring to a simmering boil. (If you are using double cream, mix half the sugar with the cream, and bring to a boil)
Pour this mixture over the fruit puree and mix well, then stir in the rest of the sugar,
Leave to cool completely. Set in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, then place in a freezer safe container in the freezer. Stir 6-8 times, every hour, to break and distribute the crystals, and then leave to set overnight.
Soften slightly before serving.

Note: I added a tbsp of vodka. This doesn’t change the taste, but helps keep the ice cream from getting rock hard.

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