"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Grilled Tropical Fruit with Rum Sauce and Prune Armagnac Ice Cream

Can we just talk about making caramel? Making caramel is a PAIN IN THE ASS.

Or at least, it depends on the recipe. The one where you stir dry sugar in a pan with a fork until it melts is the time-consuming way that requires you to have some reading material while you stand next to a pot, bored out of your skull, stirring the damn sugar. Good thing I just got a new copy of The Week.

There are other ways to make caramel, and I like those ways better. And no, I don't mean buying caramel sauce at the store either.

OK, now that I've got that out of the way, if you can stand to make the caramel, the Grilled Tropical Fruit with Rum Sauce is divine. I've never grilled fruit (another first for me, and if you try this at home with the aforementioned lobster recipe, don't forget to clean the grill really well or you'll have lobster flavored fruit.) Grilled pineapple--where have you been all my life? This recipe was supposed to be served with vanilla ice cream, but I forgot to buy that and all we had was the Prune Armagnac Ice Cream I made earlier in the day (you would think on my days off I would just eat Cheerios). Oh lord. This was one of those meals where you know you really should stop eating because your stomach hurts, but you just can't because it tastes so good.

And I have to confess, it was really Prune Brandy Ice Cream--my friend Ruth and I had a discussion about this during a walk--if one really needs Amagnac. She had just read an article in the NY Times about cooking wine and the conclusion was that it didn't matter if you used the good stuff...

So I had a long morning of indecision. I have a bottle of brandy, but should I buy Armagnac for veracity? And if I did, where would I put it and when would I drink the rest of it? I'm not a night-cap type of person. This is the sort of thing that paralyzes me.

You'll be happy to know that in spite of all the time spent thinking and talking about it, the recipe itself took less than 20 minutes to make, and I know this because I had to leave to pick Ruth up for the movies at 1 and I walked through the door with groceries at 12:42. OK, I did put the prunes in to soak in brandy the day before, but the rest of it--scalding the cream, grinding the prunes in the food processor, mixing the cream with the eggs and then bringing back up to temp...I had it in the fridge to cool by 1:01.

OK, so back to the ice cream with the grilled fruit...in my opinion the ice cream was overshadowed by the other, much bolder flavors of the tropical fruit and the rum sauce. It needs to be the star of the show, or perhaps just the only performer. The flavor is sweet, the brandy is subtle, and it's not unlike rum raisin ice cream.

(There you go, Clarissa--another worthy use for prunes.)

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

hmmm. well, now, I have to admit this: I am not much of an alcohol person. Let me clarify, b/c I don't want to mislead, I like - no, love - a glass or two of wine, or a cold beer, as much as the next girl. No, I don't mean THAT kind of alcohol... Maybe I mean liquer? is that even how you spell it? I am not a liqueur in desserts person - okay, spelling wise, that looks better. No rum cakes, no liqueur soaked delicacies, etc etc. I am not sure what is wrong with me, maybe I am just not that sophisticated. But, lacing desserts with fancy alcoholic treats just does not work for me.

This does pose a problem, as there are plenty of cakes out there, with alcohol as a main ingredient, just waiting to be baked. And, I am even trying to get myself excited about taking this on, as one of the many cake baking challenges that there are. But, so far, I'm still just thinking about it.

As for prunes and Armagnac, this is a combination that Dorie Greenspan likes too, and it comes up in her Baking book, the one I keep baking from.

Now, prunes and chocolate, that is a combination I am more curious about....