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Monday, May 9, 2016

Indian Mango Ice-cream- You Are My Summer

GulabKhaas Indian Mango Ice-cream with Pistachio praline dust n leaf-the true essence of summer n why home-made ice-cream makes all the difference

I set the battery in the camera, I set the two plates ready, the pistachio praline dust is ready and the praline leaf has come out of the oven 5 minutes ago and they came off the baking sheet in one shape, much relief, now all I need is the ice cream on the plate. So I run down to the ground floor to get the tray of ice cream and I start scooping as soon as I reach the veranda, the rays of the evening sun are on the plate, one by one I put 3 scoops on the plate and by the time the 3rd scoop is getting ready the first two starts to melt, at this time I start to panic, I should have frozen the plates, the sun is at 42 Celsius  and I have to take good pictures before my ice creams melts down, with a stiff heart I place the fresh mango puree on the plate around the ice cream, place the pistachio praline leaf on the ice cream and I start to shoot, gosh it’s not easy at all, every second the ice cream melts a little more and loses its height, I’m worried now, if I can’t find good frames in this frame of mind today is gone, I have to shoot next day because the ice cream wont set again in 5 minutes and the evening sun isn’t going to stay…tough. 

That’s what I go through almost in every shoot, though some are more dramatic like this one, but then at the end of shoot when I spoil myself with the half melted ice-cream, all the hard work seems fine, I can just eat it like that but the photographs are for you really, who come to this blog to find some beautiful delicious food.

I love ice-cream in every season n I think it’s only in the summer when you can enjoy it like in no other season. I dream of a warm beach, I’m sitting on a rock looking down at the sea with the wind on my face with ice –cream on my lips, I imagine of walking inside a dark green forest with an ice-cream in hand with the sense that something is following me, I imagine of walking in the woods in golden sunlight with heaps of dry leaves under my every footstep with ice-cream drops running down my hands, I imagine of sitting by the bone sculpture of a dead camel in the Kalahari desert with chocolate ice-cream in my hands.

Right now in India the summer is tremendous and not much rain till now, we are waiting for the rains, our genes are praying for the rain n at home I’m making ice-cream with mangoes n I realize these are the best mango ice-cream I have ever eaten, the freshness n the flavor of the mango is in every scoop, every time I’m making it with different varieties of mango the flavor changes, the store bought one are the same all the time and most of the time the flavor is artificial. So why would you not make a little effort to create something so good?

In my ice-cream I use fresh mangoes, single cream, full-fat milk and sugar syrup and corn flour n a touch of salt-that’s all. The first mangoes to appear in the market every summer in Kolkata are ‘Golaap khaas’/’Gulab Khas’/’Gulaab Khaas’, they are in a prominent shade of green with a stroke of red on one side esp. on the lower half on the mango, the flesh is smooth and not fibrous and  it is not completely sweet when ripe, it still has a touch of acidity or tartness, that’s what makes them so desirable in a hot summer afternoon, the perfect balance of sweet with a touch of tartness.

When I put the ice-cream in the freezer to set I give it about 4-5hours as it begins to go solid, since I don’t use an ice-cream maker I take it out, put the solid parts in a blender and blend it until it becomes a smooth mixture that can be scooped with spoon, then it get in the freezer to set again for 3 hours, I repeat this blending process for 3 times with the gap of 3-4 hours, the result is an ice-cream that is smooth in texture with less icy crystals in the bite, if you freeze the ice-cream right away overnight and eat it next day it will give much less smooth mouth feel n more icy crunch feel than if you churn it every 3 hours.

Every time you are blending the ice-cream to smooth, you are redistributing the ice-crystals already formed inside preventing them to grow bigger in one shape, with 3-4 churning the final ice-cream becomes more scoop able with smooth mouth feel and with much less icy crunch. So now here is the recipe.

For The Recipe:  You will need

For the ice-cream:
Mango-2 Gulab Khaas, medium size around 300-350 gm
Single cream- 200 ml
Full-fat milk-100ml
Sugar-8-9 tbsp heaped
Cornflour-3 tbsp
Water-11 tbsp
Salt- a pinch

For the Pistachio Praline:
Pistachio-14-17, slightly roasted for 4 minutes
Sugar-3 tbsp

1.  Place the sugar with the water in a saucepan on medium flame, as the sugar dissolves completely put the flame high and let it come to a boil, simmer for 4 minutes and you will see the color gets a little touch of yellow, the flavor of the sugar will change a bit, that’s what we want, after 4 minutes take it off in a container and let it cool.

2. Peel the mango and scoop the flesh out with spoon and then place them in a blender and blend till completely smooth, add a dash of water if needed.

3. In a deep saucepan or wok place the cream with the milk and let it come to a simmer on a medium flame, stir it often and make sure nothing catches at the bottom, dissolve the corn flour in little water , once the milk n cream comes a to almost a boil reduce the flame to minimum and add the corn flour tbsp by tbsp, stir continuously at this time and make sure nothing catches at the bottom, once all the corn flour is added give it 1 minute, then add the sugar syrup n pinch of salt n mix well, take off the heat. Taste at this point if you would want it more sweet, add more sugar if you feel like and make it dissolve. Pour the mixture in a flat container which is floating on cold water or ice to cool it down. When the mixture is at room temperature n not hot, add the mango puree and mix well until homogeneous. Then pour the whole thing into a flat container which will go inside the freezer. Freeze for 4-5 hours at the initial stage.

4. Once the mixture has begun to get solid, touch it and you can feel if it is still gel like or begin to get hard, if it is beginning to get hard take it out and cut the mixture with a knife and put inside a blender and blend with little breaks in between when you scrape down the sides n blend to a stage when it looks smooth n fluffy, at this stage pour it back into the container n freeze again in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Repeat the same thing after 4 hours, refreeze n do it again, repeat one more time.
This is why you should begin making the ice-cream in the day time so that by night your blending process is done and you are not blending at 2 in the night and everyone is wondering what on earth you are doing at this hour. So then let the whole thing freeze for a good solid 8-10 hours in freezer in that container or in moulds if you like and next morning your ice-cream is secretly ready, well not so secretly actually.

5. For the pistachio praline, toast the pistachios on low heat for 4 minutes, then in a heavy bottom saucepan place the sugar with water gently, make sure there is no sugar cubes outside the wet sugar in the pan , place it on low heat for 4 minutes, then increase temp to medium high, when it reaches brown color, shake the pan gently for even color, when it gets dark brown stage, throw in the pistachios and pour the whole thing on marble counter, after 5 minutes they will easily come off.
Place the praline in a blender and blend till you obtain a smooth powder, make sure the blender is dry before placing the praline into it.
To make leafs or round disc first make a template on paper and cut out those shapes, the place that paper on a baking sheet and with a spatula lift out the praline dust and scatter over the template, make sure the shapes are getting coated in a thick layer of praline dust, if they are too thin you won’t be able to get them out in one piece, so dust well, when you have dusted over all the template carefully lift up the paper and you have the shape on the baking sheet.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 Celsius/330 Fahrenheit and place the baking sheet carefully n bake for 2 minutes, then let the sheet cool n then with a spatula lift up the shapes carefully.

Ice-cream is ready, take out the tray and dip a spoon in water n scoop in a line and the ice-cream will curl with the spoon, what a beautiful thing to watch, place on cold plates, place each praline leaf over a scoop, scatter some praline dust around the ice-cream and add a piece of fresh mango in the plate or even a fresh mango puree. And then forget everything and take a spoonful of ice-cream and place it carefully in your mouth, close your eyes and be loyal to the ice-cream, everything else will fall in place. Bon app├ętit.

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