Fresh Mint Ice Cream

So, on the subject of lots of leftovers from the wedding, we also had TONS of mint leftover from our Blackberry Mojitos. I made pie with the blackberries, but Paul and I had so much mint left over that we were struggling to figure out what to do with it.
We chopped some of it up fresh, and Paul made us some lamb burgers with mint. We dried some of it out, so we have a store of dried mint if we ever need it. Paul also pureed some with oil, so we have a stash of mint oil in our cupboard now. Finally, I made him save me some fresh mint, and I went on the hunt for another recipe. When the idea of ice cream came to me with fresh mint, I immediately turned to Annie’s Eats, then to Pinterest.

I didn’t have to look far on the Annie’s Eats website, and ended up not using Pinterest at all. Annie’s recipe is absolutely fantastic! It is simple, uses mostly ingredients you should have on hand (I had to run out for some cream cheese and cream, but I usually have those things with me), but it does take some time.

Once you create the ice cream base, you add the mint in, and let it steep. The longer you steep it, the more intense the mint flavour. Annie recommends steeping for 4-12 hours. We steeped the mint in the ice cream base for about 12-16 hours, and as a result, the base smelled so wonderfully minty.

One final note – Paul and I have been experimenting with ice cream for a while now. Most recipes call for heavy cream. The recipes we first tried we used heavy cream, and we found the ice cream left a bit of a film in our mouths. Not the worst thing, but it just made it slightly weird to eat it. We have found, however, that using half-and-half cream solves that problem. This change is reflected in my ingredients below, but the link for Annie’s original recipe is above. Enjoy this ice cream!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 1 quart

2 c. milk, divided
4 tsp. cornstarch
1¼ c. half-and-half cream
Pinch of fine sea salt
2/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1½ oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
Large handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

In a medium, heatproof mixing bowl, tear the mint roughly and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. milk and the cornstarch into a slurry. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remainder of the milk, the cream, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry until smooth. Return the pan to the heat, then continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in the softened cream cheese until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into the mixing bowl with the mint, stir to cover the mint with the mixture.

Place in the refrigerator and let the mint steep between 4-16 hours. The longer you let the mint steep, the stronger the mint flavour.

After the mixture has steeped, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once frozen, transfer to a container and transfer to the freezer.

Blackberry Pie

Well friends, it’s official. Paul and I are married!!! This is my first post as a Mrs. I’m a WIFE. It’s still weird to me. It’ll take a while to get used to it. Either way, our wedding was a good time and a fun party, however we came out the other side with a ridiculous amount of fresh blackberries and mint. We had a feature drink, a Blackberry Mojito (which was FANTASTIC), but I couldn’t resist. I had to make pie.
Of course, this made Paul extremely excited. He LOVES pie. As in, pie-might-just-be-his-favourite-dessert-EVER. For a while now, I’ve actually been quite hesitant to make homemade blackberry pie.

When I was young, I lived in B.C. with my family, and we had a blackberry bush in the backyard. My favourite thing to eat was my dad’s homemade blackberry pie. It just is the memory of my childhood – the taste of my childhood. However, I’m so glad I decided, finally, to take the plunge and make blackberry pie.
Now, my pie crust both Paul and I LOVE. It isn’t a terribly hard recipe, and I’ve posted it on the blog before. With some experimentation, we have learned that this pie crust is really best when made fresh and used within two days of making. It does freeze, but when you freeze it then use it again, it doesn’t turn out as well as it does when it’s fresh. Trust me. Make the single batch. Even if you want just a single crust pie, just halve the recipe. It’ll work, I promise.

This recipe is part a found recipe from Pinterest (linked here), part my dad’s advice, and part me just doing my own thing. I guess I just went with how I felt.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pie

1 recipe Flaky Butter Pie Crust
5-6 c. fresh blackberries
1 c. sugar
½ c. flour
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter

Make pie crust according to directions. When pie crust is ready to be used, preheat oven to 350° F.

Roll out pie crust to fit into a pie plate with about 2 inches of overhang. Do not trim edges yet.

In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, flour, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir to combine and coat the blackberries. Transfer coated berries into the pie plate lined with the crust and spread out fairly evenly. Dot the butter over the top of the berries, all around the pie.

Trim the pie crust, then re-roll into a single pie crust, or cut into strips for a lattice-top pie crust. Top pie. If you rolled the crust into a single, full-crust top, cut 6 slits around the top of the pie to vent.

Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until berry mixture is bubbling and starting to bubble out of vent slits. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing and serving.

*Pie can be sliced and served warm, but the filling will be runny. Allowing the pie to cool firms up the filling, and the pie can be reheated as necessary.*

Chocolate Pistachio Sea Salt Cookies


These cookies combine three wonderful things all together in one place… I mean cookie. These goodies have been on my Pinterest board for a while, and as I was perusing through my pantry, I came upon a hidden trove of pistachios! It was meant to be.

I love cookies. They are a simple, basic recipe for the most part. Cream butter and sugar. Mix dry ingredients separately. Marry them together, and voila! Cookies. Plus, they are portable, single-serving desserts. I may also use them as currency occasionally. You know, “Hey, can you feed my cats while I’m away? Yeah? Great, I’ll pay you in cookies and baking!” People love it.

These gems are super simple to make – if you buy shelled pistachios! I think I spent more time shelling the pistachios I had instead of actually making the cookie dough. Hindsight on my part. Either way, bring on the cookies! I found the original recipe here, and tweaked it with what I had on hand (a.k.a. chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chunks… but I fully intend to try these again as written in the original recipe!). I also doubled the recipe, because who only wants 2 dozen cookies? I want more! 🙂

Ingredients:

Yield: 2 dozen cookies (recipe can be easily doubled)

1½ c. flour
½ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. butter, at room temperature
¼ c. sugar
¾ c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. shelled pistachios, chopped
1 c. chocolate chips or chunks
Sea salt, for finishing

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or Silpat, if desired.

Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.

Fold in the pistachios and chocolate until evenly incorporated.

Using a spoon or scoop, form tablespoon-sized dough balls, and place 1-2 inches apart on baking trays. Flatten out slightly by pressing lightly on the dough. Sprinkle sea salt on cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until light golden around the edges. Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.