Sunday, 23 August 2015

Peanut butter ice-cream with butter fried brioche jam sandwich


Full of flavours and textures. Rich rather than heavy. My family fell on this like few other desserts I've made. I just love the buttery brioche crunch, soaked with cherry juices. You could see this as a reworking of the American classic sandwich of peanut putter and jelly but it didn't begin that way. The caramel was the start. Ironic really as it's the smallest element. It's a smoked caramel, made with smoked water from Halen môn saltcote in North Wales. I've been meaning to make a peanut butter ice cream anyway and I've used fried brioche with fruit before. 

There are five elements in this dessert:
1. Brioche
2. Whipped cream
3. Cherry jam
4. Peanut butter ice cream
5. smoked caramel sauce

Brioche loaf. I make my own using Michel Roux's recipe. I'm pleased with the result but I'm going to chat to my friend Richard of the ineffable Holtwhite's Bakery in Enfield. If anyone can help me improve it, he can. The taste is good but I'd like an even lighter structure.
Whipped cream. Just that. No added sugar or vanilla. Doesn't need it.

Cherry jam. You could use any jam but I think peanut and cherry work well. I've detailed the recipe here.

Jam in the making

Peanut butter (and chocolate chip) ice cream. The easiest of ice creams - and possibly the most moreish - requiring you only to mix three ingredients, chill and churn. You need a blender though. And an ice cream maker. The recipe was adapted from the always excellent seriouseats.com

Take a 340g pot of peanut butter. Look for a high peanut content. I found Waitrose Essential Wholenut was 98%. It also included palm oil, which is a shame (why not peanut oil Waitrose?) but better that more prominent brands in that there was no added sugar. You really don't need added sugar with this dessert.

Scoop the peanut butter into your blender. Now using your empty pot, pour in three lots of single cream. Finally add 200g of caster sugar. Blend until very smooth.

For texture, you could now add some chopped roasted nuts, or fruit or, as I did, some chopped milk chocolate. I was planning on going dark but... milk seemed better suited. 

Chill your mix overnight in the fridge, at least for six hours. In the morning, churn in your ice cream maker.

Smoked caramel sauce. This is the controversial element. Most of my friends and family liked the smoky element  some did not. Tom, one of my testers thought it tasted like bacon, but not in a good way. Fabian recoiled from it, gesturing with horror like Banquo's ghost. Did the spectre appear at dessert? Shakespeare doesn't make this clear (my English teacher wife reckons it was during the amuse bouche and she should know). Sloppy Bard! Back to the 21st century and It's a normal caramel sauce to which I added a tablespoon of smoked water. It's just possible that you don't have any smoked water. Perhaps use smoked salt instead. Or simply forget the smoke.

Bacon? In a dessert?
Construction is simple and can mostly be done in advance. Handy if, as I was, you are half cut after a long meal. In butter, lightly fry slices of brioche on one side only. (Don't be tempted to skip this stage. Yes, it's more fat but remember, the life hours you'll save are the awful ones at the end, sat stupefied with morphine and mashed potato, in the state-run care home.) Cut diagonally and onto the uncooked side (all the better to soak in), gloop some cherries and jammy sauce. In the intra-cherry spaces pipe little stars or blobs of whipped cream. Top with the other half slice at a cheffy angle and dust with icing sugar. Serve with spoonful of caramel sauce and a scoop of the ice cream.












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