Monday, August 31, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake

Happy Birthday to - Me! Yesterday was my birthday and I decided to make this cake for it when I came across it while checking out the blog Eggs on Sunday a couple of months ago. I've already mentioned that Raspberry Chip ice cream is my fave and this seemed like the perfect elegant, challenging, deconstructed interpretation I could find.

While none of the elements were difficult, and actually the crust and the ganache are easy, this took some time to put together. The efforts were well worth it because this is pure decadence. The bittersweet ganache balances the sweet-fruity-creaminess of the ice cream beautifully. The ice cream recipe is the same one I used for the blackberry ice cream I posted recently, and was equally delicious with raspberries.

My only disappointment is with the photos. I should have wiped down the sides of the springform pan to prevent bleed over of the ice cream and the ganache for a cleaner look. I had originally intended on placing the cake on one of the several cake stands that I own but rarely use, but last minute plans made it easier to use a glass platter for photos. Nonetheless, this dessert felt like an achievement and was a fitting end to a great birthday!

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
adapted from Eggs on Sunday
Raspberry Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop

Ingredients (crust and ganache ingredients listed for 7-inch / 10-inch pan)

For the cookie crust:
4 oz / 6 oz chocolate wafer cookies
3 tbsp / 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the raspberry ice cream (or, use 1 quart storebought ice cream):
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar1
1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks1
1/2 cups strained raspberry puree (you’ll need to start with about 6 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the chocolate ganache:
4 oz / 6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% chips), cut into pieces
4 oz / 6 oz heavy cream

For the garnish:1/2 pint fresh organic raspberries

Make the chocolate cookie crust: Process the cookies in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse it in until the cookie crumbs are moistened thoroughly. Pour the crumbs out into the bottom of your springform pan and firmly pat them down to make an even layer for the crust. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 1 hour.

Make the ice cream layer — two ways: If you’re using ice cream that’s already made, you can just soften it a bit at room temperature and then beat it in an electric mixer until it’s more the consistency of soft serve. Spread it evenly over the cookie crust, gently pressing down with a spatula to fill in any holes. You want to use enough ice cream to come almost all the way to the top of the springform pan; leave about 1/2 inch room at the top (where the ganache will go. Place the plastic wrap back on over the ice cream layer, smoothing it down directly on the ice cream’s surface so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

If you’re making the raspberry ice cream, have the raspberry puree ready, and the heavy cream in a large bowl with a strainer set over it. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half and sugar until warm, then gradually add this mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks, pouring it in a slow stream to temper the egg yolks, so they don’t curdle. Whisk constantly while you’re adding the warm half and half mixture, then scrape the warmed egg and half and half mixture back into the saucepan.

Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat the spatula (when you draw a finger across the back of the spatula, it should leave a mark without the liquid filling it in.) Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the heavy cream, and stir to combine. Mix in the raspberry puree and lemon juice. Cover and chill this mixture thoroughly.

Once cool, churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it’s finished churning, spread enough ice cream over the cookie crust in the springform pan so there’s about 1/2-inch of room at the top of the pan. Place plastic wrap over the ice cream, pressing it gently down all over the surface of the ice cream so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

To make the chocolate ganache: Place the chocolate and cream in a large heatproof bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Take it off the water and cool at room temperature until it’s lukewarm.

Take the ice cream cake out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top, smoothing with a spatula. It should just about come to the top of the springform pan. If you’re using the raspberries for garnish, place them around the edge of the cake top.

Replace the plastic wrap over the cake, smoothing it directly onto the layer of ganache, and place it back in the freezer for another 2 hours.
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