Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Ice Creams: Maltese Style, American Style, with Orion and The False Dawn


A little over a month ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s Gelatt, a traditional Maltese recipe for an ice cream dessert.

And, as with most traditional Maltese recipes for anything - especially a dessert - there was more than one traditional Maltese frozen dairy dessert recipe.

Crema is very easy to make, as you can see:
Pour the contents of a 354 ml can evaporated milk into a bowl.
Cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer for an hour.
Take it out and beat in 6 Tablespoons sugar and the juice of 1 lemon.
Cover the bowl and place it back in the freezer for an hour.
Remove the bowl, beat the mixture and serve.
What could be easier?

Ma also made an American style ice cream.
This recipe calls for eight large egg yolks, so it’s not great if you’re worried about cholesterol content.
Nobody in the 1950s worried about cholesterol.

Our mothers had received government issued papers from our teachers saying how important it was for us to eat eggs.
Those were the days when moms regarded eggnogs as the perfect drink for any and, if possible, every meal.
Our meals were cholesterol covered with cholesterol.
Picture sitting down to this dinner at least once a week: 
a nice thick slab of fried liver, served with creamed corn dotted with butter, and a mound of mashed potatoes with gravy.
Of course there was a pitcher of egg nog, flavoured with Ovaltine.
None of this water crap for us when our loving mothers could give us even more protein, vitamins and minerals.
Oh, well, they meant well.


Ma got an ice cream recipe from another Mom, who loved it because it was a fun way to get a bit more nutrition into the kids.
Her friend had said it was as good as a glass of V8 for sneaking in the vitamins.
If your Mom wasn’t as sneaky, V8 was a canned drink that was made from water and the concentrate of eight vegetables: beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, watercress, spinach and tomato.

For our mothers it was a slippery slope from sneaking vegetables to sneaking eggs.
So Ma was happy to get the ice cream recipe.
But, of course, it would need a bit of her tweaking.
Ma added her own touches and made this when she wanted a little something extra nutritious to balance out a lighter meal that seemed to need a bit more cholesterol.
Which was just fine with us.
Hey, it was the 50s!


Hints:

Add the heated half and half very gradually to the egg yolks. This heats the egg yolks slowly and tempers them, which prevents the yolks from cooking.

When you are beating the frozen mixture be sure to beat in the frozen bits so that it will be smooth.

If you’d like a bit of variety, you could add chocolate chips or candied peel or roasted chopped nuts (some, such as almonds, are better if you roast the chopped nuts and let them cool before adding).
Want a more ice cream parlour effect? Add crushed chocolate cookies or chopped chocolate bars or brownies.
Or anything else that suits you or your family.

If you are adding anything, add it to the mixture after you’ve removed it from the freezer after it’s been frozen for an hour, when it is similar to soft serve.
Fold in your addition, then repeat the mixing and freezing until fully frozen. 

Don’t know what to do with the leftover egg whites?
They’d be perfect for Ma’s Dead Man's Bones cookies or Almond Macaroons.


                        Vanilla Ice Cream 

Place in a medium saucepan 
2 1/2 Cups half and half cream
Stirring often, heat over medium heat until very hot but not boiling. 
Remove from heat and set aside.

Place in a large bowl 
8 large egg yolks
1 Cup sugar
Whisk until well blended and slightly thickened. 
Continue whisking and gradually pour in the heated half and half. 
Pour the mixture into the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. 
Check for doneness by dipping a spatula into the mixture to coat it entirely. 
Let the spatula cool a few minutes, then run your finger along it. If the line holds, the mixture is ready.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Stir in 
2 1/2 Cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Pour the chilled mixture into a 9 × 13 inch baking pan. 
Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove and beat the mixture. 
Return to the freezer, and continue to beat every 30 minutes or so, until the ice cream is too stiff to beat.
Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze.
Leave to thaw for about ten minutes before serving.
Scoop and serve.


If you’re in the mood for an alcoholic recipe, check out Carmela’s Gelato Affogato.
It means "Drowned Ice Cream" and is easy to make - ice cream covered with rum and espresso coffee.
Definitely not for the kiddies.

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

If you set your alarm clock for around 5:15 a.m. this week, you’ll be able to enjoy Orion, the Hunter ascending the sky. About two-thirds of the way up from the eastern horizon to the point directly overhead (the zenith), is the brilliant yellowish star, Capella. About halfway between Capella and the eastern horizon are the two bright stars marking the heads of Gemini, the Twins, Pollux and Castor. Straight out to the right of Capella is the fuzzy patch of light marking the famous Pleiades star cluster, also known as the “Seven Sisters.” Using Orion’s belt, drop an imaginary line almost straight down to the southeast horizon and you’ll find the brightest of all stars, Sirius.

August 30 – This is a great time to spot the Zodiacal Light, a hazy pyramid of light also known as “False Dawn.” It looks like dawn coming over the horizon but it’s fooled many a sky watcher.

September 1 - New Moon. Just enjoy Orion.

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