If I had to sum up the summer of 2012 in one word, that word would be………
I’ll bet that you thought I was going to say “Lochte,” didn’t you? Jeah…………..no.
Mini pies to be exact. Hand held pies. Pie pops. Sweet and savory turnovers. Empanadas.
And lots and lots of crust.
Yes, I am writing my first cookbook (whee!), and it’s all about pies–portable pies that fit in the palm of your hand. Because, let’s face it, having your own little pie all to yourself is so much better than having a slice.
So that’s where I’ve been over my little blogging hiatus. I’ve been covered in flour, toning my arm muscles as I roll out batch after batch of flaky/all-butter/whole wheat/vegan/gluten-free/cornmeal dough in the kitchen. And I’ve been loving every minute of it.
“Good things come in small packages” has become my mantra.
So my deadline is looming–the end of this month–but I didn’t want to go an entire month without posting the recipe that has been running through my head over the past several weeks.
And yes, it was inspired by pie.
I’ve mentioned six-dozen or so times that Eric and I love Jackson Hole. We usually head up there for a few days twice a year. During the summer (and sometimes during the winter), one of our first stops is the ice cream shop on town square, where they sell the most fantastic huckleberry ice cream.
I don’t know what it is about this ice cream that makes it so necessary in my life. Perhaps it’s that fact that I can’t get anything like it here in Las Vegas (we’re not exactly known for our huckleberries.) Perhaps it’s the fact that I am on vacation whenever I eat it, and everything tastes better on vacation.
No, I think it’s simply really extraordinary ice cream: creamy without being too custardy-creamy and dotted with tart purple huckleberries. A quintessential summertime treat (or wintertime or falltime or springtime for that matter.)
This ice cream inspired one of the mini pies in my book. I actually bought frozen huckleberries at the Jackson Hole Grocer and toted them home with me on the plane, all in the name of research.
In turn, the ice cream that inspired a pie came full circle and inspired yet another ice cream, this time with a little streusel thrown in. You know how I love my streusel. There might be a bit of streusel in the book too.
The ice cream isn’t exactly the same as the one that I get in Jackson, but it’s pretty darn close for a first attempt. And the streusel crisp topping turned out great, especially since there is some leftoer for nibbling.
So, the book will be published in the spring of 2013. Until then, I’ll certainly keep you posted with any updates.
In the meantime, eat lots of ice cream…..and streusel. Here are some extra tips for making this pie-inspired huckleberry treat:
- I realize that huckleberries aren’t exactly a staple at grocery stores across the country. Fortunately, this recipe will work beautifully with fresh or frozen wild blueberries.
- If you absolutely must have huckleberries for your ice cream, you can order them from Oregon Mushrooms (warning: they’re not cheap.)
- Feel free to play around witht the crisp recipe, depending on personal preference. Substitute almonds, pecans or hazelnuts for walnuts. Throw in a dash of ground allspice, cardamom or cloves (but just a dash!)
Wild Huckleberry Crisp Ice Cream
Makes about 5 cups
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen wild huckleberries
For the Crisp
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
In medium bowl, whisk together yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and 1/2 cup milk. In medium saucepan, bring remaining milk and sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Slowly add hot milk to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan and heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool completely.
When mixture has cooled, stir in cream, vanilla and huckleberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Prepare crisp topping: Heat oven to 350F. In medium bowl mix together brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and walnuts. Using your fingers, rub butter into mixture until fully incorporated and clumps form.
Press mixture into a glass baking dish or pie plate. Bake until your kitchen smells delicious and the topping has browned, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool completely then break into pieces.
Freeze ice cream according to ice cream maker’s manufacturer instructions. A few minutes before ice cream is ready add 2/3 of crisp mixture to ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to a container and freeze until firm.
Serve in a cone or in a bowl topped with additional crisp crumbles.