Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate ice cream

It’s hot, so hot I can see my spirit animal. Which tells me to drink wine regularly but also that I should eat ice cream for breakfast and such. All week Toronto has experienced record tempratures and my twitter feed has been filling up with ice cream tweets so I armed with a big bowl of delicious Niagara cherries and a glass of VQA merlot and set about making the ice cream to end all ice creams. Here is is fashionistas…The Sour Cherry and dark chocolate ice cream.

The Inspiration

Niagara Cherries

The Recipe
1 cup Sour Cherry compote chilled (see previous post)
3/4 Dark chocolate
2 cups 35% cream
1 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

In a non reactive medium bowl (preferably glass) whisk together egg yolks and sugar set aside
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat up the cream and milk until steaming but below the boiling point

Remove milk from heat and let sit for a minute or two

Whisking constantly add a little of the hot milk at a time to the egg and sugar mixture until fully incorporated

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard (this will help ensure that it does not form a skin on the top while cooling

Refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours

Pour chilled custard into your ice cream maker or freezer bowl attachment

Prepare ice cream according to machine or attachment directions. I used the Kitchen Aid freezer bowl attachment and it takes about 20-30 minutes churning on low

Add cherry compote and chocolate during the last few minutes so that they don’t sink to the bottom.

Dark chocolate love

Sour cherry compote

Transfer your ice cream which will be at a soft serve stage to shallow freezer containers. If the cherries and chocolate do sink to the bottom and you have used a shallow container you will easily be able to grab them when you scoop.

Transfer to the freezer and let the ice cream cure for 4 more hours or overnight.

Serve and enjoy!

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Ice cream


Sour Cherry Compote

One of my favourite ways to celebrate local seasonal fruit, other than eating it straight up naked, is to make a compote. Compote is a french for mixture and the technique for this desert is slow cooking the fruit by simmering it in water and sugar until it is soft. Slowing cooking the fruit helps to retain its shape and the sugar and water act as a preservative. Compotes can be eaten warm or cold and you can also add liqueurs or spices to your compotes for extra depth. For cherries a Kirsch would be nice. Compotes are very versatile and can be used to top cheese cakes or ice creams, stirred into oatmeal, served along side your favourite cheese, paired with savoury items or meats like foie gras,duck, pork, game meats, or eaten just as they are.

For this recipe I used sour cherries Which uncooked have a tarter taste and a brighter red color. During the cooking process these cherries hold their shape quite well and the flavour mellows and becomes more sweet.

The inspiration

Sweet and Sour Niagara cherries

Niagara Sour Cherries at Liberty Village My Market

The Recipe
2 cups sour cherries pitted and halved
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot
Over medium heat bring to just below boiling point
Turn heat down to low and simmer until thickened and reduced approximately 30-40 minutes.

You will notice that when you halve the sour cherries they are a yellowish orange inside and look quite different from a sweet cherry.

Sour cherries at the beginning of the cooking process

When the cooking process is finished the cherries will have turned a deeper more vibrant red.

Finished Compote

An Amuse before dinner?

Crostini with foie gras, cherry compote, & pea shoots

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Cherry & Lavender Clafoutis

Inspired by my favourite Patisserie Clafouti, gorgeous Niagara cherries, and a gift of some beautiful lavender, this summer treat highlights the very best eating locally has to offer.

The inspiration

Niagara Cherries

Niagara lavender

The recipe

Cherry & Lavender clafoutis
(Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe for Cherry Clafouti)

1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup 35% cream
4 eggs (I used Rowe farms)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp fresh lavender flowers
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one whole lemon
Enough fresh cherries to cover 4 small ramekins (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 TBSP butter (for greasing rammekins)

Finishing glaze (if desired)
Juice of 1/2 lemon and 3 TBSP granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Butter the inside of 4 small shallow rammekins

Halve and pit cherries

Line the bottom of each rammekin evenly with the cherries and set aside

Line the bottom of the rammekins with cherries

In a small sauce pan combine milk, cream, and lavender flowers on medium until you get a simmer going approx 5-7 min. Remove from heat and remove lavender flowers by pouring mixture through a strainer into a bowl.

Lavender simmering in milk and cream

While you are simmering milk. in a medium bowl whisk eggs and sugar together.

Whisk in flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract until mixture is a smooth custard.

Gradually add hot milk to the mixture while continuing to whisk.

Carefully pour mixture to the fill line of the rammeking (about 1/2 inch from the top.

Pour custard over cherries

Set rammekins on a cookie sheet (clafoutis will rise above the top when cooking so this step is important in case you have any overflow)

Place cookie sheet and rammekin in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. You can check to see if they are done by inserting a toohpick in the center. If it comes out clean then your custard is set.

Remove from oven and brush with glaze if desired while still warm. Another popular way to finish these is to dust them with powdered sugar.

Let Clafoutis cool completely before serving.

You can serve right in the rammekin.

Finished Clafouti served in rammekin

or slide a knife down and around the inside edges to loosen and place a piece of parchment on top, turn upside down into your hand and then turn right side up on your plate.

Finished Clafouti plated

Finished Clafouti plated

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Sweet pea and garlic scape crostini

Sweet Pea and garlic scape crostini

There are few things that bring me back to sunny summer memories of childhood more than shelling fresh peas. Inspired by my market finds of the first peas of the summer, garlic scapes, and a beautiful Clafouti batarde, I made a very simple crostini. This dish exemplifies the fresh clean eating which I enjoy most in the summertime. The ingredients shine just as they are. hope you enjoy!

Sweet pea and garlic scape crostini

1 small baguette or batarde
1 cup fresh peas (shelled)
4 garlic scapes
2-3 TBSP olive oil + extra for brushing bread
juice of half a lemon
Sea salt to taste if desired

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper

Cut bread in 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal and brush with olive oil

Place bread in oven until crisp…about 20 minutes

While bread is baking puree all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.

Remove crisp crostini from oven and let cool

Spread puree on crostini and serve

I served mine with fresh pea shoots and edible flowers for color and a perfect compliment in flavor and texture

Sweet pea and garlic scape crostini

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Blissing on Spring- Rhubarb sorbet

Sunshine soaked days in the park after a long winter, you can’t help but be happy when Spring arrives. It elicits a feeling and a promise of what is to come. Farmer’s markets, and wine on patios admiring sunsets. One of the first items to arrive in farmer’s markets or in your backyard if you are lucky enough to have one, is rhubarb. Gorgeous hues of pinks and ruby red it is very versatile in sweet treats like tarts, pies, ice creams or sorbets. I also love using it in savory dishes paired with duck or pork. Below is my recipe for a delicious sorbet that is as pretty to look at as it is to enjoy.

Rhubarb Sorbet

Rhubarb Sorbet

5 Large stalks rhubarb
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water

1) Wash rhubarb and trim off ends
2) Cut into 1/2 inch pieces on the diagonal
3) In a large saucepan combine rhubarb, sugar, and water
4) Bring to boiling point and then reduce to a simmer
5) Simmer for 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender
6) Allow to cool to room temp
7) Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth
8) In a non reactive bowl let cool in the fridge for 2 hours
9) Transfer to ice cream maker or kitchen aid freezer bowl attachment and follow manufacturers directions
10) Transfer your sorbet which will be at a soft serve stage to freezer containers
11) Let cure in the freezer for 2-4 hours before serving

** I use the kitchen aid attachment and it takes about 20 minutes to set up churning on level 2-3

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Tuesday musing

Paint me like Pollack, write me like Kerouac….only the linear live confined

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Happy 8th Birthday Clafouti-I have a little crush on your croissants

Owned by the unbelievably talented Olivier Jansen-Reynaud, Clafouti on Queen, opened January 28,2003. It has been my happy place for years! Walking into the intimate and authentic space, you are transported to Paris literally, met with a gorgeous smell of fresh baked bread, buttery croissants, beautiful pastries and a perfect view of Trinity Bellwoods Park. Always greeted with a smile by the staff, and catching a glimpse of the bakers in the back, you feel right at home.

Sometimes less words are better than more so I will just say… Happy 8th Birthday to Clafouti! and share some pics of my Clafouti crush with you.

The store front

Clafouti store front

The sign- Spring, summer, or winter it always greets you with a message that lets you know you are entering somewhere special. This one is my favorite.

Clafouti sign my favorite message

You are greated by a beautiful wall of wooden boxes filled with authentic Parisian breads and croissants

Clafouti bread boxes

Beautiful bread boxes

Entrance way bread boxes

Croissants au beurre- I treasure these above all else

Croissant au beurre

Pain au chocolat

Pain au chocolat

One of my very favorite croissants- Almond

Almond croissant

Croissant de figue

Croissant de figue

Galettes des Rois- Seasonal treat baked in the style of Northern France complete with gold crowns from Paris.

Galettes des Rois

Galettes des Rois and Ondaatje- Two of my loves

The tradition is whoever finds the ceramic surprise inside the Galettes des Rois gets to be King or Queen for a day. The day I brought these treats to share at the Drake, I earned my crown as Princess!


Why brown bag it? When you could have a gorgeous mango chicken curry baguette?

Clafouti Sanwiches

Mango chicken curry with walnuts on baguette

I stop by as many of the days as I can to visit my happy place and indulge in my croissant crush.

Happy Desk Happy Jennifer

Located near Queen and Strachan this is both a neighbourhood favorite and a place that people travel to, to satify their cravings so get there early. There is often a line up and on the weekends you can expect croissant supplies to be running low by 11am.

Clafouti contact info

Enjoy! Baking the best croissants in Toronto, all of this Patisserie’s products are made with love, and are the closet to Paris that you will find in Canada. Ah Oui! Allons-y

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