Desserts have always had a strong hand in the success of Bluestem and Rye. And so while Made in America — the latest cookbook from chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts out last week — will teach you about burnt end hash and fried chicken, it will also showcase the deft pastry touch of Megan Garrelts. Her style is to take classic Midwestern dishes (think peach cobbler) and provide clean, tasty interpretations that show understated thoughtfulness.
Andrews McMeel Publishing — the folks who will bring you Cookies & Beer in October– gave us a peek at one of the dessert recipes from Made in America. [If you want to get a signed copy of the book, there’s a signing event today at Halls Kansas City in Crown Center (2450 Grand Boulevard) from 5:30 to 7 p.m.] Take this as a chance to improve your ice cream sandwich repertoire.
Brownie and Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 18 Brownies or 9 Sandwiches
Oftentimes at dinner parties I will serve very simple desserts reminiscent of the things I loved as a kid—it’s like asking my guests to relive their childhoods with me. I’ll fancy up root beer floats with tall, pretty glasses and fun ice cream flavors, or I’ll make ice cream sandwiches. Almost everyone loves a chocolate brownie, and when layered with homemade ice cream it is a truly irresistible dessert, especially in the summer. My mom originally found this brownie recipe and said we must try it—it appeared in a 1975 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, alongside an interview with Katharine Hepburn. We loved the chewy texture and the rich chocolate flavor of Ms. Hepburn’s brownies. Here I revisit this beloved recipe with ice cream smashed between two layers of brownies for a wonderfully decadent ice cream sandwich. ★ M.G.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut; optional)
Pistachio Ice Cream (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking pan, line the pan with parchment paper, and butter it again. Set aside.
Fill a medium sauce pan two-thirds full with water and set over medium heat. Place the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl and set the bowl over the sauce pan (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).
Stir the butter and chocolate until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt and stir until smooth. Fold in the nuts if using. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let the brownies cool to room temperature in the pan, and then transfer the pan to the freezer to chill for 1 hour. Invert the pan and tap the sides to remove the brownie from the pan. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Slice the chilled brownies into 18 squares and line them up a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place a medium scoop of ice cream onto half of the brownies and top with the other half of the brownies to make sandwiches. Freeze until firm before serving, about 2 hours.
Pistachio Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
This ice cream can really be any flavor you want. The base recipe starts with egg yolks, heavy cream, milk, and sugar; I then add pistachio paste (available at specialty stores such as Dean & DeLuca), but you can use your imagination (see Note). No matter which flavoring you choose, I almost always recommend a pinch or so of salt, since salt in desserts has a wonderful way of balancing the sugar and making all the flavors pop, especially in ice cream. Never be afraid to add salt to dessert!
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
¹ ∕8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pistachio paste
Ice cream maker
Fill a large bowl with ice. Set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a low simmer; simmer for 2 minutes, or until the sugar has fully dissolved. Watch the pot closely, as it can boil over quickly.
Temper the eggs by whisking 1 cup of the hot cream in a slow, steady stream into the yolks. You want to add the hot cream slowly to gradually increase the temperature of the egg yolks without scrambling them. Add the remainder of the cream to the eggs in the bowl. Strain the ice-cream base through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in the salt and pistachio paste.
Set the bowl inside the bowl with the ice and whisk the ice cream base until it has cooled slightly. Once the base has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
Churn the chilled base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
For alternatives to the pistachio paste, try these flavorings.
Strawberry: Whisk in ¼ cup fresh strawberry purée after straining the ice cream base.
Peanut Butter: Whisk in ¼ cup peanut butter after straining the ice cream base.
Earl Grey Tea: Steep 1 Earl Grey tea bag along with the peel of 1 orange in the cream and milk as you heat them, about 10 minutes. Temper in the eggs and then strain the ice cream base through a fine mesh sieve after all the ingredients are added.
—From Made in America: A Modern Collection of Classic Recipes by Colby and Megan Garrelts, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC[Image by Bonjwing Lee]