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Friday, February 12, 2010

Pomegranate Swirl Ice Cream for Chinese/Vietnamese New Year!!

Happy Chinese/Vietnamese New Year. Bring on the Year of the Tiger!

"The Tiger is said to be lucky, vivid, lively and engaging. Another attribute of the Tiger is his incredible bravery, evidenced in his willingness to engage in battle or his undying courage. Maybe he’s so brave because he is so lucky.

Believe it or not in researching for an ice cream for this glorious event I couldn't find a flavor that would quite suit the occasion. I was thinking of a Chinese or Vietnamese fruit or perhaps dessert to draw inspiration from but nothing really hit the right combination for an ice cream.

I ended up choosing to make a pomegranate swirl ice cream because I wanted something red to symbolize prosperity in the Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. Little red envelopes are usually given out during this time; and they are filled with money. It is thought to bring you good luck and fortune when handing out the money-filled envelopes to little children. I remember being a little kid, I was so fortunate to have such a big family, with over 15 aunts and uncles, that my pockets would be bulging with these little envelopes. 

This Pomegranate Swirl Ice Cream is flavorful, delicate and creamy with a subtle hint of vanilla; and the pomegranate swirls gives it a nice little tart and fruity finish. It's a great ice cream to have after those heavy Chinese/Vietnamese New Year's dinners. 

To make this ice cream you will need:
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt

For the Pomegranate Swirl:
2 cups of pomegranate juice 
1/2 cup of sugar

I would suggest making the pomegranate swirl first. This way it can reduce and cool as you make your ice cream batter. In a small sauce pan, mix the 2 cups of pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup of sugar and let the juice reduce by 1/2 over medium heat.  Store in a heat-safe container; and let it cool until it ready to assemble with your ice cream.

To make the ice cream, mix 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cream and the 3/4 cup of sugar together in a medium sauce pan. Heat the mixture until hot and you start to see little whisps of steam. Start tempering your egg yolks in a separate bowl with the milk and cream mixture. Once 3/4 of the mixture has been tempered with your eggs pour everything back in the medium sauce pan, then add the pinch of salt. 

Stir the ice cream mixture constantly over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, check to see if it can coat the back of our wooden spoon evenly. This process should take 10-15 minutes. Pour out the mixture into a medium heat-safe bowl, add the remaining cup of heavy cream and 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract. Stir everything together and let cool. Refrigerate the ice cream batter for at least 6 hours before using your ice cream maker.

Follow your ice cream maker instructions. Once the your ice cream is ready to be packed, alternate scooping your ice cream while adding a tablespoon of the pomegranate reduction. Let the ice cream harden in the freezer for at least 4 hours, then scoop and enjoy with family and friends.

Have a fantastic Year of the Tiger!

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