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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Huckleberry Chocolate Praline Ice Cream

Years ago, our family was invited to spend a week with friends at their cabin, located on an island on Flathead Lake in Northern Montana. Our hostess requested that we bring fresh raspberries and ice to make ice cream.  We purchased huckleberries and some blueberries as well.  Oh my!  The triple berry ice cream that resulted was like nothing I have tasted before or since.  It was spectacular!  Our hostess used an old family recipe that called for raw eggs...unfortunately, she was pregnant.  You can guess what happened; our hostess became very ill later that evening. We know now that you should never eat raw eggs when pregnant and I don't know if our friend has eaten huckleberry ice cream since.  Huckleberries grow wild at elevations between 2,000 and 11,000 ft.  They are not easily cultivated.  Each stand (or stem) only grows one very small berry and just a heads-up...Grizzly bears love them.  Wild huckleberries are tart and vibrant in flavor.  They are expensive due to their rarity and their labor-intensive picking.  Personally, I'm happy to pay for someone else's hard labor especially considering the Grizzly bear risk.  We made ice cream on the island with a hand crank machine.  My new electric machine from CSN is so much easier; less mess in half the time.

I adapted a recipe from Marcel Desaulniers to make this ice cream.  If you can't get huckleberries you can substitute any berry available to you.  I asked our friends to buy some huckleberries for us when they returned home from their house this summer which they kindly did and we made Huckleberry Chocolate Praline Ice cream.  This recipe looks involved but it's components can be made in advance.  It's a show-stopper and well worth the effort.  The huckleberries are tart, the ice cream is sweet, and the chocolate pecan praline is to die for!You can freeze this in a freezer that uses ice or in one like mine that has a frozen canister.  A perfect dessert for your Labor Day entertaining.

Huckleberry Chocolate Praline Ice Cream

Chocolate Praline:
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped into ½-inch pieces

Huckleberry Ice Cream:
1 pint fresh huckleberries or any berry you like, rinsed
¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
½ cup cultured nonfat buttermilk

Make the praline: Put the pecans in a pie tin. Set aside.
Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir with a whisk to combine. Caramelize the sugar by heating for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to break up the clumps (the sugar will melt and turn light brown as it caramelizes). Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring to dissolve. Immediately and CAREFULLY pour the caramel over all the pecans. Place the tin in the freezer for about 15 minutes to harden.
Cutting the praline.

Remove the praline from the tin and chop into 1/8–inch pieces. This should yield 2 cups of praline. Keep covered in the freezer until ready to use.

Make the berry swirl: Heat the huckleberries, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sauce becomes thick, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool. This should yield about ½ cup. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Prepare the ice cream: Heat the cream, half-and-half, and ¼ cup sugar in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir and bring to a boil.
While the cream is heating, put egg yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar in an electric mixer with a paddle. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high until thick and lemon-colored; 3 minutes longer.
Pour the boiling cream mixture slowly into the beaten egg yolks and whisk quickly to combine. Return to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring the custard to 185 degrees F. Remove from the heat and cool in an ice bath and refrigerate until cold.
The base, ready for the swirl and praline to be added.
Stir in the buttermilk just before putting the mixture in your ice cream freezer. Freeze according to the instructions with your machine. Transfer the ice cream to a bowl and stir in the praline, and then the berry puree. Do not over mix or you will not have swirls of color.
Fresh from the machine. Chocolate praline and swirl just mixed in.
Cover and place in the freezer for several hours before serving. Serve within 3 days.
Yields:  1 3/4 Quarts

This will be my link to Two for Tuesdays.

9 comments:

  1. This sounds wonderful, I'd have to use something other than the huckleberries, thought I wish I could try them!

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  2. I should have never stopped by before dinner. Now all I can think about is having this for dessert! Maybe for Labor Day.

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  3. What a unique, delicious flavor of ice cream! DELICIOUS:) I have never even eaten a huckleberry! (I'm glad your friend recovered.)
    Today I am using my ice cream maker for the first time...:)

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  4. woweeee! I miss huckleberries. I am in Northern California now, but back in the Pacific Northwest we had tons of wild huckleberries in our backyard. Every summer we'd pick tons to make pie. YUM!

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  5. Your ice cream looks incredible! I've never had or even seen huckleberries. hmmm...I wonder if the farmers market would have them.
    I just saw your previous post on the peach upside down cake. I just made one yesterday!!! how funny is that? Must be peach season ;)

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  6. Bonnie this really is a wonderful recipe. I have never had chocolate pralines before and the idea of them with huckleberries is very tantalizing. Joni

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  7. If this was at a restaurant, I'd order it all the time!!! It looks so good.

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  8. This sounds like a delish combo. The CSN folks contacted me too...I read your review and decided to participate in a giveaway as well! I still want to take a field trip to meet you at your country home someday! Oh and your peach dishes look so yummy. Yey for peach season!

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  9. I love making my own ice cream - this looks sensational, love the idea of the berries with chocolate praline.
    Sue

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