Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jul 10, 2014

Celery & Rum Raisin Ice Cream

It's been a pretty long time since I've made ice cream, and a close friend of mine recently asked me to teach her how to make it, so that got me thinking again about all the wacky, boozy flavors I could try out.  My go-to recipe book is Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  Not only does she have the basics, but she has some pretty innovative flavor combinations.  I scanned through the book, searching for something with rum, and landed upon a Celery Ice Cream with rum-soaked golden raisins.  I've had the pleasure of doing PR for an amazing, new boutique rum company, called Selvarey, and they've been racking up awards for their premium Panamanian White and Cacao rums upon launching.  So look forward to plenty more rum recipes on this blog, lushes!  I wasn't much of a rum fan before, but they've changed my mind completely!  Needless to say, these golden raisins ended up getting soaked in their White rum.  I opted for using celery seeds in the ice cream base, as I really didn't want to wait 4-12 hours for celery leaves to steep.  If celery ice cream sounds weird to you, don't knock it before you've tried it.  Look, ma! I'm getting my vegetables! The boozy raisins and bits of chopped candied ginger sweeten this slightly savory ice cream up, and it's got a great, light flavor that's perfect for the summer.

Celery & Rum Raisin Ice Cream - makes 1 quart
Ingredients for the rum-soaked raisins:
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs rum (I used Selvarey White)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Ingredients for the ice cream:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbs cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 large bunch of dark green celery leaves, finely chopped OR 1 tsp celery seeds lightly pounded in a mortar and pestle
  • 2 Tbs finely diced candied ginger
Instructions for the rum-soaked raisins:
- In a small saucepan over high heat, add the water, rum, and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour the syrup over the raisins in a heatproof bowl, and let the mixture sit until cooled to room temperature before putting it in the fridge (the raisins will last for about a month refrigerated).
- Drain the raisins and add to the chopped ginger.

Instructions for the ice cream:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 Tbs of the milk to make a slurry (it helps thicken the ice cream), and set aside.
- In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt together until softened.
- In a large pot (at least 4 quarts) over medium-high heat, add the rest of the milk, along with the cream, sugar, and corn syrup, and let it boil for 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the slurry.
- Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is slightly thickened (about 1 minute).
- Remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.
- Stir in the celery leaves or seeds.
- Fill a large bowl with plenty of ice (or ice packs) and cold water.
- Position a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag in the bowl and pour the mixture in there.
- Seal it up and submerge it.
- Let the mixture stay in the ice bath for about 30 minutes, adding more ice if necessary (I like to pop the bowl in the fridge too).
- If you're using celery leaves, you'll need to let the mixture steep for about 4-12 hours in the fridge. You'll then need to strain out the leaves before putting the base in your ice cream maker.
- Pour the mixture in your ice cream maker and spin, according to the instructions, until thick and creamy.
- Pack the ice cream into a storage container, layering in the raisins and candied ginger as you go.
- Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.
- Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until it's firm (about 4 hours).