Loyal reader Frank got me to thinking about ice cream this week, with his desperate longing for French pistache. Of course, thinking about ice cream is sort of a normal state of mind for me. There are those of us who could, if left unattended, sit down and polish off a whole container. You know who you are.
In France, la glace is really, really good. The most popular brand is Carte d’Or, and I’m rabidly loyal consumer. Their stock may be up since we arrived.
As you might guess, ice cream in the supermarché here comes in these horribly petite, reasonably sized containers--I am talking what they would consider family sized--so that I have to cram 4 or 5 of them in my freezer just to keep up with our family’s demand (well yes, there are just two of us, three if you count the cat). They also have a habit of rotating flavors constantly, so just when you get emotionally involved with one, it abandons you. Happily, something else irresistible takes its place and you tomber amoureuse all over again. Also, the French ice cream manages to be better yet has a lower fat content. That alone, mes amies, is reason enough to move to France.
But oh, the Italians! That rapturous gelato, how DO they do it? There is nothing that can equal it. And those fabulous displays, big chilled stainless tubs with the gelato artfully twirled, and then styled with a little fresh fruit or chocolate sauce, or drizzled with caramel. I’m restraining myself from hopping in the car to cross the border as we speak.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking for a dinner party, I kind of fizzle out toward the end, when dessert prep rolls around. But in the summer, it’s easy--ice cream! I’m always looking for ways to jazz it up a bit.
So I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit that reminded me of Nutty Buddys, also called Drumsticks. Remember these, from your childhood? Vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone with chopped peanuts on top, all sealed up in paper, from the Ice Cream Man? They’re still popular here in France, they’re called cornets, and they come in all sorts of flavors at our supermarché (Frank, the pistachio with chocolate is the best one. Sorry.) So why not make our own Nutty Buddys? Here is how. I am happy to tell you that I have experimented heavily on your behalf. They’re easy, and I’m guessing my grandkids are going to love helping make these on their next visit.
RECIPE: Les Jazzy Cornets
Get some good sugar cones and your favorite flavor of ice cream. Scoop out the ice cream to make fat, pretty cones, then put them in the freezer. That’s the tricky part. I stand them up in short narrow glasses, but does anyone have a better idea?
Freeze them for a couple of hours. Then melt a bar of good chocolate, about 8 oz or 200 grams, with 2 T vegetable oil. Dip the tops of the cones generously in the cooled chocolate, then sprinkle with chopped nuts, toasted if you like. Put them back in the freezer; the chocolate will set up quickly. When they’re frozen hard you can wrap them up if you want, but I find they stay just fine unwrapped in the freezer for a couple of days, which is as long as they’re going to last anyway.
Here are some good combinations: coffee with walnuts, mint with peanuts, cherry with pistachios, coconut with macadamias, peach with white chocolate and almonds, butter pecan with pecans.
I’d serve these in an Ice Cream Cone Holder I’m going to slip one into my suitcase, next US trip. But for now I lay them down on a plate, with berries or mint to garnish.
Or course no one at your party will mind if you just bring out several containers of ice cream and start scooping cones to order, with a choice of dips, like sprinkles, nuts, or toasted coconut. And watch the kid in everyone pop right out.
Favorite Read/films: This week, recommendations from readers. Mark likes the film Angel-A about a tall French blonde and a short Algerian with chemistry, oh la la! Katherine has just revisited her favorite double feautre, the sad but wonderul Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring with beautiful scenery of Provence. Based on a famous French novel, these are classics. Sue recommends a book, David McCullough's The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, about American artists, doctors, musicians, sculptors who went to Paris between 1830 and 1900 to improve their talents and bring the knowledge back to the US. Thanks, Dear Readers, these go right to the top of my to read/watch list.
Our Reader's Blogs: Francophiles, you will LOVE Ido's blog, ARCE French of Heart. She shares her vintage French passions, and loves to take flea market finds and doll them up into something wonderful. And if you're into chickens, check out Dale's blog in New Brunswick Canada for a cute 'chick flick', http://dalecaldersblog.blogspot.com/.
And as always, MERCI for the lovely comments, and please stay in touch.