October 10, 2013

salt and straw style: almond brittle with salted ganache ice cream recipe

The other day I had a craving for ice cream, but not just any kind of ice cream, one that would require traveling over 600 miles to get to. Please allow me to tell you about this wonderful place. Salt and Straw is an ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon and it is amazing. It's probably my favorite even over the ice cream shops in SF (BiRite, Humphrey Slocombe, M&M Miscellaneous, Smitten, etc). The flavors are unique, delicious, and the vibe is reminiscent of an old ice cream shop. C'mon, with flavors like bone marrow and smoked cherry, pear with blue cheese, or cheddar apple pie how could you not love it already? I had a friend recently come back from Portland and he had a seasonal sea urchin flavor!

Aside from the unique and seasonal flavors they have some staple, year-round flavors and the almond brittle with salted ganache happens to be one of them. I absolutely fell in love with it when I tried it. So much so that I had to go back the next day to get more. Needless to say, this is why I had to try to recreate it. About a year ago I attempted and got a pretty close match so now with a little work I can curb the craving whenever I want... aaaaand now you can too!

Salt and Straw style almond brittle with salted ganache ice cream:

Almond brittle (I like to make this a day ahead)
1 cup of chopped, unsalted almonds
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup water

Warm sugar and water in saucepan on medium heat until it's liquified and turned a nice amber brown (be careful not to burn, it can turn quite quickly). Once it's an amber brown color, lower heat, stir in the chopped almonds then remove from heat and spread onto parchment paper lined baking sheet to cool. Spread it so there's one layer of almonds (not piled high) so it's easier to break up later. Once cool, break into large pieces, place in a sealed ziplock bag, place dish towel over bag, and use mallet or meat tenderizer to break. You should have pieces that are anywhere from the size of a garbanzo bean and slightly bigger. Put brittle in the fridge so it's cold when you add it to the ice cream.

Salted Ganache
1/4 heaping cup or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt (I like a little more than 1/4 a teaspoon salt in mine, but taste test it and see if you like more)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Add all ingredients to double boiler and melt to smooth consistency. Taste for saltiness (I like a tiny bit more salt than 1/4 teaspoon in mine). Let ganache sit out for at least 30-45 minutes to cool before adding to ice cream. Once cooled add ganache to a piping bag (or ziplock) and use a smaller tip. You don't want to pipe a huge glob into the ice cream because it will freeze as one big glob, so use a tip that will pipe roughly the circumference of a pencil.

Ice Cream base

The ice cream base I used is David Lebovitz's vanilla bean recipe sans vanilla bean (I just used vanilla extract). I also used 2% milk instead of whole (because that's all I had) and six eggs instead of five because I can't count.

Tip: Most ice cream recipes say to leave the ice cream mix in the fridge overnight to chill, but I never plan that far ahead so I always chill the ice cream in an ice bath (just put the bowl over a bigger bowl filled with ice and water and stir the mixture to cool it) to make it really cold and then go straight into the ice cream maker.

Putting all the ingredients together

Follow the instructions on your ice cream machine to make your ice cream. Mine is a Cuisinart and works great. Once it's ready add in half the almond brittle and just let it run long enough to mix (if you leave your ice cream mixing for too long you'll have butter so the ice cream should look slightly frozen and be able to loosely hold it's shape, but not completely like solid ice cream). Shut off machine. Scoop some of the ice cream in a container and pipe in some ganache (I did mine in random lines and squiggles). Add more ice cream on top, then pipe more ganache. Repeat about three to four times or until all the ice cream is in the container. Try to work quickly doing this so the ice cream doesn't melt too much. Freeze container for 8-10 hours before serving. Serve in bowls or cones and top with remaining almond brittle. You will have a smooth and creamy, deliciously sweet and slightly salty treat. So, so good.

The ice cream will keep for about a week, but I'm sure it will be gone before then. :)

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