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Creme fraiche ice cream with Nutella

I realized after lying sick in bed yesterday that oh! it was World Nutella Day! So given I was feeling somewhat better, I decided to whip up a batch of ice cream because as we all know, nothing makes you feel better like ice cream.

I decided to swirl Nutella into one of my favorite flavors: creme fraiche. The trick to swirling in flavors into ice cream is to layer it in the container rather than adding the stir-in into the ice cream maker itself. It keeps the ice cream separated so it doesn’t just turn the whole ice cream chocolatey. (Not that I mind that so much.)

Creme fraiche ice cream with Nutella

I noticed that the texture of Nutella varies from country to country. Here it’s not very syrupy, so I would suggest adding just a bit of water at a time until you get a texture a wee bit thicker than chocolate sauce. I noticed that the Nutella became pretty firm in the freezer when I added too much in a single spot.

The tangy creme fraiche cuts through the sweetness of the Nutella. I could. Not. Stop. Eating. Straight from the ice cream maker. I’d say that would be a make again recipe, wouldn’t you?

Creme fraiche ice cream with Nutella
adapted from David Lebovitz
makes about 1 quart or 1 liter

1 cup (230 ml) whole milk
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (130 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (475 ml) creme fraiche
1 generous cup of Nutella

First, make the custard. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until it’s steaming. Pour the milk over the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Add the milk/egg mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula. When the mixture thickens (at around 190 F) and coats the back of the spatula, pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Chill the mixture in the fridge for a few hours until cold.
When ready to freeze in the ice cream maker, stir in the creme fraiche. Chill in the ice cream maker as directed and the ice cream is thickened.
Meanwhile, stir the Nutella (adding a little bit of water) until it can pour in a ribbon from a spoon. It’ll seize up when you first add the water, but don’t worry, just keep stirring and it’ll come back together.
Add a layer of Nutella to the bottom of the container you will be placing the ice cream in.
When the ice cream is done freezing, add a layer of ice cream over the Nutella, then a layer of Nutella, then ice cream.
Freeze for at least 2 hours.

World Nutella Day
Ms. Adventures in Italy
Bleeding Espresso

Merry Christmas!
Cinnamon ornaments

Cinnamon Christmas ornaments

I know it’s a bit late to be posting a recipe for Christmas ornaments, but I figured if everyone is like me, you have another week of Christmas tree. These are a great way to keep the kids busy during that time off (or at least it will kill an afternoon of boredom), and they can be used next year as well.

My kids and I made these ornaments last year, and they, incredibly, still have a strong cinnamon smell. The Christmas tree smells amazing. We stored them in a plastic container with all the other Christmas ornaments. Just make sure not to eat them!

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
makes a couple dozen cookie-shaped ornaments

We decorated these with a standard royal icing, which also hardens and keeps really well.

For ornaments:
1/2 cup applesauce (120ml)
1/4 cup glue (such as Elmers) (60ml)
1 cup ground cinnamon (about 100g)

For icing:
1 large egg white
1-1/3 cup powdered sugar (150g)

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until it forms a dough.
  2. Turn out on a flat surface.
  3. Sprinkle a cutting board with a little bit of cinnamon, and roll 1/4 of the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Make sure to poke a hole in the ornament with a straw to make a hole for hanging them.
  5. Transfer the shapes to parchment paper. Dry in a 200 F (90 C) oven for 2 hours.
  6. Whisk together the royal icing ingredients.
  7. Decorate the ornaments with royal icing.

Cinnamon Christmas ornaments

Wordless Wednesday: Rural
Philippines edition

In the Philippine countryside, May 2010.

Plastic bottle lanterns

A carabao called Tizoy

Ube (purple yam)

Tiny bananas, Tagaytay, Philippines

Sardines, Aparri Public Market, Philippines

On the farm

Local prawns

Longanisa from Cagayan Valley

Rockin the Aquino ticket

Future lechon

Maple oatmeal scones

The maple syrup that I’ve been able to find here has generally been disappointing. Yes, it’s maple syrup, but I think it’s the equivalent of Grade A Light in North America. My favorite is U.S. Grade A Dark Amber because it has really strong maple flavor, which is perfect for baking. (Wikipedia breaks down maple syrup grades here.) So, as you can imagine, if you are visiting us from the States, you will be schlepping maple syrup with you. And again, apologies to those of you who have had maple syrup bottles break in your luggage on the way over. And yes, this has in fact happened TWICE. (We have some maple-scented books to prove it.)

These are my favorite scones on a chilly day. There’s something about maple, pecans and oatmeal that says autumn.

Maple Oatmeal Scones
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
makes about 12 triangular scones

1-1/2 cups (130g) regular oatmeal (not quick or instant, and not steel-cut)
1-1/2 cups (210g) AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (80g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup butter (165g), cold, cut into small squares
1/2 cup heavy cream (120ml)
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans (50g)

For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (50g)
1/4 cup maple syrup (60ml)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Spread the oatmeal and pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. Remove 2 tablespoons of the oats for dusting your prep surface later.
  2. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 C) and preheat.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together the cream and egg. Remove 1 tablespoon of the liquid for glazing, and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Scatter the chunks of cold butter over the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
  5. Stir in the oats mixture, then stir in the cream/egg mixture. Fold with a spatula until the dough clumps together into a mass.
  6. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons reserved oats on a cutting board. Spread the dough out on the surface, patting it into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle (20 x 25 cm). Cut it in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 5-6 scones. Set the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the scones with the reserved egg/cream liquid.
  7. Bake the scones for 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a rack and cool to room temperature.
  8. Prepare the glaze: Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and syrup. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scone. (The glaze will harden a bit in a few minutes.)

Nectarine berry pie


One of my favorite combinations for fruit desserts is nectarines with berries. I end up using nectarines more frequently than peaches because, well, I’m lazy: nectarines, unlike peaches, don’t require peeling. The skins are thinner so they aren’t so noticeable when baked in a dessert, so it’s a great fruit for quick desserts like crumbles and cobblers.

I love the nectarine/berry combination in a classic pie crust. For this crust I used all butter, and using a tip from Cooks Illustrated, replaced some of the water with sour cream so the crust is more tender.

I used strawberries for this recipe, but as they are no longer in season in most places (we are seeing the last of local strawberries this September for some reason), other berries – especially blueberries – go well with it. It’s also delicious if you want to skip the berries — just add another nectarine and adjust the sugar.

Sooooo good with ice cream.


Nectarine and berry pie

For the crust:
2-1/2 cups AP flour (175 g)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 225g) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water

For the filling:
3 medium nectarines, pitted and sliced into eighths
2 cups strawberries or other berries (blueberries are nice)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch lemon zest

Making the crust:

  1. Stir together the sour cream and water.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Don’t mix too much; you should still have some larger pea-sized chunks of butter.
  3. Stir in half the sour cream mixture with a fork. Add the rest of the mixture if the dough still seems too dry (it should come together and be just a little bit sticky.)
  4. Form into 2 disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Make the filling:

  1. Place the berries (if you are using them) in a large bowl. Put the nectarines in a medium saucepan with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Sir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, allowing the juice to thicken.
  2. Turn the mixture out into the berries and stir to mix. Taste for sweetness. If not sweet enough, add a bit of sugar. If it’s too sweet, add a bit of lemon juice. Set aside to cool slightly.

Put them together:

  1. Roll out each disk of dough on a floured surface about 11 inches in diameter. Set the bottom round into the pie pan.
  2. Add the filling.
  3. Add the top of the pie crust. Press the edges of the crusts together and crimp them shut.Make slits in the top of pie crust so that it can release steam while baking. Brush the top with a little bit of egg white or milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F (180 C). Set the pie on a large cookie sheet (just in case it bubbles over). Bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.
  5. Set on a cooling rack and allow to cool until just warm. This is great with ice cream.


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