pumpkin ice cream with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar drizzle

pumpkin ice cream with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar drizzle | A Brown Table

Good news guys! We got a house. After months of hunting in this crazy San Francisco/Bay Area market, it finally happened earlier this week. I'm looking forward to having my own kitchen and doing whatever the heck I want in my own space. Painting the walls any color I want, whenever I want, etc. etc. One headache down and I'm now jumping into the next one (thought it's an exciting one), renovations, so wish me luck! 

You can make an ice cream out of a lot of things and though it might be getting chilly in some parts, ice cream is still and always a good idea! Every year, I love to make one special ice cream that's fall inspired and this year, it's all about pumpkins! This roasted pumpkin ice cream has a little bit of creamy labneh blended in to give it a fresh tangy flavor but there's also this deep and dark, sweet balsamic and maple syrup reduction that you might just want to drizzle over every scoop, again and again. 

To get the recipe and learn how to make this ice cream, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!

pumpkin ice cream with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar drizzle

Disclaimer: Thank you West Elm for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely mine. 

broiled figs with labneh panna cotta

broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table

I have one single fig on the little dwarf tree we bought last year. Just one....It started out with four but three didn't make it, they just dried and fell off. Now, I have one which I'm guarding like a hawk. One day, I will make a better home gardener....I hope.

If there's one thing the my world doesn't have enough of, it's figs. Big, fat, chubby and juicy bags of sweetness. They've been especially hard to find this summer and the ones, I've come across haven't been that good. But last week, I lucked out and decided to eat my weight in figs. And I have no regrets! 

Honey drizzled over fresh figs is probably my favorite way to eat them, the sprinkling of salt flakes is optional but the honey is what makes it magical. I kept the same theme here in this very simple labneh based panna cotta. I've flavored the panna cotta with orange blossom water and sweetened it lightly with a little honey. But the main sweetness in this dessert comes from broiling the fresh figs which helps to concentrate the sugar and add a nice caramel flavor to the fruit. And of course a little extra drizzle of honey before eating it!

broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table
broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this dessert that you might find useful,

  • You can choose to serve the panna cotta in the jars or release them from the mold. To do the latter, you will need to spray the inner surface of the jar with a little neutral tasting oil and then pour the liquid in and allow it to set firm in the refrigerator. You can then release the panna cotta by running a knife along the edges of the pudding or simply just tapping it gently over a serving plate. I do however, recommend using a smaller volume if you want to release it from the mold, the weight doesn't make the pudding collapse as easy.
  • You could add a tiny pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes over the figs but that is a bit of an overkill here as the pistachios I use are already salted.
  • I used whole milk and full fat labneh here for a creamier taste. Low-fat should work too.
  • Experiment with flavored honeys for more complex tastes. I used clover but there are so many other lovely varieties to pair in this dish.

Since fig season is short you might want to make the most of it with these recipes:

broiled figs with labneh panna cotta | A Brown Table

broiled figs with labneh panna cotta

yields: 4 servings

ingredients 

1 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons honey + extra for drizzling

1 packet gelatin

6 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

1 lb labneh, lightly whipped

8 large figs, fresh, firm and ripe

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 toasted salted pistachios, whole

1. Place the milk in a small saucepan along with the honey and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat. While the milk is boiling, sprinkle the gelatin in a small mixing bowl containing the water. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 5 minutes. 

2. Once the milk has boiled and the honey is dissolved, remove from stove and stir it while warm into the bowl containing the bloomed gelatin.

3. Pour the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl containing the labneh. Whisk to combine evenly. Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and pour it into serving jars or bowls. Cover the mouth of each jar with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 hours until firm.

4. Set a wire rack in the upper level of the oven and set to broil. Take the figs and slice them in half. Brush a baking dish with a little olive oil and place the figs, sliced surface up. Broil for about 3 to 4 minutes until the figs are lightly golden brown and slightly caramelized on the surface. Remove from oven and keep aside until ready to assemble the dessert.

5. Take the pistachios and remove them from the shells (if present). Crumble the pistachio meat with a knife or a rolling pin and keep aside.

6. Unwrap the jars containing the panna cotta. Place about 4 broiled figs halves over each jar containing the panna cotta and sprinkle the pistachio crumble. Drizzle with honey and serve immediately. 

cherry labneh/creme kefir ice cream

cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table

I stare into the empty vacuum, it's a soulless void, a black hole that holds nothing. Happiness is non-existent and it looks sad. Yes, that's what's inside an empty cone, when I look into it. While cleaning out one of the cupboards in the kitchen and I found a few cones sitting sadly, all forgotten. They needed a soul in the form of something sweet and frozen. To fill this empty cone, I made ice cream over the weekend. A thick and creamy ice cream with streaks of sweet and tart red cherry sauce embedded in a white, creamy soft frozen bed of labneh ice cream. 

On it's own, creme kefir/labneh (labne) is very tasty. Smooth, creamy with the tanginess of yogurt and a velvet texture to go along with every loaded spoon, that's the best way I think I can describe it! Combine this with the sweet and tart flavor profile of cherries and it's an ice cream that I want to eat all summer long. Cones or no cones! With cherry season in full swing, you might want to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that's available for the next few weeks (I really hate that it's a short season) but for those times when you can't find fresh cherries this recipe can be still be made if you can find the frozen ones at the store. 

I have some exciting news to share with you, I'm a contributor at Team Yogurt and if you like yogurt and are looking for fun and new interesting ways to incorporate it into your diet, head over to my friend Cheryl's site for a whole collection of recipes from some very amazing and talented people. You'll be pleasantly happy to see recipes from all over the world that you can try out at home that are easy to prepare and tasty to eat!

cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table
cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table
cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table
cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table
cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table
cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table

Here are some of kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream;

  • It is critical to have everything chilled when adding the acidic labneh kefir to the ice cream base. Otherwise things can curdle. Move quickly once it is added and pour it into the prepared frozen canister of your ice cream maker.
  • After you add the cornstarch slurry to the ice cream base you can pass the ice cream base through a strainer to remove any clumps. 
  • Frozen cherries will save you a lot of extra time and hassle. But you can use fresh seasonal cherries too, just remember to chill the sauce before folding it into the ice cream base.
  • Kirsch helps to amplify the cherry flavor in the ice cream but it also helps prevent ice crystal formation during freezing. 
  • The sauce I use in this ice cream is very simple to make and doesn't require any cooking. 

Some other desserts you might be interested in;

cherry labneh kefir ice cream | A Brown Table

cherry labneh kefir ice cream

yields: around 2.5 pints 

ingredients

3 cups whole milk + 3 tablespoons

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup fine grain sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 tablespoons kirsch 

12 ounces cherries frozen or fresh, pits and stems removed

4 tablespoons honey

8 ounces creme kefir (labneh/labne)

1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I used 54%)

1. Place the 3 cups milk, heavy cream and sugar in a thick-bottomed deep saucepan. Heat the contents of the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar. 

2. While the milk is boiling, quickly make a slurry of the cornstarch with the 3 tablespoons milk. Quickly whisk this slurry into the boiling milk and allow to boil with constant stirring until the mixture thickens for around 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer to a clean gallon ziplock bag and chill completely in an ice-water bath for 35 minutes.

3. While the ice cream base is chilling, place the labneh kefir in a large mixing bowl. Whisk it for 30 seconds and then pour in 1/2 cup of the chilled ice cream base along with the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of kirsch. Whisk to combine. Then slowly whisk the mixture in the bowl until it is smooth and combined evenly while pouring the chilled ice cream base in a thin steady stream. Pour the entire chilled mixture into the prepare frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn the ice cream.

4. In the meantime prepare the cherry sauce. Place the frozen cherries (note if you use fresh cherries, then prepare this sauce and pre-chill for at least 1 hour before folding it into the ice cream base) in a blender. Add the remaining kirsch and honey. Pulse until combined (about 30 seconds, three times). Remove and transfer the sauce. Keep chilled until ready to use. 

5. Transfer half of the ice cream into an airtight freezer safe container. Pour half of the chilled cherry sauce over the ice cream and half of the chocolate chips. Repeat the layers with the remaining ice cream, cherry sauce and chocolate chips. Using a knife or spoon, stir the mixture to create swirls of cherry sauce and ice cream. Don't over-mix or you'll end up with a uniform pinkish ice cream. (the swirls make the texture more interesting, both visually and taste-wise). Keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to firm up before serving.