Blueberries meet basil. Basil meet coconut. Our third exploration for the Blueberries Meet their Match Recipe contest found us experiencing a series of firsts and lessons learned – making the end result all the sweeter.
First time to . . . make ice cream, use a krumkake iron and open a coconut!
Coconut lessons . . .
- We recently witnessed Chef Jennie Staines of Elvi’s Kitchen from San Pedro, Belize effortlessly open a coconut by knocking it with the back of a cleaver. Since we didn’t have a cleaver on hand, we thought a heavy 12″ chef’s knife would be a good substitute. Wrong – it didn’t make a dent. Youtube tutorial to the rescue, we cracked that nut with a screwdriver and a hammer. Easy.
- Second coconut lesson – some coconuts go bad. Cloudy water and a soft brownish meat inside is an ick giveaway. Though this was a disappointing conclusion to our first coconut cracking experience, luckily we were prepared with a backup bag of sweetened flaked coconut.
- Toasted coconut simmering in half-and-half is an aromatically decadent experience.
Pizzelle (or Krumkake) lessons . . .
- A pizzelle (Italian) and krumkake (Norwegian) are basically the same thing. Same tools, same recipe, different name.
- They’re easier to make than it might seem. All you need is a pizzelle (or krumkake) iron. If you don’t have a thoughtful brother to give you one (as Jacque does – thanks, Todd) you can find one here .
- Don’t overfill the iron – 2 tablespoons really will do it! Otherwise you’re looking at a mess, and maybe a tiny fire (not to worry, it was quickly extinguished).
- Pizzelles don’t like humidity. We set ours out to cool on parchment next to an open window on a rainy afternoon. They crisped up as they cooled and then softened right back up as they absorbed. Fortunately, there’s a solution for that, too. They can be re-cripsed by preheating the oven to 300 degrees then turning it off, placing pizzelles on a cookie sheet on the middle rack for 15 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool, and they’re good as new!
- Like muffins and pancakes, delicately sweet pizzelles are even better with blueberries mixed in to the batter!
- Jacque’s krumkake iron came with a wooden cone for rolling conical pizzelles. We couldn’t resist trying it out for our ice cream cones – which brings us to pizzelle lesson no. 6 – they’re hot right off the iron! Always first cover your hand with a thick towel and slide the pizzelle onto the towel then gently wrap it around the cone until it cools enough to hold its shape. 10-20 seconds.
- If your wooden cone is a little too large to allow for a tight wrap at the bottom, as ours was, a blueberry dropped in makes a perfect plug for ice cream drips.
- Though its a series of simple steps, making ice cream takes a lot longer than we expected (this likely varies by churner). We used a Cuisinart and found that one needed to plan ahead by 2 days (16-20 hours for freezing the canister, and 4-24 hours for freezing the ice cream after churning).
- To avoid slight crystallization of the texture, cool the ice cream mixture before churning as long as possible (1-24 hours), and don’t overfill the canister – 3/4 full is good (make two batches if necessary), and churn until it thickens, if possible. But don’t worry if it doesn’t thicken enough during churning (as I did), it will harden when you freeze it.
- Ice cream lesson no. 3 – it was well worth the wait – toasted coconut, basil and blueberry are a positively scrumptuous match.