In recent years several small producers of ice cream and sorbet have popped up in Chicago. Folks dedicated to small(ish) production and local, seasonal ingredients. They are good, and certainly way ahead of anything you might buy at the supermarket. One of them is truly exceptional: Snookelfritz Ice Cream.
This ice cream with a funny name is made in Chicago by Nancy Silver (not to be confused with Nancy Silverton), who has worked as a pastry chef both in Chicago and Los Angeles. The lady is serious about her ice cream and the product reflects her passion. Her ice cream is different than any other I have tasted— fresher, more delicious, and more complex. It tastes like someone, not something, made it. It is the only ice cream that I like better than my own (wink!).
The raspberry and rose flavor she made this summer was one of the best things I have ever eaten, I could finish a pint on my own. Bryan is obsessed with the Roasted Delicata Squash and Brown Sugar that was around during the Autumn. I would find him alone in the kitchen eating it out of the container and smiling. A recent favorite was an espresso ice cream with hazelnut nougat. You get the picture– it is pretty phenomenal stuff.
Bryan and I got to know Nancy through the farmers market, she is great and easy to talk to (and very generous with the samples). I was so pleased when she agreed to share a holiday recipe for this Espresso Ice Cream “Sundae” with Red Wine Poached Cherries, Espresso Scented Amaretti and Shaved Chocolate (!!!) with all of us. This is typical of the sort of sophisticated but completely un-silly thing she does. It is perfect. A spectacular dessert that you will impress yourself with. I think it would be wonderful served at the end of a holiday meal, a refreshing break from tradition. Here is what Nancy had to say about it:
I love parfaits and composed sundaes with a seasonal twist. I did a very popular one on my dessert menu at MOD years ago, and have been doing lots of different variations ever since. This one is especially nice for the holidays, as it can be assembled ahead to save time.
And of course, I asked her to answer the Lottie + Doof Food Quiz:
Sweet or salty?
That’s tough….Can I say that I love both equally?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla (unless it is gianduja chocolate, that trumps everything!)
Hot or mild?
What won’t you eat?
Well, I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian so that rules out a whole category of things. But, in terms of things I “could” eat, I would say dill and parsnips–I don’t like either.
Most memorable meal?
Well, it’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say that when I was twenty years old and studying overseas, we took a trip to Jordan. We were in Petra hiking all day in 110 degree weather and boarding in someone’s home. After a long day of hiking in the incredibly hot weather, our hosts cooked us the most amazingly fresh and abundant meal of local, traditional foods. It was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had and I will never forget it. Also, my first meal at Matsuhisa. Chef Nobu is amazing.
Favorite object in your kitchen?
My Taylor ice cream machine, of course.
What are you scared of in the kitchen?
Ha, well I’ve worked with a few chefs over the years that have scared me a bit…but I’ll keep their names to myself.
Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?
When you are in the kitchen with someone you have good chemistry with, there is nothing better! But, I will say, when I am spinning a bunch of ice cream, it is also nice to be in there alone and just zone out to NPR all day.
What country would you travel to for the food?
Well, I just got back from Italy two weeks ago, so there’s that. But next, I would really like to go to Turkey.
If you were to come back as a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
Okra, it is my favorite and really under utilized I think.
What’s for dinner?
Homemade orecchiette with delicata squash, roasted chestnuts, pecorino and sage.
For those of you lucky enough to live in Chicago you can find Snookelfritz at Green City Market, Chicago Farm Stand, City Provisions and Cipollina. You can also enjoy Nancy’s ice cream at the Violet Hour (one of my favorite places). For those of you not in Chicago, you have another reason to visit as well as this recipe.
I know you might be getting tired of me saying this, but homemade ice cream is so far superior to most of the stuff you buy in grocery stores that it is almost not worth comparing. After years of making my own ice cream, I honestly can’t eat the industrial/commercial stuff. Machines can be found on sale for between $60-$80 and that investment remains one of the smartest things I have ever done. So much joy! Do it!
I made this over a couple of days. It is easy to put together, but does take some time. This makes a pretty big batch of ice cream, which won’t necessarily fit in everyone’s ice cream makers so I included measurements for a smaller (1.75 quart) version which should work just fine in most home machines, those measurements are in parenthesis).
A huge thank you to Nancy Silver for this wonderful for recipe!
Espresso Ice Cream “Sundae” with Red Wine Poached Cherries, Espresso Scented Amaretti and Shaved Chocolate (recipe by Nancy Silver of Snookelfritz Ice Cream)
Espresso Ice Cream:
- 3 ½ cups heavy cream (2 1/2 cups)
- 2 ½ cups whole milk (1 1/2 cups)
- 12 large egg yolks (8 yolks)
- 10 ½ ounces sugar (7 oz)
- ¾ cup whole espresso beans (I use Intelligentsia) (1/2 cup)
- 2 shots espresso (2oz), plus extra for soaking amaretti if desired (1.5 oz espresso)
- pinch salt (pinch of salt)
1. Heat cream, milk, salt and sugar to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot. Add espresso beans, cover and let rest to infuse about twenty minutes, or till desired flavor is achieved.
2. In the meantime, in a separate bowl prepare your 12 egg yolks. Reserve 2 whites for amaretti cookies.
3. After cream mixture is infused to the desired strength, remove beans, add 2 shots of espresso and bring mixture back up to a simmer.
4. Slowly temper the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
5. Return the base to your pot and continue to cook over medium-low heat. Be sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon till your base is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
6. Chill base and strain through a fine mesh strainer when cool. Let the base rest over night and then freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- 8 ounces almond paste, broken in several pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
1. In a food processor, combine almond paste and sugar. Pulse till almond paste is broken up and all large lumps are broken down. Be sure not to over work as almond paste can easily separate and become oily.
2. While food processor is running, slowly stream in egg whites. Being sure to scrape the sides to make sure mixture is uniform.
3. Place amaretti batter in a piping bag fit with a plain tip. Pipe out 1 inch sized cookies onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (*Hint: if you pipe a small amount of batter onto each corner of the sheet pan it will help your parchment lie flat and stick to the sheet pan)
4. Bake at 350 degrees till cookies are golden and dried out, about 20 minutes.
Red Wine Cherries:
- ½ pound dried cherries (I suggest Seedling Farm)
- 1 half bottle sweet red wine (375 ml), such as port or late harvest zinfandel
1. Heat wine to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot.
2. Add cherries and reduce heat to a low simmer.
3. Continue cooking till cherries are plump and wine has reduced to a syrup consistency. Chill and reserve.
- chilled parfait glasses (or glasses of your choice)
- shaved chocolate
- espresso or strong coffee for dipping amaretti**
**For a stronger espresso flavor, you can soak your amaretti in espresso. For a crunchier texture, roughly chop amaretti and reserve—or do a combination of both!
To assemble, layer your parfait glasses with alternating scoops of ice cream, amaretti and dried cherries. For the prettiest presentation, be sure to place plenty of cookies and cherries on the sides of your glasses so you can see the distinct colors/layers. Before serving, garnish top with shaved chocolate, additional cherries and a few crushed amaretti crumbs. These can be built ahead of time and reserved in the freezer overnight if desired.