13 April 2008

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich (with title)
As I've explained before, I'm currently studying for the US Medical Boards, so there won't be as many entries on here until at least September. But I'm still cooking every now and then. It feels a little weird to be restudying everything for the nth time in your life, but even after the thousandth patient encounter there are still some bugs you never get to see (things that can only be found in Western countries). You just read the facts and pray that it sticks to your head even if you don't have a reference point.

Although I've only been baking since last year, I feel extremely confident when taking on a new project, which is every time (no repeats, please). However, even when you play it safe with flavors (chocolate, berries, lemons, blah blah), out of the blue you will be hit by an unknown bug and turn out a complete dud. So much for learning, so much for confidence. That's what happened with this ice cream sandwich-- I adapted it from Chocolatier Magazine. It's supposed to be white chocolate poundcake with chocolate-raspberry jam ganache and peanut butter ice cream in between, but I made this before I had an ice cream maker and there's no such thing as peanut butter ice cream here. Gleefully thinking to myself, "I'm so clever!" I switched it around and made a half-ganache-half-peanut butter mix and used commercial strawberry ice cream. BIG MISTAKE. This is why they never compare the taste of ice cream and jam-- strawberry ice cream is extremely insipid, and has little of the sharpness, tartness, and bite of strawberry jam. Peanut butter and chocolate also do not always go together. For one thing, it tasted bitter and salty and just weird. Just.... Gross all around. Maybe I would have fared better if I used milk chocolate, but I've already learned my lesson. This combination deserves a natural death. Don't let that turn you off to the white chocolate poundcake, though: even if it's my first poundcake, it still worked like a charm and tastes pleasantly sweet and milky, with a dense crumb, like good poundcake should be. Use it for straight eating, or sandwich some jam in the middle.

White Chocolate Poundcake adapted from Chocolatier Magazine

  • 270g (2 cups) cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 225g (2 sticks or 1 cup) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

  • 300g (1-1/2 cups) granulated sugar

  • 5 large eggs

  • 110g (4 ounces) white chocolate, melted and cooled

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 160°C (325°F). Grease and flour a 9"x5"x3" standard loaf pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I just used a hand mixer of course), beat the butter until creamy, about 30-45 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as necessary. If at any time the mixture looks oily while adding the eggs, stop adding them for a bit and beat the mixture at high speed until it regains its creamy appearance.

Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Take one cup of the batter and add it to the melted chocolate in a small bowl and stir in the vanilla until well-combined. Return this batter back into the mixer bowl and fold until well-combined. Turn into the prepared loaf pan, level the top roughly and bake until a skewer through the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20-25 minutes. Do not open the oven door until the fissure appears in the center. I baked mine in a Pyrex loaf dish (we don't have metal ones of that size), so I ended up baking mine for 1 hour and 35 minutes-- just start checking early on for doneness. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then unmold and let the cake cool completely. Wrap tightly in cling film and then with foil if you don't plan on eating it immediately, but the cake is best eaten within a few days.

To make sliced ice cream for the filling, beat a quart of ice cream with the paddle attachment until softened, then repack into the loaf pan and freeze. When firm, slice into the desired thickness.

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