I was wandering around the library one day, looking through their cookbooks of course, and found one that I actually hadn't seen there before. It is called From Artichoke To Za'atar by Greg and Lucy Malouf. Greg Malouf is the executive chef of MoMo in Melbourne, Australia where he showcases his wonderful dishes. I wanted to make so many of the recipes in this book I actually considered not returning it to the library! Bad girl!
One of the first recipes in the book is for Almond Fritters and that recipe led me to the Burnt Honey Ice Cream which led me to The Sticky Ginger Cake. That's how this cook book works. Cool, huh? I haven't tried making the fritters yet but they sound amazing and their recommended accompaniment, as well as for the cake, is this ice cream which I can't find words to describe.
As many of you already know that I don't bake very often but every once in a while something different and special pops up on my radar screen and I have to make it. This is one of those times I'm glad I did. Very very glad.
This is a beautiful book and layed out in an encyclopedic fashion rather than in a traditional cookbook format (it literally goes from A to Z). And the recipes! Oh the recipes! They are not the traditional recipes of old, thankfully, but they contain the remnants of the past or the essence, if you will, of times long ago and simultaneously standing firm in the here-and-now with a focus on the future.
Recipe: Sticky-Ginger Cake And Burnt-Honey Ice Cream
From "From Artichokes to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food.
By Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf; University of California Press.
Published in 1999, 2nd Run in 2006 and 3rd run in 2008.
Recipe: The Cake
"This cake uses both fresh grated ginger and dred ginger powder. It is deliciously moist, and mouth-tinglingly hot and gingery. Serve warm as a snack or turn it into dessert with a generous dollop of creme fraiche, Ginger Cream or Burnt Honey Ice Cream."
2/3 cup molasses or golden syrup
1.5 cups sour cream
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
10 ounces (2-1/4 sticks) butter
1-1/3 cups plain flour
1-1/3 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 tablespoons unsalted, shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease an 8" Springform pan.
Whisk together the molasses, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs, grated ginger, and lemon zest. melt the butter and whisk into the mixture. Twice sift the flours, baking powder, salt and ginger powder. Fold into the warm batter, whisking gently if necessary to break down any residual lumps of flour. The batter will be fairly runny.
Tip it into a well-greased 8-inch springform pan and bake in the center of oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Soak the pistachios in boiling water for 2 minutes, then use a very sharp knife to peel away the skins. Pat dry and chop finely. Sprinkle over the top of the cake and serve.
Recipe: The Ice Cream
"Carmelizing honey just to the point of burning takes it from super sweet to the very edge of bitterness. It makes a very rich ice cream."
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons honey
2 cups milk
1 quart cream
8 egg yolks
Dissolve 1/2 cup of the sugar with the water and boil until it reaches 234-degrees on a candy thermometer. This takes approximately 8 minutes. Then add the honey and cook to a dark caramel, which will take an additional 8-10 minutes. Be careful that it does not burn, and remember that the residual heat will continue to cook it once you remove it from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pan bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks with the remaning sugar. Slowly temper the egg yolks while whisking then add everything to the pot. Mix in the caramel and stir over a very gentle heat until it thickens. You should be able to draw a clear line through the custard on the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool in a sink of cold ice water, stirring from time to time. When the custard is completely cold, pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacture's instructions.