When the weather reaches the 90s, I crave homemade ice cream. But as cool and refreshing as this cold treat can be, making ice cream custard is a bit of a hot and steamy affair. Normally I wouldn't flinch from standing over a pot on the stove while I whisked eggs and cream together, but this week I just wanted the chilly result of creamy ice cream without the fuss.
Now I've made ice cream using only heavy whipping cream and fruit before, but I wanted something with more substance. Remembering some lovely cannolis I had at Stella's a few weeks ago when my mom was visiting, I began to wonder what ricotta ice cream would taste like. After all, cannoli filing is rich and luscious and doesn't contain eggs that need to be cooked. I contemplated adding in a crispy cone of some sort to mimic the pastry shell, but figured those would have to be made from scratch and so quickly abandoned the idea. Seeing a quarter bottle of Muscat in my fridge, I remembered the peaches in wine my parents would make on hot summer days when I was a kid and thought it would be the perfect topping for my cannoli ice cream. I confess that I slowly simmered my wine and peaches -- yes, I did end up using the stove -- but this basically meant simply sticking the fruit and wine in a pot and simmering for 10 minutes with the cover on (no standing next to a hot stove or stirring).
To mimic a cannoli filling, I added vanilla, orange zest and some flecks of chocolate to the ice cream, but you could easily leave out the zest and use chocolate chips if you don't want the citrus flavoring. After churning away in my ice cream maker, the dessert was creamy and rich. Topped with the peaches in Muscat, my bowl of ice cream was the perfect way to end a sweltering Bay Area day.
Cannoli Ice Cream
Makes: Enough for 4 large bowls
1 15 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from 1/2 orange or 1 tangerine
1/4 cup shaved semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1. Whisk ricotta, simple syrup, cream, vanilla and orange zest until completely creamed together.
2. Add mixture to an ice cream maker and then freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.
3. When the ice cream seems thick but not quite ready, add in the shaved chocolate.
4. When ice cream is ready, serve with peaches and wine (recipe below).
Note: Ricotta ice cream freezes hard, so if you're making this dessert ahead, be sure not to let it sit in your freezer for more than a few hours before eating.
Peaches Simmered in Muscat
Makes: Enough for 4 people to eat with ice cream
1 large or 1 1/2 medium peaches (you can use nectarines, plums, figs or grapes instead if you’d like)
1/2 cup Muscat
1. Place ingredients in a medium pot and simmer covered for 7-10 minutes or until the Muscat is syrupy.
2. Cool and serve with Cannoli ice cream.