June 22, 2014

Red Bean Paste with Vanilla Ice Cream 紅豆蓉雲呢拿雪糕

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I have to admit first off that I don't particularly like the sort of weird fusion of foods that abounds today in most smart and trendy restaurants.  It's not that I'm conservative about food, I love crazy food!  It's just that I tend to find a lot fusion food gimmicky and not really about taste first.  Which I don't like.  

But the thing is I do like weird food combinations!  When I was little I remember that I invented (from the assorted odds and ends available in our fridge) a little sandwich spread for myself that I thought was absolutely heavenly: stinky blue Cheese dressing slapped on a slice of bread drizzled generously with honey and then gobbled up.  (I know, pretty gross!  But it was yummy, I swear!)  

So recently I found myself puttering about in a fridge again, (my own grown up fridge), and decided to toss together two items that I found in there.  To my absolute surprise and yummilicious pleasure I discovered that night that there is almost nothing in the world that goes together better than Red Bean Paste Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream, or 紅豆蓉雲呢拿雪糕:  smooth silky vanilla contrasting creamy textured red bean paste, that sublime taste of vanilla perked up by and yet balancing the stronger fragrant beany flavor of the red bean.  (Oh shoot, now I'm hungry for ice cream...)

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Let's see...the reason we had red bean paste leftover in the fridge is because we had been making Red Bean Paste Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival.  And the reason we had vanilla ice cream leftover in the fridge is because my little girl requested a real Banana Split for her birthday treat.  That was hard work but fun and we had tons of homemade leftovers of both ice creams and sauces.  Don't you just love leftovers?!

So through this chance alignment of celestial food stars, or something like that, I discovered that Red Bean Paste and Vanilla Ice Cream are star crossed lovers!  I mean, it was so yummilicious that I. Could. Not. Stop. thinking about it!  And having a bit more.  And a bit more.  And...aw, shucks!  We were all out of red bean paste.  (Sad face.)

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Chinese red bean paste
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Chocolate sauce

We topped this humble yet fabulous ice cream creation with a furious couple of lashings of dense velvety chocolate sauce, also a  leftover found in the fridge courtesy of our Banana Split adventure.  (More about that soon!)   What else can I say?  Best. Ice. Cream. Combo. Ever!!  Yum, yum, yummilicious!

To find out more about and make your own homemade red bean, check out my Grandma's Red Bean Paste  紅豆沙 recipe.  

For the chocolate sauce we used The Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe*.
Red Bean Paste with Vanilla Ice Cream
(Prep time: 5 mins  Cook time: 10 mins)



Add cream, milk and 1/2 of sugar into a small pot over low heat until steamy.  Add the vanilla and remove from heat.  Whip egg and sugar for around 2 minutes until thick and falls in ribbons.  Add the cream milk mixture little by little to eggs, stirring constantly.  Pour combined mixture back into the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of your stirring spoon.

Pour through a sieve into a bowl.  (The sieve will pick out bits of cooked egg, etc. and help you create a smoother ice cream.)  Put this bowl into ice and let cool to room temperature.  If you don't have ice you can just set your ice cream bowl into a larger bowl with some cooler water.  Once the water warms up, exchange for cool water.  (It actually works pretty well this way.)

Follow your ice cream machine instructions.  Or if you don't have an ice cream machine (like us!), try making it this way:

When the custard is completely cooled down, cover and put in the freezer.  After 45 minutes, take out and stir up everything with a wooden spoon, making sure to completely break down any ice crystals with your stirring.  Cover and freeze again for 45 minutes.  Repeat stirring as before.  Cover and freeze for 30 mins.  Repeat stirring.  After approx 3-4  hours, your custard should start to become a consistency more like really soft serve ice cream.  At this stage pour all into your ice cream storage container and let freeze overnight.

To serve, take ice cream out of the freezer 5 minutes beforehand to soften a bit before scooping.  Scoop out some red bean paste and (if you're feeling fancy) make a quenelle or two, that fancy looking football shape that the French do to food with two spoons.  Place in on your serving plate, add one round scoop of vanilla ice cream, lash with chocolate sauce* and serve.  Hope you find this East meets West ice cream combo as delicious as we do!



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