It may be spring, but snow is back in the forecast! We’re pretty psyched about this because last week our home in the Front Range got about… 40 inches of snow. We stuck it out in Crested Butte though, because we had a prior obligation, and because there are plenty of things to do here if there isn’t any powder. Although powder really is the very best thing you can ski. We took Neva uphill skiing on the mountain again and she was actually better behaved than the first time and we all had a lot of fun skiing down.
crested butte had some colorful sunsets
and it was a little windy (neva’s ears were both straight up before this snap)
this is neva having a ball
We are just now wrapping up a weekend hosting some of my dear friends (since elementary school and junior high) and their families in Crested Butte for a ski vacation. Despite the lack of fresh powder, they all enjoyed the mountain, the town, and the scenery. There were kids, too. A baby, a tweener, and a teen. I don’t really hang out with kids too much because I don’t have any by choice, but I like playing auntie. I always marvel at what incredible parents all of my friends are because my friends are incredible people. Aside from happy talk, funny faces, and bouncing babies around, I am at a loss with kids younger than 2 years. But I chuckled to myself watching the tweener and teen – two sisters – interact on the slopes, the lifts, and at our house. They are normal sisters who have their spats and know how to push buttons, but also love each other and are friends. These are good, sweet girls. I hope they recognize what an important bond they share. I know that’s hard to do when you’re that age, but a sister is one of the best things in the world.
the baby was fascinated with the lights
super sweet sisters
Even though there are plenty of great restaurants in Crested Butte for dining out, I felt the privacy and quiet of our house would be nice for a couple of dinners. I kept things simple so that I could spend quality time with my friends. For dessert, I served a couple of homemade ice creams and brownies. I think of homemade ice cream as the easiest dessert because you can make it ahead of time, you can make multiple flavors, and people can have as much or as little or as many kinds as they want. Because it is so versatile, I like to collect a variety of ice cream recipes to draw from throughout the year. I recently tried making a batch of my mom’s favorite flavor, which was also my grandma’s favorite flavor. You know those bank security questions? If there was a question that asked, “What is your mother’s favorite ice cream flavor?” the answer would be: pralines and cream.
eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, salt, pralines (not pictured: vanilla extract)
A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for homemade pralines. They’re pretty easy to make, but if you aren’t in the candy-making mood, you can just as easily use purchased pralines. My method is straightforward: make vanilla ice cream (our favorite recipe comes from David Lebovitz) and stir chopped pralines into the freshly churned batch. Commercial varieties of pralines and cream all seem to have a ribbon of caramel swirled into the ice cream alongside the pralines. You can stir that into the ice cream with the pralines, but I just felt that sometimes it’s possible to have too much sugar.
heat milk, cream, salt, and sugar
steep a vanilla bean and the seeds in the warmed milk mixture
roughly chop the pralines
When the praline pieces are stirred into the ice cream, some of the sugar will slowly melt into the ice cream, creating a bit of a caramel-ish ribbon. But don’t worry, because there is still a good bit of the grainy crunchy sugar on the praline that remains intact.
whisk some of the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks
strain the custard
stir in the rest of the cream
add some vanilla extract
I don’t recommend churning the pralines into the ice cream as the mechanism might crush some of the pralines or the hard sugary edges could scuff up the smooth surface of your ice cream maker bowl. That means you will have to empty the churned ice cream into a vessel and fold in those praline pieces. But work quickly or your ice cream base will start to melt. Once mixed, freeze the ice cream.
pouring the custard into the ice cream machine
fold in the pralines
Homemade ice cream always tastes better (to me) and this pralines and cream ice cream is no exception. It’s simply a twist on a classic vanilla ice cream, but it brings back a lot of childhood memories. I’m going to have to make a batch for my mom when I see her this summer.
simple, buttery, sweet, creamy, nutty
i can take on summer with this in my freezer
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups pralines, roughly chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, and salt in medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean. Place both the seeds and the vanilla bean pod in the warmed milk. Cover and remove from heat. Steep at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs yolks and slowly pour the warm cream mixture in while whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and stir it constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula until mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour custard through strainer. Stir in the cream. Return the vanilla bean to the custard. Stir in the vanilla extract and cool the custard over an ice bath. Chill the mixture completely in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and churn the custard according to the ice cream maker’s instructions. Scoop the churned ice cream into a large chilled vessel and fold in the pralines. Freeze. Makes 1 1/4 quarts.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
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