Monday, June 14, 2010

Foodie Fights Rye and Cherry Battle

 Rye Flour Crêpes with Make Mine a Manhattan Ice Cream (Rye Whiskey Cherry, a Rum Raisin Redo) and California Bing Cherry Sauce

Every week or so the folks over at Foodie Fights toss out two ingredients for an Iron Chef type challenge. All registered members are encouraged to enter the battle. The ingredients are posted on Wednesday and whether you have a recipe in mind or not you throw your name in the ring and on Thursday 6 members are chosen at random and required to submit a recipe by midnight on Monday.  I’ve never done anything like this but I thought I’d give it a try and my name was pulled from the hat.

This week’s challenge is rye and cherries.  Whole rye grain or rye flour may be used and either fresh or dried cherries. As soon as I saw cherries I knew I wanted to make ice cream.  Another member asked about using rye whiskey. I assume he was joking but a response made it clear that whiskey alone would not fit the bill. But this got me thinking, what about a redo of rum raisin ice cream?  Besides a Manhattan combines whiskey with a cherry. Make Mine a Manhattan Ice Cream was conceived and ultimately born. Wanting to take advantage of the wonderful Bing cherries now available I decided to use them to make a sauce.

But what about the rye?  A cookie? A cone? I settled on crêpes and was very pleasantly surprised with the results. I typically make crêpes with white flour and a little sugar and they are fine, mostly they serve to soak up the sauce and add a little heft to dessert. The rye crêpes on the other hand have a deeper flavor and a heartier texture. They bring to mind the wonderful buckwheat crêpes of Brittany (savoury galettes (crêpes salées). I am thrilled with this discovery. Rye will now be my go to flour for making crêpes. I can’t wait to make them in a larger pan and serve them with a savory filling.

Recipes follow assembly instructions. To serve: Fold the crêpes into quarters. Place 3 crêpes on one of 6 dessert plates. Place a large scoop of Make Mine a Manhattan Ice Cream in the center. Pour some of the cherry sauce over the ice cream. Serve extra sauce in bowl with a small ladle.  You will have extra ice cream and maybe sauce.  Save for another time or make your scoops extra large.

Make Mine a Manhattan Ice Cream  

1 cup (packed) dried cherries 
½ cup rye whiskey, such as Wild Turkey
½ cup sugar

8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon rye whiskey, such as Wild Turkey

Combine cherries, whiskey, and sugar in a small saucepan, simmer until cherries soften and the liquid reduces to thin syrup. 7-8 minutes. Put the fruit and syrup into a medium bowl, stir occasionally to coat and cool the fruit.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in large bowl until blended.

Cook the milk and whipping cream heavy large saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove the milk and cream from the heat and gradually whisk into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens, about 15 minutes (do not boil), add whiskey. Strain custard into bowl. Cool. Refrigerate until cold.

Transfer custard to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Place ice cream in a storage container; fold in cherries and freeze ice cream in covered container until firm, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead.)

Note: You can use your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe and replace the vanilla with whiskey. Or, even simpler, allow store bought vanilla to soften enough that you can fold in the cherries and freeze it until it is scoop able, about 3 hours.

Rye flour crêpes
1 1/2 cups milk
About ¼ cup melted unsalted butter, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup rye flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat milk and 2 tbsp. butter together until warm to the touch.

Put eggs in a blender and pulse just to mix. Add flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of warm milk mixture. Whirl mixture to combine. With blender running, slowly pour remaining milk mixture into blender through lid opening to combine. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl.

Heat a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with a little butter, then pour in about 2 tbsp.  of batter, swirling pan to coat evenly. Cook, turning once, until set and starting to brown, about 2 minutes total. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with more butter as needed.

California Bing Cherry Sauce
(Emily Luchetti’s “Very Cherry Cherries” A Passion for Ice Cream, available on Amazon: Disclosure: Emily is my cousin by marriage and I tested recipes in this book before it was published. In spite of that connection, or because of it, I always reach for Emmy’s books first when making dessert.

I don't have any financial interest in the book.

2 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 ½ pound fresh Bing cherries, stemmed
1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium pan, stir together the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear, about 1 minute. Stir in the cherries and bring back to a low boil.  Simmer until the cherries are slightly shriveled and the liquid is red, about 5 minutes. Drain the cherries, reserving the liquid, and place them in a baking pan in a single layer.  Let the cherries cool to room temperature. While they are cooling, return the reserved liquid to the pan and cook over medium heat to reduce until slightly syrupy, about 2 cups.  Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Remove the pits from the cherries by gently squeezing each one. The pit will pop out. Gently stir the cherries into the sauce. Cover and refrigerate.

Note: It is much easier to pit the cherries once they are cooked and the pits add to the flavor. I wear thin gloves, like the kind used in hospitals. They are sold at the drug store and probably Target.


  1. Strange - I commented here right after I posted my own blog and it still says "Your comment was published" below, but I'm not seeing any comments. Anyway, what I had said was the crepes look amazing and isn't it funny how we were on the same wavelength with this battle. :)

  2. you had me at whiskey! I'm not usually a dessert person, but this looks great!

  3. That was me asking about Rye Whiskey because I was going to do a Manhattan stuffed cherry. Oh well, I am glad that YOU went ahead with my favorite drink ever :--)

  4. I can verify that this is delicious. Angela knows I'm not big on cooked fruit, but I really enjoyed the dish. The crepes are wonderful, the ice cream is yummy, and the cherry sauce brings it all together.

  5. Disclosure: Emily is my cousin by marriage and I tested recipes in this book before it was published. In spite of that connection, or because of it, I always reach for Emmy’s books first when making dessert.

    I don't have any financial interest in the book.

  6. Congrats on your winning entry, Angela! :)

  7. thank you very much for the information,

    This may be useful.