Friday, April 22, 2005

SHF#7: Black & Sticky - Molasses. A Not-so-good Molasses'n'Crème Fraîche Ice Cream, but a Rather Nice Sirupskage

While the sun has started warming the ground a little around here, it is still insanely cold outside. So why on earth I decided to make ice cream for Sugar High Friday, this time hosted by Derrick, is beyond me!

Yup, sometimes I'm pretty foolish. I blame it on the UV-rays, the fact that after having been without my ice cream maker for a good 6 months (the freezer element started leaking - it was an OLD machine!) and then miraculously having said ice cream maker restored to normal (Boyfriend picked up TWO new elements this Monday) and the fact that I thought I had come up with a BRILLIANT idea to present this months start ingredient, MOLASSES - yea, that must have been the reason(s)!

I had a problem figuring out what exactly "molasses" would translate into in Danish, to start things of. Derrick's explanation, combined with a little help from Harold McGee (how did I ever live without this book?) told me that what I'd be looking for would be "sirup" on this side of the water. Sirup comes in a dark and a light version here - and then we've also started getting cane sugar sirup - the taste of this is a little more fruity and musky and not just as sweet as the regular kind. That would be what I'd be using.

So for ice cream, you use some kind of dairy product - I'd seen a recipe in one of my books that combined honey and crème fraîche - well what should be the problem about substituting my fruity molasses with the honey?

In the real world, probably nothing - but seeing this was a recipe from the book to which the boyfriend referred to as: "oh, that book. The recipes from that book never work anyways!", I should have said a little prayer before I started (to my defense, he didn't say that until after I'd made everything!) Then there was the other thing. I've never made a custard for ice cream before - I've made regular custards, but I'm always shivering with fear that they'll curdle. Ahem - not the best starting off point I suppose.

Alright, I've stated my flaws. And that said, the ice cream could have turned out MUCH worse - I actually think the idea of the tangy crème fraîche and the caramelly cane sugar molasses works - I just need to work with it a LOT more, so no recipe for you this time. And I well... Umm. I'm actually not that much of an ice cream eater. Don't get me wrong, I like it and all - but I'd rather eat cake!

So even though he was afraid there'd be a LOT of entries starring cake for this edition, he's gonna get one more from me! This is a Danish version of - hmm, I don't think it's really anything like a gingerbread, but I'm no expert on gingerbreads (not on ice cream, not on ginger bread either!) It's called Sirupskage (translation: Molasses cake) and is sort of a cross between a quick bread and a shortbread cookie texture-wise.

Sirupskage - from Karolines Køkken

Bread tin containing 1 ½ liter or there abouts - mine was a bit bigger, so my cake was very flat and baked in 45 minutes - buttered.

1 egg
125 g. sugar
60 g. butter
125 g. molasses (I used the dark variety)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. baking soda
175 g. flour
65 ml. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

dark, thick, glossy and yum...

Melt the molasses and butter - I used the microwave oven.

Beat the egg with the sugar until white and foamy. Add the melted butter/molasses

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add these to the butter/molasses/egg/sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour in the tin and bake for about 60 minutes, but check after 45, especially if you use a different sized tin.

Let cool, and eat with indecent amounts of salted butter!

Besides, this is MUCH easier eating than that fancy-schmanzy composition in the first picture! (And kudos to food stylist in general and the chef's in training at the restaurant I work at in particular - doing ice cream scoops with a regular spoon is difficult!)

It's a weekend of virtual events I must say! Don't forget IMBB? this Sunday!


Niki said...

I think the *idea* for the icecream is a fantastic one, and something I'd like to try as well. I've never made icecream before but something made with molasses/treacle would really suit me. The famous British Brown Bread icecream uses treacle, I think.
Anyway, sorry it didn't quite work out, but the photos look great anyway!

Stephanie said...


I love molasses, yet I never eat it. Have to wonder why...

I'm still a little aprehensive when I make custards for ice cream (but, just like bread, I'm gaining confidence), too. I think the ice cream would be fantastic...and even if something doesn't look pretty, doesn't mean it won't taste good!

Aack...gotta cut this short; major storm coming and I think we may lose power.

Anyway; good job!

Melissa said...

Such beautiful pics, Zarah! I must admit, I was fed far too much molasses as a kid by my well-meaning father so even the thought of it now turns me a little cold... but what an innovative way to use it! One of these days I'll have to confront my demons and try it again.

Ana said...

Zarah Marie, that picture looks very nice. Like how a professional baker would present dessert.

I looooove ice-cream and I think I'm going to try and make one flavoured with molasses. Thanks for the idea.

I have a Cuisinart ice-cream maker which I use not often enough. And, by the way, form me eating ice-cream has nothing to do with the temperature. I eat it all winter long. Come to think of it, here in Canada we eat ice-cream all winter long.

Andrea said...

Don't know much about molasses. Never tried it. Must look up some recipes in my mags.
Your cake sounds delish with that ice-cream. Ooohhhh, I have sooo much to learn still.

Cathy said...

I like the idea of the ice cream too - hope you work out the kinks and report back on it! The Sirupskage looks delicious - I'm having trouble imagining what the texture is like, so I'll just have to try it (after my trip)!

Julie said...

Mmm...the Sirupskage looks and sounds fantastic. And I love the idea of the ice-cream...keep playing with that one, and I bet we'll all want to make it as the weather warms up.

Nic said...

Zarah, I am fascinated by your description of a cake that is a cross between a quickbread and shortbread. I can't wait to try it myself. Too bad about the ice cream, though. Of course, if it's cold, I'd much rather have cake!

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Niki! I actually thought about making crumbs out of the Sirupskage and make a sort of sirupskage-crumb/crème fraîche ice cream, kind of like brown bread icecream. But that wasn't until after I'd made the cake I thought the idea would be neat, and at that point it was hard getting the crumbs into the (frozen) ice cream, you know...

Stephanie - I think I have the same thing with molasses as you do. It's in the cupboard, I just never really use it, so it's been fun letting it play the lead role. I also know exactly what you're saying regarding trying to master a new technique - you just have to keep on doing it, again and again, making mistakes - and learning. But the feeling when you can finally do it perfectly is supreme!
Hope you haven't been blown away by the storm?

Hi Melissa! Thank you! Face that demon!

Ana - if you give the ice cream a whirl, let me know how it turns out. My recipe called for vanilla essence, and while vanilla is good in almost anything sweet, I'd leave it out if I was you - it simply over-powers the delicate molasses. You could also try it with a dark variety molasses, that might make the taste more pronounced than mine was.

Hi Dreska! I never made much with molasses either, but as you said, we have to just keep learning!

Hi Cathy! I know the texture explanation was a little cryptic - it is hard to describe! The thing is, reading the recipe I guess you'd imagine something like a quickbread, but it's much more crumbly and "dry" (in a good way!) than that - hence I thought of shortbread! If you give it a try, you have to let me know your version of it's texture... After your trip, grrr...;-) Not envious at all!

Julie - thank you! I'll definetly be working on my ice cream repertoire this summer, and this might pop up again!

Hi Nic - again, as I said above, I don't think I've come across anything that has quite this texture (maybe I'm not trying hard enough to figure out what might match it? Hmm...) If you make it, please let me now your version of the texture. It is a bit crumbly and sandy, but not as dry as a shortbread cookie, yet not soft and dense like some quickbreads - see, I'm just repeating myself here, I really can't think of a better explanation!:-)

Alice said...

That cake sounds wonderful! And I really like the idea of eating it with lots of salted butter! The ice cream is a neat idea...I'll also be looking forward to a recipe if you get it worked out.

keiko said...

Hi Zara - this MUST be delicious! Brilliant idea and beautiful photos too.

Jennifer said...

Zarah - what a great idea! That ice cream had the best of intentions, I believe. I'd love to hear the outcomes of a second go at it. And the Sirupskage looks and sounds delicious! You're amazing!