Sunday, August 30, 2009

One good turn deserves another

The man of the house made a Thai-inspired tofu-eggplant soup, finished with fresh lime and serrano peppers, that just knocked our socks off. Deliciousness like that really gets the creative juices flowing. I patted my happy tummy and decided there would be dessert.

I wanted to keep with his Thai-ish theme, so there would have to be ginger involved. Coconut, sure. Maybe even a little heat.

How does this sound? Coconut-milk ice cream topped with toasted pecans in a simple syrup infused with ginger, cinnamon, and just a wee sliver of serrano pepper. Sure, you can skip the pepper if you want, but the hint of heat definitely made the dish more interesting.

My quantities are guesses, as of course I don't actually measure, but they're there to give you an idea of the proportions.

Thai-spiced Pecan Topping
Serves 2; Prep time ~15 minutes
1/3 c. turbinado sugar (or use a blend of white & brown sugars)
1/3 c. water
6-10 thin slices of ginger root
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick)
dash ground galangal (optional; I happened to have some, so why not?)
wee dash of cayenne or a few red pepper flakes, to taste
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. pecans, almonds, or other nutty goodness, broken into large pieces
splash of milk/soymilk/etc.

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add ginger, spices and salt. Simmer on low to thicken.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the almonds on medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally and taking care not to burn them.

When the syrup has gotten, well, syrupy, stir in a splash of milk. Pull out the ginger pieces and anything else you've got floating in there. Taste & adjust the seasoning if necessary; don't be afraid to add salt, as a hint of saltiness will complement the ice cream's sweetness nicely.

Cool to lukewarm or room temp (I dunked the saucepan in a pan of cold water to speed the process) and spoon a base layer of topping into your serving bowl. Add a scoop of coconut, vanilla, or your favorite variety of frozen dessert, and top with more caramelly goodness. Serve immediately to your favorite resident chef.

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