Happy Birthday Dan!
I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday treat. He said he wanted me to make his favorite ice cream of all time- Baseball Nut.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what that is, Baseball Nut ice cream is from Baskin Robbins. In fact, it’s the flavor of the month this month. It’s vanilla ice cream swirled with a black raspberry ribbon and crunchy cashews.
While we were talking about it, I wondered where this idea of “baseball nut” along with the raspberry swirl came from. So, here’s the history: Originally, Baseball Nut commemorated the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. When the Dodgers arrived in Los Angeles, they were greeted with Baseball Nut, complete with raspberries to “heckle” the umpires.
I set to work on the creation of a homemade version of Baseball Nut Ice Cream. I think I was pretty successful. Dan said it might even be better than the store-bought version. However, we are going to do a recon mission to taste theirs – after all, it is his birthday, and he gets a free scoop from them for his birthday. I just hope that my version is really better than theirs! (no, I’m not competitive – hee hee)
So, here’s my version:
Seedless Raspberry Jam
This jam has no added pectin (most jams often do). Adding pectin helps the jam set up, but necessitates more sugar, which dilutes the natural flavor of the fruit. Making jam without added pectin requires more careful cooking, but the extra effort pays off in a deliciously old-fashioned, fruity product. Straining out the seeds takes a bit of time, but is very worthwhile in the final product.
4 cups granulated sugar
4-5 cups raspberries
Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan, and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. Warming the sugar before hand keeps the jam boiling evenly and ensures success.
Place berries in a blender of food processor until pureed. Strain the puree through a sieve pushing the puree through with the back of a wooden spoon to strain out all the seeds. Measure four cups of the puree, and place in a large saucepan, and bring to a full boil over high heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture forms a gel about 5 minutes.
To determine when the mixture gels, use the spoon test: Dip a cool metal spoon into the hot fruit. Immediately lift it out and away from the steam and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drip off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later, and the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon.
Vanilla Ice Cream
This ice cream is rich and creamy, and would be an excellent vanilla ice cream on its own. Just be sure to use a low heat or a double boiler to ensure a smooth ice cream, because there are so many yolks in the mixture that it would be easy to scramble the custard.
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
7 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and salt into the egg yolks until thickened and pale yellow. Set aside.
Bring the half and half to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan or double boiler. Slowly beat the hot half and half mixture into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over very low heat or back in the double boiler. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the wooden spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow to cool slightly, and stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
Stir the chilled custard, and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Swirl in the raspberry jam. Remove from the ice cream maker, and mix in the about ¼ cup of toasted salted cashews.
When finished, the ice cream will be soft, but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.