So far I’ve been blogging mostly about single dishes, and I thought it would be nice to share with you also how I combine those dishes into a full menu. As I explained on this page, a full Italian menu consists of four courses. I like to pair wines with that as well. We had a special visitor from Australia over for dinner, so I wanted to spoil him with something nice. We had:
- Antipasto: Roe deer carpaccio with herb salad with a 2008 red Sancerre Raimbault
- Primo: Scallop and parsnip ravioli with a 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet (that was unfortunately already oxidized so we swapped for a 2006 white Cote-de-Nuits-Villages)
- Secondo: Sous-vide pigeon with smoky pigeon jus with a 1989 Barolo Fontanafredda Vigna La Delizia
- Dolce: home-made vanilla ice-cream with honey-balsamic macerated strawberries with a 2009 Coteaux du Layon
This was a great dinner with great company, so we enjoyed it immensely. The only new recipe in here is the home-made vanilla ice-cream. They key to this is to use actual vanilla, preferably a good quality vanilla bean that is ‘sticky’ rather than dry. It goes without saying that icecream made from scratch is much better than anything store-bought. For a lighter style you could reverse the quantities of milk and whipping cream.
For about 350 ml or 1 1/2 cups
100 ml (about 1/2 cup) milk
250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
3 egg yolks
75 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
1 vanilla bean
Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t let it boil and take it off the heat. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and let it steep in the milk for an hour or so.
Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla beans and put the seeds back into the milk. (If you let the empty beans dry, you can use them to give a lovely vanilla scent to your sugar.)
There are quite a bit of seeds in a bean. You can recognize real vanilla ice-cream by the small black dots in there.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar for 2 minutes…
…until pale yellow and creamy.
Now add the milk and vanilla mixture and beat a bit more to mix.
Put this mixture back into the saucepan and heat it to 82C/180F while stirring so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. This is easiest if you use an instant-read digital thermometer like I did. Otherwise you can heat it gently until it becomes thicker and you can draw a line in it with your finger on the back of the wooden spoon. Don’t let it boil!
Put the custard you have thus obtained into a jug (which makes it easier to pour it into your ice-cream maker later) and cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for a few hours until completely cold.
Add the whipping cream and whisk to mix.
Churn the mixture in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The result will be a lovely vanilla ice-cream.
You can serve it like it is, but I served it with honey-balsamic macerated strawberries.
Vanilla ice-cream pairs well with sweet muscat wines such as Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. Since I was having it with strawberries, it also paired great with a Coteaux du Layon, a chenin-based late harvest dessert wine from the Loire valley.