Charoset Ice Cream with Manischewitz Raspberry Sauce

There has been a lot of hype this year (or as much hype as anything passover inspired can garner) over the new Charoset ice cream by Ben & Jerry’s. Consisting of a vanilla base with a swirl of apples and nuts, this new ice cream debuted just in time for Passover.

But don’t forget, I had this idea first!!!

Last year, when brainstorming ideas for Passover ice cream, my first thought was to make a charoset inspired ice cream with a Manischewitz base. Unfortunately, my friends vetoed this idea but we ended up with a super delicious chocolate covered matzo ice cream instead.  However, I vowed to make it this year…although with a slightly improved and re-worked concept. And make it I did! (along with 2 chocolate cakes, chocolate covered matzo ice cream and coconut macaroons)

I decided to forego the Manischewitz ice cream base (the main source of concern from my friends) in favor of a cinnamon ice cream.  I then mixed in candied walnuts and cooked apples and topped it with a Manischewitz raspberry sauce.  While the chocolate covered matzo ice cream was still the favorite, everyone seemed to like the charoset ice cream (and the Manischewitz sauce!).  This might be the start of a new passover tradition!  Or I could always try to make a maror ice cream next year. 🙂

Disclosure:  This ice cream contains corn syrup and corn starch and therefore does not adhere to strict Ashkenazi Passover rules.

Charoset Ice Cream: Cinnamon ice cream with apples and candied walnuts

Candied Walnuts
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 cup walnuts (about 3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine walnuts and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread nut mixture on prepared baking sheet (some nuts may clump together). Bake until nuts are deep golden and sugar mixture is bubbling, stirring occasionally to break up clumps, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)

Apples:

1 1/2 apples of your choosing, chopped into small cubes
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sugar
dash of ground cinnamon

Heat the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once melted, add the apples, sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, and then set aside.

Cinnamon Ice cream:
(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Prep
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar,  corn syrup, and cinnamon sticks in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill
Gradually strain the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the ground cinnamon and vanilla extract.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Add the end, add in the apples and candied walnuts.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Serve with Manischewitz sauce below.

Manischewitz Raspberry Sauce

1 1/2 Cups Manischewitz wine
10 oz frozen raspberries, defrosted
1/4 cup sugar

Bring the Manishcewitz wine to a boil and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes.  Add the raspberries and sugar and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Allow to cool and then carefully transfer to a blender and blend until liquified.  Strain sauce and then cool.  Can be made 2 days ahead of time.  Spoon over ice cream for the complete charoset experience.

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Chocolate Covered Matzo Ice Cream

I have a confession to make…I actually like matzo!  Most Jews I know complain every Passover of the cardboard, constipation inducing “cracker” that we force ourselves to eat for a week to remember our ancestors and the bread that didn’t have time to rise in their escape from oppression.  However, I actually secretly look forward to this time of year and savor all the delicious ways I can conjure up to enjoy matzo.  From simple matzo with whipped butter and salt, to matzo with cream cheese and lox, matzo pizza, matzo with nutella, matzo brei, and of course, chocolate covered matzo (although pretty much anything tastes good covered in chocolate).

Matzo love aside, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that Passover is one of my favorite holidays with all of its delicious foods and opportunities for entertaining (aka the seder).  I have been making the same menu since 2006 (from that year’s Bon Appetit Passover special) but I like to try to add something new every year to mix it up.  This year in anticipation of having 15 guests, I decided to make an extra dessert and was determined to come up with a Passover themed ice cream.  My first idea was to make a charoset inspired treat with Manischewitz ice cream as the base but some of my friends were strongly opposed for some reason…(it’s happening next year!).  My second idea was a little less experimental: vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered matzo.  After getting the OK from my friends I found a recipe for matzo croccante (aka matzo brittle or chocolate and caramel covered matzo) and got to work.

This ice cream uses Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s recipe for vanilla ice cream as the base and then adds the matzo croccante as well as additional chocolate and toasted almonds.  I recommend using different chocolates for the croccante and for the additional chocolate to add different flavors- I used milk chocolate for this.

One disclaimer is that my vanilla ice cream base is not technically kosher for Passover, depending on how strict you are, since it has corn starch and corn syrup in it.  The corn syrup can easily be substituted with honey or glucose and arrowroot or potato starch would be possible substitutes for the corn starch.  Alternatively, you can use any vanilla ice cream of your choosing.

I had so much food at my Passover dinner (must be a Jewish maternal instinct) that I almost forgot to serve the ice cream!  It turned out to be the surprise hit, though, and I may be forced to make it again next year!

Chocolate Covered Matzo Ice Cream

Matzo-Almond Croccante (from Bon Appetit)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
5 sheets matzo
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), melted
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Place matzo on sheet in a single layer, breaking as needed and overlapping slightly, leaving no gaps.

Stir sugar, margarine, honey, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is a deep amber color, 13–15 minutes. Pour caramel evenly over matzo. Immediately sprinkle almonds over. Let cool.

Drizzle melted chocolate over caramel. Sprinkle salt over. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes. Break into small bite-sized pieces.

In the meantime make the ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream (from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean

Prep
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar,  corn syrup, vanilla bean seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze
Remove vanilla bean.  Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Assembly

Vanilla ice cream
3 oz chocolate of your choosing, chopped
3 oz toasted almonds
1/2 of the matzo- almond croccante from above

Transfer ice cream to a bowel and stir in matzo-almond croccante, chocolate and almonds.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Serve with extra matzo croccante as the garnish!