Cold Dutch Juniper Cream with Red Fruits and Vanilla Ice Cream
This is a simple dessert, fresh fruit in a pool of juniper-flavored cream, accented with ice cream and a crisp tuile cookie. It's the juniper flavor which sets it apart. While not very familiar to American cooks, juniper berries are used to flavor gin. The juniper brandy the chef used in this dish, Wees Jonge, is a mind-boggling 96 proof. The juniper berries are steeped in the juniper brandy to intensify the flavor; if necessary, you can get a milder juniper flavor from the brandy alone.
- Dutch juniper brandy - 1 cup
- Ground juniper berries - 1/2 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Tahitian vanilla beans - 2
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Egg Yolks - 6
- Blackberries - 1 cup
- Red Currants - 1 cup
- Raspberries - 1 cup
- Strawberries - 24, small, halved
- Vanilla Ice Cream - 1 quart, slightly softened
- Tuiles - 6 thin, (optional)
Combine the brandy and juniper berries in a medium saucepan boil for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, discarding the berries.
Put the cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into the cream; drop in the bean pods. Place over medium heat and bring just to a boil; remove from heat. Add the juniper brandy.
Combine the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. When the mixture is light in color and the sugar has completely dissolved, stir in a large spoonful of hot cream to temper the mixture. Slowly pour in the remaining hot cream, whisking gently to combine. Put back on the stove over medium-low heat and heat to 140 F. Remove from heat. Press plastic wrap over the surface and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
To serve: Pool juniper cream in six large soup plates. Stud the cream with a mixture of berries. Form quenelles of the ice cream and place one quenelle on each bowl of cream. Lay a tuile across the top of each dessert.