I’m having trouble writing this post without tearing up. Every time I sit down to tell you about my friend Sam and her new book, every time I open her book – The New Sugar and Spice – my eyes start to tingle and my throat tenses up. I admit: I cry when I watch Grey’s Anatomy. I cry when LeAnne Rhymes’ “I Hope You Dance” comes through the speakers of my car. I cry when I curl up next to the fire, reading the lyrical prose of strong women authors like Cheryl Strayed and Lidia Yuknavitch. Sometimes I’m emotional, okay?
But while reading a cookbook intro? That’s a new one even for me.
I first met Sam in New York at The Wayland the day before the Saveur Blog Awards, where she and Alana and I ate oysters and drank cocktails and chattered excitedly about how stoked we were to be a part of the event. I felt instantly comfortable around Sam. Like we could talk about anything, and we did.
So, when her book arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago, I tore into the packaging and immediately began flipping through the recipes, flagging, oh I don’t know, around two dozen of them. There were the Coconut, Pistachio, and Chocolate Chip Cookies made with no butter at all; the Banana Fritters that reminded me of my own travels through Thailand; the Orange Clove Pull-Apart Bread and the Crêpe Cake with Pistachio Cream, both of which I know my husband would devour in one bite.
As you might have surmised by now, these are recipes that are flavor-forward without being overly sugar-forward, something Sam accomplishes by using an array of spices throughout. There are chapters on clove and cardamom and cinnamon and vanilla woven into tales of her own exotic travels and her family’s Sri Lankan history. Reading it is like wandering down a spice-speckled, dessert-dotted road. One that begins with innocent intrigue and ends in full blown belly rubs. It’s the kind of meandering mouthwatering road that, until now, had existed only in my dreams.
Then trouble came. I had to choose a recipe, just one recipe, to share with you here. I went back and forth. A lot. But when I saw the Profiteroles stuffed with Coconut Allspice Ice Cream and topped with Hot Fudge, I knew:
This is the one.
The profiteroles are surprisingly simple to make. Just pull together the pâte à choux dough, spoon onto a greased baking sheet, and watch them rise into empty domes of warm winter air in the dark shadows of your oven.
The fudge is even simpler and with just three ingredients it comes together in under five minutes. Of course, the ice cream takes some time. But, in a pinch you could substitute store-bought ice cream or, if you want to make homemade but don’t have an ice cream maker, you could do a no-churn coconut ice cream like this one here, adding in the allspice when you add the vanilla.
Do you need more convincing to buy this book? Okay, fine, I’ll give it to you but only because I know you’ll love it. And because these puffy profiteroles, when stuffed fat with spiced ice cream and topped with the silkiest hot coconut fudge, are some of the best things I’ve put into my overexercised-from-eating-too-much-halloween-candy mouth. And because I want someone else to cry over a cookbook intro so I know I’m not the only one. (Please?)
Congrats, Sam, on the release of what is sure to be a well-loved book all around! And also, I think we can all agree: He heard you. xx
- 1½ cups of heavy cream
- 1¼ cups of milk
- 1 tablespoon of whole allspice berries, crushed lightly
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- ¾ cups of water
- ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cups of coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- Whisk together the cream, milk, and allspice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover and set aside to rest for 1 hour (or longer.)
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and salt. Add the cream mixture to the yolks and whisk again until very well combined.
- Add ice to a separate large bowl and fill halfway with cold water. Set aside.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do NOT let the mixture boil or else it will curdle.
- Pour the coconut milk into a medium sized bowl. Cover the bowl with a fine mesh sieve and strain the cream mixture through the sieve, pushing on any of the solids to release the liquid into the bowl. Discard the solids. Place the bowl into the prepared bowl of ice water. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is chilled and very thick.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pour into a freezer proof container and freeze completely. You'll end up with about 1 quart of ice cream.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter or line with parchment paper.
- Place the butter, sugar, salt, and water in a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium. Stir with a wooden spoon so that butter melts. Once butter water comes to a boil, add the flour, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls from the sides and forms a ball mass, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for about 3-4 minutes before adding the eggs, so that they don't scramble.
- Add eggs one at a time, stirring well between each addition. The dough will break apart first before coming back together, so keep stirring.
- Use a large wooden spoon to drop the dough (it will be fairly wet) into scoops on the prepared baking sheets. Each dough scoop should be about 2 tablespoons. Leave an inch or two on all sides as they will puff up a good bit. Then, use an offset spatula (or even the back of a spoon) to smooth the scoops. Any rogue swirls will take on a life of their own in the oven so it's best to get them as smooth as possible! Bake until golden brown and puffed up, rotating baking sheet halfway through, for about 22-24 minutes. Allow profiteroles to cool on a wire rack before slicing and stuffing. (Or not.)
- Add coconut milk and salt to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute before whisking the chocolate into a smooth sauce.
- To assemble, slice the top third off of each profiterole, scoop 1 scoop of ice cream into the middle of it, and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.
In a pinch you could substitute store-bought ice cream for this homemade version. Just sprinkle with a pinch of allspice to give it the same sort of effect.