Ruth at Once Upon a Feast is host for this month's Sugar High Friday--she chose ginger as her focus. Enjoy.
GINGER ICE CREAM from epicurious.com
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarsely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons water
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup crystallized ginger*
*available at some supermarkets and specialty foods shops.
In a large bowl lightly whisk yolks. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook sugar, fresh gingerroot, and water over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Add hot half-and-half mixture to yolks in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into pan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.)
Pour custard through a sieve into cleaned bowl and stir in cream and vanilla. Cool custard. Chill custard, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.
Finely chop crystallized ginger. Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker, adding crystallized ginger three fourths of way through freezing process. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.
Makes about 1 quart.
Balsamic-Caramel Sauce from Michael Chiarello foodnetwork.com
2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water, plus more for brushing
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring 1 cup cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the cream warm. In a large high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, dissolve 1 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. As the sugar mixture begins to bubble, watch for crystals developing on the inside of the pan just above the liquid. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush the inside of the pan right above the crystals so the water drips down and dissolves the crystals back into the liquid. When the sugar begins to brown, occasionally move the pan to swirl the liquid gently and cook it evenly. Continue to cook until the mixture is dark golden brown. The total cooking time will be 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Very carefully add the hot cream to the sugar mixture a few tablespoons at a time. The liquid will bubble up dramatically. Stir the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix well. Pour into a heatproof bowl. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of sauce. The sauce can be made several weeks ahead, covered with plastic, and stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If refrigerated, warm in a microwave oven before using.
Serve on top of ice cream.