An End of Summer Cocktail

The dog days of summer are winding down and Labor Day is just around the corner. Still, the heat persists pushing, the tomatoes and peppers into luscious ripening but wilting the dedicated gardener making planting beds ready for the fall. Days like these call for something fresh and easy but with enough character to rally our slightly feverish brains and save them from late afternoon torpor. Bright citrus with a bit of a bitter edge and Wandering Aengus Bloom cider with its slightly floral wildness do just the trick.

Bloom Cocktail

The Wandering Orange

  • 1 ounce Cointreau®
  • 5 – 6 ounces Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider
  • 3 dashes citrus bitters (I like the one from Brooklyn Bitters)
  • 2 orange slices

Mix the Cointreau®, cider, and bitters and pour over a generous amount of ice in which the 2 orange slices are nestled. Enjoy in a shady spot on the porch with a little garden dirt still stuck under your nails and the satisfied feeling of a job well done.

Raspberry Cider Ice Cream Cake

raspberry cider ice cream cake

When you need a special desert nothing fills the bill better than an ice cream cake. They don’t come together in a snap, but this one can be made in stages and can be kept in waiting for the big moment for several days, as long as you have the freezer space. In this version I combined the classic flavor pairing of raspberries and chocolate.

Using raspberry cider, like the one made by Sheppy’s or 2 Town’s Throne of Thorns, in the ice cream gives it a deeper level of flavor – sweet and tangy and luscious. Other options are the blackberry ciders from Ace or Sea Cider’s Bramble Bubbly. The ice cream is great on it’s own, of course, so if you want a desert that takes a little less effort, try just making the ice cream and the ganache, which can be used as a fabulous chocolaty topping.

Raspberry Cider Ice Cream

  • 1 pint raspberries, fresh or frozen (plus a few extra for decorating later if you like)
  • 1 cup raspberry cider
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 cup cream

Combine the berries and the cider in a pan and cook over med low heat for 15 minutes or so until the berries are quite soft. Let the mixture cool several minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds, pressing all the fruit pulp through. And the sugar and stir until it is dissolved, then stir in the corn syrup and the cream. Chill thoroughly, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

While the ice cream is chilling, cut a piece of parchment paper and fit it into the bottom of a spring form pan, then put the pan in the freezer to chill. When the ice cream is ready to come out of your ice cream maker, scoop it out into the prepared spring form pan, smoothing it into all the corners and making the top nice and level. Cover the pan with some plastic wrap, then place it into the freezer over night so that the ice cream disc is nice and firm.

Chocolate Génoise Cake

  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup (10 oz, 280 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (5 oz, 140 grams) white cake flour
  • ½ cup (1.6 oz, 40 grams) dark cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (200 C, gas mark 6). Cut 2 rounds of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a nine inch cake pan. Butter 2 pans, place the parchment paper in the bottoms, butter the bottoms again, then dust with flour. Set the pans aside until the batter is made.

Place the eggs and the sugar in a mixing bowl over a simmering water bath, then beat vigorously with a whisk or electric hand mixer until the mixture becomes thick enough to form a ribbon as it drips from your lifted mixer back into the bowl. Remove the bowl from the water bath and continue to beat vigorously until the mixture triples in volume. I will look rather like a bowl of light yellow whipped cream. Stir the flour and cocoa powder together. Fold the flour mixture gently into the eggs 1/3 at a time, the divide equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks, then wrap and freeze until ready to assemble the cake, at least 1 hour.

Assembly Phase 1

Take one of the cakes and place it upside down on the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan or removable bottom of a tart pan. Next, take the ice cream round and place it on top of the cake, then put the second cake on top of the ice cream and press the 3 together firmly. Trim the edges of the cakes if you need to so that they exactly match the size of the ice cream. Wrap the half-assembled cake in plastic wrap and foil, then put it back in the freezer for at least 1 hour before continuing. You can even wait until the next day to go on with the assembly.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 oz cream
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp framboise or other berry liqueur
  • 12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate cut into small pieces

Put the cream, corn syrup, and framboise in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and heat until the cream begins to simmer. Remove the cream mixture from the heat, then add the chocolate pieces. Let everything sit for a minute or 2 until the chocolate becomes quite soft, then whisk together until smooth. Let the ganache sit for another 10 minutes or so before finishing assembling the cake.

Assembly Phase II

Put the cake on to a rack set in a rimmed pan. Ladle the ganache slowly over the top of the cake, letting it drip down over the sides. When the cake is thoroughly covered, pop it back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Scrape the ganache that has collected on the bottom of the rimmed pan back into the double boiler as you will use it again.

Take the cake from the freezer and pour more ganache over the top and sides, this time smoothing with a spatula so that it is nice and even. Put the cake back in the freezer until you are ready to serve it (at least 1 hour) at which time you can decorate it with the reserved raspberries.

To serve the cake, heat a knife in hot water, then dry it for each slice.

Serves 8 to 12

Note: If you have left over ganache, and you probably will, it can be saved in a container in the refrigerator for a week or 2 and used to frost something else, or top your favorite ice cream. Just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it is either spreadable or pourable.

Cider Poached Shrimp

This month’s recipe, Cider Poached Shrimp, is a sample from my new book Cider Cocktails – Another Bite of the Apple. Using cider to poach seafood is common in the cider making regions of both France and Spain. Although I call for a semi-dry cider in the recipe, a bright, dry one would be lovely as well. Just don’t use a cider that is either very sweet or bitter as those flavors will be too prominent in the dipping sauce.

cider poached shrimp 3

  • 1 cup semi-dry cider
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 sprig thyme, 2 – 3 stems parsely, 1 bay leaf, all tied together)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp (about 24)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp minced chives as a garnish

Bring the cider, bouquet garni, ½ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of black pepper to a simmer. Add the shrimp, cover, lower the heat, and cook just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp, saving the liquid, set them aside, let them cool, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve them. They can be poached a day ahead to time.

To make the dipping sauce, heat the olive oil in a small pan and cook the garlic and onion until soft and a little translucent. Add the tomatoes and poaching liquid (along with the bouquet garni), raise the heat and simmer vigorously until most of the liquid is gone and the mixture is quite thick. Turn off the heat and let cool for a bit, then blend in a blender until very smooth. Stir in the horseradish and créme fraiche. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Chill several hours before serving to let the flavors marry.

Makes about 2 dozen shrimp and about ¾ cup of dipping sauce