Orange Babas, Burnt Orange Marmalade and Buckwheat Streusel

 A good portion of the desserts I make are an excuse to make ice cream. Maybe not an excuse, but certainly they are based on and inspired by the ice cream. This one is no different. This one also falls in the category of desserts that still need some work, it’s missing something and I am just not sure what that is exactly. Some color would be nice for sure. On the plus side, it did taste great and my ice cream quenelles are getting much better! I’ve been wanting to make the “Burnt Orange Marmalade Ice Cream” from Frozen Desserts by Francisco Migoya for quiet some time now, and I finally got around to it. Frozen Desserts is an excellent book about the subject, but it is not really designed with a home-cook in mind. Instead it is geared for pastry professionals and restaurateurs. So this recipe in the book makes 5 Kilograms of ice cream base! That is way more than I need to make or can feasibly consume. So I had to reduce it down to a manageable amount and came up with the recipe at the end of the post. It worked very well and made a delicious and intense ice cream.

To make a plated dessert I remembered those Babas from Nick Malgieri’s How to Bake book and decided to serve them with the ice cream and some whipped cream. Babas are cakes made from a batter that is leavened with yeast and are usually soaked in a sugar syrup spiked with lots of rum (officially known as Baba au Rhum). The same batter is sometimes baked in a round tube pan called Savarin. The resulting rum syrup soaked cake is then called a Savarin au Rhum. I love this cake in all it’s variations due to no small part to the fact that it is one of the first cakes I remember tasting at my uncle’s pastry shop in Lebanon. Whenever I visit him now, I still always eat a Baba au Rhum.

Malgieri’s recipe for the Babas was good but I should’ve trusted my normal process and allowed the cakes to cool and dry overnight before soaking them in the syrup (sugar, water, vanilla seeds, lavender buds, orange zest, Grand Marnier and Rum). That would’ve given them a better texture. I also baked the batter in pans of different shapes. Half was baked in a dome mold and the other half was baked in Canele molds. I liked the smaller ones baked in the Canele molds a lot more. They looked great, soaked up more syrup and had a perfect size for one portion. I then reduced the soaking syrup to a sauce consistency to serve with the plated dessert.

 For a different flavor profile, to stand up to the sweetness and for textural contrast, I made the buckwheat streusel from this Alinea recipe. I love this stuff and I can eat it sprinkled on almost any ice cream. I bet it works great as a topping or a base for a spicy pumpkin dessert. Really, without the streusel the dish would’ve been too much of one thing -orange. It also would’ve been too sweet. The final garnish was plain unsweetened whipped cream.


Burnt Orange Marmalade Ice Cream

Burnt Orange Marmalade Base

  • 1000gr Navel Oranges, sliced 0.5 cm thick, ends removed
  • 1000gr Sugar
  • 1000gr Milk

Ice Cream Base

  • 700gr Milk infused with the Orange Marmalade
  • 158gr Heavy Cream
  • 120gr Egg Yolks
  • 300gr Burnt Orange Marmalade from infused milk

For the Marmalade Infusion: Blanch oranges in boiling water three times, changing the water between blanches. Weigh out the oranges and weigh an equal amount of sugar (about 1000gr).

Place both in a large pot and cook over low heat to 190C/380F. You will probably need to move the mixture into a smaller pot halfway through the cooking process to keep the thermometer properly submerged. Pour the mixture into a sheet pan and spread to cool. Once cooled it will harden and won’t be very smooth. That will dissolve though once the marmalade is infused in the milk. Break up and add the marmalade to the milk and allow to infuse for 2 hours.

For the Ice Cream Base:

Make a traditional cooked custard on stove top or sous Vide (82 C) using 772.5gr infused milk. Churn the ice cream base and stir in the 300gr of reserved Orange Marmalade.


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