I’ve finished my eight weeks of pottery class.  This was my last project.  What is it, you ask?

It’s a gelato chair.

Pumpkin Gelato with Candied Pecans and Salted Caramel Swirl

2 c.         Whole Milk

Pinch      Salt

½ c.        Brown sugar

¼ c.        granulated sugar

½ t.         cinnamon

¼ t.         nutmeg, freshly ground

¼ t.         ginger

4              large egg yolks

1 c.         heavy cream

½ t.         vanilla extract

¾ c.        Canned Pumpkin**

1 c.         candied pecans, chopped (I made my own)

Salted Caramel (I used David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Sauce)

Heat milk, salt and brown sugar.  Whisk yolks with granulated sugar and spices.  Temper yolks.  Heat yolk and milk mixture until it turns into custard that coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Emulsify custard and pour through sieve into heavy cream set over ice water.  Add vanilla and pumpkin and cool.  Refrigerate overnight.  Make gelato following ice cream maker’s instructions.  Add pecans during last 2 minutes.  Layer gelato with salted caramel and freeze.

** In my first version of the gelato base, I used roasted fresh pumpkin.  The flavor didn’t come out pumpkin-y enough so I remade it with the canned pumpkin which gave it a most recongnizable pumkin taste.


Artisanal Gelato of the Week: After Eight Mint Gelato

My most recent gelato creation nestled inside my last pottery-class attempt.

After Eight Mint Gelato

2 c.      whole milk

¾ c.      sugar

¼ t.      salt

2 c.      mint leaves, patted dry and lightly packed

4          large egg yolks

1 c.      heavy cream

¼ t.      vanilla extract

1 c.      chopped Andes mints (scant)

Heat milk, ½ c. sugar, and salt.  Add 1 ½ c. mint leaves and stir.  Let steep for 2 hours.  Strain mint, pressing to extract as much mint oil as possible.  Re-warm milk mixture.  Whisk yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar.  Temper yolks with milk mixture and return to stovetop.  Make custard.  Emulsify custard with remaining ¼ c. mint leaves.  Pour custard through sieve into cream set over an ice bath.  Add vanilla and chill.  Make gelato in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.  Add Andes mints about 2 minutes before gelato is finished.

Is that a vase…or are you just happy to see me?

I attended my first pottery class on Monday. In general, I’m a reticent student, preferring to sit in the corner of the class, taking it all in. Of course, as it figures, I didn’t have that option.  When I turned on my  potter’s wheel, it hit the unattached drip pan, which flung across the room with a huge crash, knocking my bucket of water all over the floor and flinging various tools wide and far (unbeknownst to me, the previous student had left the pedal down).  It was like I farted in front of the entire class, with the pottery “grad” students shaking their heads and looking in horror at the neophyte. Of course, I had to get on the floor and clean up the mess while the ladies clucked behind their flower pots and tea cups.

Perhaps it’s just me (and it has been a while), but working the clay on the potter’s wheel is quite erotic.  One of the first things I’m instructed to do is take my dripping wet hands and wrap them around my clay, working it up and down, never loosening my grasp, until it resembles something quite phallic.  I’m glancing around the room at the old ladies with 14 cats and suburban soccer moms wondering if anyone else sees (feels?) the resemblance.  Not a smirk among them.

Then, I’m asked to take the side of my palm, and press slowly down on the tip, all the while adding lubrication (water) in the process.  At one point that night, I’m straddling the wheel (I have to do that to ensure my arms are tucked into my hipbones) and my teacher, Mr. Ware, is straddling the other side, our knees almost touching, and I’m giving the clay a hand job while he watches and instructs me on the finer points (not to mention that clay “juice” is splattering all over my jeans and flip-flops). It’s enough to make a girl blush.