Monday, June 15, 2015

Three Years

This Passover I saw your mother and met your dog. This was so unexpected, so unanticipated that I did not know how to process it. As it is, earlier in the holiday, sitting together with our friends, I was struck with a wave of missing you so strong that it felt like a physical thing- we weren't even discussing anything related to you-it was just the situation, all of us around a table, snacking, talking. Then your mother, and your dog, who you loved. You talked about him a lot. There he was, nosing at my hands and pushing his head into the curve of my palm to be stroked. And your mother, well, I hadn't seen her in years and years, maybe even over a decade. She looks the same, except she doesn't because loss is one of those things that leaves its mark.

I wasn't emotionally prepared, but then again, especially now, I tend to think that we are never really prepared.

Three years.

I've been meaning to write about this ice cream for a while- since Passover, but it's fitting that I'm writing about it now, since that last time I saw Bayla was at the great Mouseline ice-cream parlor in Jerusalem. This ice cream is not quite as good as their chestnut ice cream, but it's pretty close. It's another one of Nigella Lawson's magical no-churn recipes, and it's easy as pie. If you can find chestnut puree you can make this in two easy steps. If you can't find chestnut puree, that's fine too, it's actually quite easy to make. All you need is some vacuum packed roasted chestnuts, sugar, water, and a food processor and you're good to go.

To ice cream, friends and good memories.

No-Churn Chestnut Ice-Cream

Lightly adapted from Nigella Lawson

1 cup sweetened chestnut puree (recipe below)
2 tablespoons dark rum, chocolate or coffee liquor
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Mix together the chestnut puree and rum or liquor. Set aside.

2. Whip the cream and confectioner's sugar until it just forms soft peaks. Fold in the chestnut puree mixture.

3. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze twelve hours or overnight.

Sweetened Chestnut Puree

Lightly adapted by Krakra58 on

12 oz vacuum packed peeled roasted chestnuts
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Combine chestnuts, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes until the water thickens and becomes syrupy and is mostly evaporated.

2. Remove from heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquid.

3. Place the chestnuts in a food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add the reserved syrup until it is the consistency of say, pumpkin puree.  Mix in the vanilla. Proceed with ice cream recipe above. Left-over puree should be stored in the fridge, though honestly it's so good you'll probably just end up eating the leftovers right there and then.