Leave it to our friend, Jenni, to come up with a drool worthy dessert taco. She has definitely taken Taco Tuesday to another level. We met Jenni of Pastry Chef Online, at our first MIXED CON event, and she was an utter delight; we instantly hit it off, and became more than blogging friends. Jenni has over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, and studied Patisserie and Baking at culinary school 16 years ago. She spent time working as a pastry chef in fine dining restaurants before deciding to start Pastry Chef Online and begin teaching people how to cook and bake. This gal is all about techniques that can be used across the board with different recipes, and always our go-to spot when stuck or looking for new baking inspiration. You can find Jenni on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and G+.
I am so thrilled to be here at Chez Us writing a guest post! Hi, everyone! And thank you Denise and Lenny for inviting me to share on your website while you’re off adventuring!
I have been a fan of Taco Tuesday here on Chez Us from the outset. I am inspired by all the different variations on the theme that Denise and Lenny share, and I’m honored to make my contribution today.
Chez Us fans and readers, I have a special treat for you. Denise told me that it’s a good idea to have weekly series so readers have something to look forward to, and in honor of her Taco Tuesdays, I started Ice Cream Tuesdays where I make a new ice cream and post every week over on my site. I have so enjoyed coming up with creative flavor combinations. This week, I have turned my Ice Cream Tuesday into a Taco Tuesday dessert taco for you to enjoy!
I knew I wanted to go with Mexican flavors, and I had a lot of thoughts about what direction to go in. I even asked folks on my fan page and got a ton of great ideas. In the end, I decided to do what I think of as a traditional American ice cream, vanilla fudge swirl, with a Mexican twist.
The vanilla part is horchata–perfumed with basmati rice, Mexican vanilla and cinnamon, and the fudge swirl is a concentrated Abuelita, or sweet Mexican hot chocolate drink, that has just enough texture to it to contrast with the creaminess of the horchata base. The shells are standard tuiles, based on David Lebovitz’s recipe, to which I added a touch more salt and some cinnamon. And because I cannot leave well enough alone, I also made a “magic shell” coating with bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil flavored with chipotle powder and cinnamon.
The resulting taco is pretty dreamy, if I do say so myself. The horchata ice cream is cool and smooth. The taco shell stays crisp, and the hints of spice in both the swirl and the magic shell all work together to say “Mexican dessert taco!”
Enjoy, everyone. And enjoy the rest of your adventures, Denise and Lenny!
Horchata-Abuelita Swirl Ice Cream Tacos
For the Taco Shells
I used David Lebovitz’s recipe and procedure, adding an additional pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
I don’t have a waffle cone maker, so I just spread the batter out with an offset spatula as per his instructions. I traced a 6″ circle on parchment paper and then turned the paper over so I would have guidelines. I formed the shells by pressing the circle down around the back of a wooden spoon until they were cool enough to hold their shape.
For the Horchata Base
- 1 1/2 cups raw basmati rice
- 5 3″ cinnamon sticks
- 32 oz (1 quart) half and half
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6.5 oz (by weight) granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons glutinous rice flour
- 2.5 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla (I used homemade, a combination of Mexican, Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla beans in vodka)
- Heat the rice and cinnamon sticks in a heavy-bottomed skillet until fragrant. Stir constantly and listen for the rice to start making little popping sounds. You should smell both rice and cinnamon. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Pour the rice and cinnamon into a blender. Add the half and half and blend for a few seconds to break up the cinnamon sticks and the rice grains. Pour back into the pot and heat until steaming. Cool and then chill for 2-3 hours for the flavors to blend.
- When ready to make the base, strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan. Press down firmly on the solids and also give it time to drain–maybe 10 minutes or so. You should end up with about 24 ounces of dairy. Add the salt, sugar and glutinous rice flour and whisk together to incorporate.
- Place the softened cream cheese and vanilla in a medium metal bowl. Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and set aside, convenient to the stove.
- Bring the dairy mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Allow to boil for several seconds, still whisking, and then strain into the bowl.
- Let sit a couple of minutes to melt the cream cheese, then whisk vigorously until smooth.
- Set the metal bowl in a large bowl filled with ice and some water and let cool, stirring occasionally, until chilled (under 40F). If you don’t want to churn immediately, press plastic wrap directly on the surface of your base and refrigerate overnight.
For the Abuelita Swirl
- 1 tablet Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate
- 6 oz half and half
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
- heavy pinch salt
- Heat the half and half until boiling. Pour over the Abuelita and bittersweet chocolate. Let sit a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate, and then whisk until smooth.
- Add the spices and salt. Whisk again.
- The mixture will be a little bit grainy, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
- Chill to thicken–it won’t set completely.
For the Magic Shell
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon each chipotle powder and ground cinnamon, or to taste
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together, either in a double boiler over simmering water
- or in the microwave using bursts on medium power.
- Stir in the spices until smooth.
Putting it all together!
- Paint the inside of your taco shells with the Abuelita mixture and freeze until needed.
- Churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it reaches soft-serve state.
- Place the ice cream into a gallon-sized zip top bag and place in the freezer to firm up enough so it’s
- pipeable, but not so much that it leaks out of the shell, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- When the ice cream is pipeable, snip off one corner of the ziptop bag and pipe a line of ice cream
- in the bottom of a taco shell. Drizzle in a bit of the Abuelita and then more ice cream, layering until
- you fill the shell.
- Set in the freezer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining shells, and
- freeze until firm, 4-6 hours or overnight.
- When the ice cream is firm, trim away any that may overhang the edges of the taco shells.
- Drizzle on the magic shell, either in thin streams or to completely cover the ice cream beneath. Let firm up in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
- Pick ’em up and eat ’em. Or plate them, drizzling on some more Abuelita and eating with a knife and fork.
If you don’t want to make tacos, simply layer the ice cream base and abuelita in a container. Press plastic wrap
directly on the surface of the ice cream, put the lid on, and then freeze until firm, 4-6 hours or overnight.
Let temper for about 5 minutes on the counter before scooping and serving.