Food Blog Battle vs. TFIMB
The moment of truth has finally arrived. If you don’t know already, my sworn rival and I are having a food blog battle today. After you check out my creation below, be sure to go look at whatever thing he has concocted. Also, be sure to vote on one our sites for your favorite. It doesn’t matter what site you vote on. The forms are linked to the same poll.
And the secret ingredients that we picked for this battle are:
I think we picked two great ingredients out of the possible ingredients. They actually go together pretty nicely and could be used in a ton of different dishes. I thought about doing something curryish, then considered using a nice piece of pork to bring the two ingredients together. I also considered making my own chili powder which isn’t too hard, but I couldn’t easily find good dried chilies.
Ultimately, I decided to go sweet. Dessert.
I wanted to apply the two secret ingredients to an old-fashioned recipe: cobbler and ice cream. So I made a Mango Cobbler with Chocolate Chili Powder Ice Cream.
Let’s talk ice cream first. I don’t have one of those nifty ice cream machines so I had to do it the old fashioned way which isn’t really hard but does take some time. Start with these:
There are a lot of recipes out there for ice cream, at the end of the day I adapted this one from David Lebovitz. Obviously, I changed it to add the special ingredients.
Chocolate Chili Ice Cream
Yield: 1 quart
1 1/4 Cups whole milk
3/4 Cup sugar
A pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
2 Cups heavy cream
1/4 Cup cocoa powder
2 Teaspoons chili powder
Ice Cream Maker
1) Combine all ingredients except cream and eggs in a medium saucepan.
2) Whisk this together really well over medium heat until it starts to boil. Then you need to add this mixture to your eggs to make a custard base. Start by adding a little of your warm mixture to your eggs to temper them. This will get your eggs up to temperature. After your eggs are warm, you can add them back to your sauce pan without fear of making scrambled eggs.
3) Then return this to the heat until this thickens a bit - probably 5 minutes on low.
4) Once your custard coats the back of a spoon nicely, strain this custard mixture into your bowl of cream. If you are super confident in your custard abilities then you don't need to strain it I guess.
5) Then chill that mixture over an ice bath until it is cool.
6) Once the mixture is chilled, churn it according to instructions on your ice cream maker. If you don't have a maker, pour the mixture into a 13 by 9 baking dish and put it in the ice box. After about 45 minutes, take it out and with a whisk or fork, or electric mixer if you are a wuss, beat it up. Your goal is to break up all of the ice crystals that have formed and make it smooth.
7) If you don't have an ice cream maker you'll have to keep repeating this freezing/whisking process every 30 minutes until it turns into, well, ice cream. I made mine the day before I made my cobbler and it keeps great for days.
First thing is to combine everything except the cream and eggs into a medium sauce pan.
Whisk this together really well over medium heat until it starts to boil. Then you need to add this mixture to your eggs to make a custard base. Start by adding a little of your warm mixture to your eggs to temper them. This will get your eggs up to temperature. After your eggs are warm, you can add them back to your sauce pan without fear of making scrambled eggs.
I added about half of my hot mixture slowly and then added the egg mixture back to the other half of hot milk.
Then return this to the heat until this thickens a bit – probably 5 minutes on low.
The smell of chili powder was in the air.
Once your custard passes the back of the spoon test, strain this custard mixture into your bowl of cream. You strain it just to get out any little bits of egg that accidentally cooked. If you are super confident in your custard abilities then you don’t need to strain it I guess.
Then chill that mixture over an ice bath until it is cool.
Once it is chilled, pour this mixture into a 13 by 9 baking dish and put it in the ice box. After about 45 minutes, take it out and with a whisk or fork, or electric mixer if you are a wuss, beat it up. Your goal is to break up all of the ice crystals that have formed and make it smooth.
Return it to the freezer and repeat the beating every 30 minutes until it turns into, well, ice cream. I made mine the day before I made my cobbler and it keeps great for days.
The Cobbler. A good cobbler, in my mind, has a rich fruity filling with a thick crust. A good cobbler also requires ice cream so it is a good thing we have that covered.
Mango Skillet Cobbler (Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5 Mangos (cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 1 pint assorted berries (if I made this again, I would use less berries and not raspberries. Probably just blueberries.)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons corn starch
- 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour (I actually used closer to 2 Cups. Start with less though and add more if you need it.)
- 5 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 Cup buttermilk
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon chili powder
First, peel your mangoes. If you are good, you can do this.
Then get a large, oven-safe skillet and add about 3/4 of your mangoes and berries and all of your other filling ingredients. Cover this with foil and let it cook on the stove over medium heat for about 15 minutes. This will cook down the fruit so your end result isn’t too runny. Nobody likes a runny cobbler.
After it cooks down for 15 minutes, I added the rest of my fruit. This gave the final product different textures which is good. Also, it was at this moment that I realized the berries may have been a bit overkill.
Once the fresh fruit is mixed in and warmed, add your thickener mixture of corn starch and lemon juice. Mix together the corn starch and lemon juice before you add it.
Ok. Cover that so it stays warm (I just use a piece of foil) and work on your topping. Combine all of your topping ingredients in a bowl and they should come together into a pretty wet dough. I added a bit more flour than the original recipe called for because it was too wet to work with. Eventually I got it into a ball.
Oh also, I made this while my cobbler cooked:
Back to the dough, knead your dough a few times on a floured surface. Just knead it for a few seconds, you want to keep it pretty light. Then roll it out into a 1/2 in thick rectangle and rip it up into chucks and throw it on your cobbler filling. It’s supposed to look kind of messy. Nobody likes a clean cobbler.
I also sprinkled it with a good amount of my chili sugar.
This goes into a 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until it look like this:
It will be hard, but let this cool for 10 minutes before eating. Then serve it up!
It looks good on a plate, but I like mine in a bowl so I can mix it all together.
The Verdict. I had about 10 different people try this combo I created and I think it went really well. The only criticism was that the mangos got a little bit lost in the cobbler. Luckily, I kept my pieces pretty large so there were still large chunks of mango. The color of the raspberries took over the dish though.
The ice cream was a unanimous winner. The savory chili flavor was enhanced by the cocoa powder and it worked perfectly. It also paired perfectly with the cobbler.
Do your part!
This battle is all in good fun, but Dan and I still wanted to give our readers a way to vote. Use the below poll to vote and as I said before, the poll on his site and mine are linked so no need to vote twice and it doesn’t matter which site you vote on.
We didn’t really think of specific criteria to judge on, so use whatever criteria you want I guess!
Hope you guys liked my sweet take on these ingredients!
Update: Dan and I decided to close the polls at Noon on Tuesday, so vote by then.