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Summer has officially shut down, and so too did our Ice Cream Month and Best Lick Ice Cream Contest (click here for the 26 entries... AMAZING!)
I don't think I've ever told you all the genesis of Ice Cream Month. It started two years ago: I was pregnant, nostalgic and plagued with a sweet tooth. I found myself thinking about wild and crazy times, taking tipsy strolls through Paris with Maxwell after lunch, and my first taste of Agenaise, the Armagnac-soaked prune ice cream I had at Berthillon within hours of my first setting foot in France.
It was that first lick that endeared me to Paris, a true turning point in my life as a food writer and an eater. There was Before Agenaise, and there is After Agenaise. My obsession with this ice cream inspired me to start this contest, yet, I never made it. This year, that hankering came back.
So I asked friends, flipped through books, and googled.
Our friend David Lebovitz has a recipe for Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream in his book, The Perfect Scoop. The recipe also appeared in an article he did for the LA Times (Prunes: Better than the chocolates in Paris, April 16, 2008) We got to peek at his soaking prunes in our tour of his Paris kitchen last spring. There he is scooping some out in the above photo.
The classic Chez Panisse Desserts has a version, along with three other Armagnac-inspired desserts to help you justify your initial purchase of the pricey booze. If you have a sweet-tooth but you don't have this book yet, you might want to make room on your bookshelf.
Paula Wolfort offers a Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream in her book, The Cooking of Southwest France that at first glance appears a little more complicated than the first two, but really it's just a little more wordy. Here's the recipe from Paula's website.
In blog-land, Melissa Funk at MelissaMakesBread.com, Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas, and Cucina Testa Rossa all have made this ice cream, posting beautiful photos, and waxing poetic.
What I'm getting at is that I have a bowl of prunes soaking in my kitchen right now, and you'd better believe that before this official month of ice cream making is through, I'll have made my first batch and transported myself right back to that first day in Paris, licking a melting scoop of Agenaise on the Île St-Louis with a flutter in my heart.
(First image by Brilynn, third image by Kristin Hohenadel)
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