Ice Cream Cake

by Anh-Minh on August 29, 2014

icecream14To mark a year of sharing delicious recipes with us, Melina Hammer has created a multi-hyphenated treat:

fig-bourbon vanilla-almond brittle-pistachio honey-gingersnap ice cream cake

It has been a year of sharing delicious things with you all. I hope you have looked forward to and perhaps even made a recipe or a few, from these beautiful stories. Maybe even loved them? From last month’s panzanella to the muscadine marbled cheesecake, the braised lamb shanks with melted onions to the savory meat pies, the apple flognarde to the bourbon-soaked layer cake, I have reveled in finding new ways to enchant you, month to month. To indulge in tempting recipes together, to nourish when the cold creeps in, and to lighten things up when bikini weather is right around the corner, it has been so much fun. And really, the fun is only beginning. To celebrate, what other way than with a fanciful cake.

In line with the season’s swelter—I have not accepted that summer is coming to a close—I give you an ice cream cake. Not because it means no cooking, but because it makes everyone smile, and really, because it is just so good. You can do these steps over the course of a few days to spread the process out, or you can do it all in one day—as your celebration needs require.

icecream01for the fig ice cream layer

  • 2 cups ripe figs—they should feel soft but not mushy to the touch, stems trimmed and quartered
  • just under 1 pint ice cream—I used Steve’s bourbon vanilla; any good-quality vanilla bean ice cream will work well

for the brittle

  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • butter for greasing the pan

for the additional ice cream layer

  • just under 1 pint ice cream—I used Jeni’s pistachio honey; suggested substitutions: butterscotch, butter pecan, chai, pistachio

for the cookie crumb base and topping

  • 2 cups store bought gingersnap cookies, chopped finely—reserve 1/2 cup for topping



1. Place fig segments on a small rimmed baking sheet so that they do not touch one another and freeze for an hour. If you are doing this farther in advance, transfer them to a sealed container until ready to use. Allow the ice cream to warm at room temperature for 20 minutes. Combine frozen figs and softened ice cream in a bowl, stirring to combine.

icecream042. Line a loaf pan with parchment, cutting both width and length measurements long enough for at least a 2-inch overhang. These will function as tabs so you can easily pull the finished cake from its mold.

3. Spread ice cream-and-fig mixture evenly to coat the bottom. I made this layer about 1-inch thick. Depending on the size of your pan or if you used the whole pint, it may vary slightly. Wrap securely with cellophane and freeze for at least 2 hours.
4. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and spread toasted almonds out in an even layer. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Allow it to bubble, and without stirring, cook until sugar turns a dark amber color. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Immediately pour over almonds, tilting pan for even coverage or use a rubber spatula to incorporate almonds fully. Allow to cool to room temp, then twist corners of baking sheet to release and break apart.
5. Chop brittle into small pieces. Bring loaf pan out from freezer and spoon brittle on top of fig ice cream layer. Make sure to cover all surfaces, including the corners, and press down with the back of a spoon to create a solid, even layer. Re-cover with cellophane and freeze for at least an hour.
icecream086. Bring second ice cream pint out of freezer to soften, again for about 20 minutes. Spread to coat brittle layer, again about 1-inch thick. Cover securely with cellophane and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
icecream10icecream117. Bring loaf pan from freezer and uncover, then spoon chopped gingersnaps onto pistachio ice cream layer (or whatever flavor you have chosen). Once again be sure to cover all surfaces including the corners, and tamp the crumbs down to make a solid surface. If you want to make your crust more uniform, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and mix it in with the cookie crumbs before tamping the mixture, allow it to cool to room temp, and pack the crumbs firmly to cover. Otherwise, know that some crumbs will fly as you invert the pan. Cover one more time with cellophane and freeze for 2 hours.

icecream138. Remove the loaf pan from freezer, uncover, and place a serving platter onto top. In one swift motion, invert platter and pan together. Set platter onto a table surface and gently lift pan. The parchment should allow for easy release from the pan and the frozen cake. Discard parchment, and sprinkle reserved chopped gingersnaps on top of the cake.

9. Slice into segments with a sharp knife and serve immediately. Happy Anniversary!icecream15

{ Text, Recipes & Photographs by Melina Hammer for Anthology Magazine }


The Clayer Autumn E-Course

by Anh-Minh on August 28, 2014

dfayt_theclayer1While I’d like to think that my style has evolved over the years, there are some artists and designers whose work I will probably never tire of seeing. One of those is San Francisco ceramicist Diana Fayt. I love her nature-inspired pieces, which often feature hand-drawn etchings and splashes of color.

Diana just announced that registration is now open for the autumn session of her e-course Surface Patterns & Molds. And if you sign up before September 10, you’ll get an early-bird discount of $30, bringing the cost down to $149. The six-week e-course takes place October 13-November 21, 2014. According to Diana, the classes will focus on “creating patterns and rich textures on our clay surfaces.” Sure, purchasing her wares is great—but the opportunity to learn from the very talented artist might be even better!

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{ All images via Diana Fayt }


Tom Killion Woodcut Prints

by Anh-Minh on August 18, 2014

killion1I was recently looking at the list of exhibitors for this weekend’s Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, and was excited to see Tom Killion‘s name. Killion is a local printmaker who specializes in woodcut works. His subjects include some of my favorite places in the Bay Area—like Big Sur, the Marin Headlands, and Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

Influenced in part by the Japanese art of ukiyo-ëKillion carves his landscapes out of linoleum and wood. He then prints them on to handmade kozo paper, employing oil-based inks and a hand-cranked proofing press. Over at Wanderfoot, they’ve got a great profile on Killion with photos taken in his Pt. Reyes studio. I love seeing a glimpse of his process, and am looking forward to checking out his work in person at the festival. (Good news for those who are unable to go to the event: Killion sells his prints through his website.)

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{ Print photo via Tom Killion. Studio photos by Klea McKenna via Wanderfoot. }


Workaday Handmade

by Anh-Minh on August 15, 2014

workadayForrest Lewinger is the Brooklyn ceramicist behind Workaday Handmade, a collection of one-of-a-kind vessels. I was immediately drawn to the carefree nature of his patterns. And I became even more enamored with his work when I read the story of how he launched his business, as shared by Of A Kind (which is one of my favorite shops ever):

“A Georgia guy who moved to NYC in 2011, Forrest, who spends his days as a potter and production assistant for a high-end ceramicist, decided to commit his midday meal time to creating one original piece of artwork per day—clay creations, glazed blue, that he called lunch pots. After a few months at it in 2012, these projects began to take over his apartment—and friends asked to take them off his hands. … In fact, they were the start of his own company. Since those early days, he has expanded his scope to hand-thrown and -painted cups, bowls, and vases, has mixed up his color palette, has gotten a studio space, and has added some after-hours time to the schedule.”

Quite a few of his pieces are sold out on his site, but luckily, there’s a handy list of stockists so you can track down more of his work.

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{ Images via Workaday Handmade }



Chelsea Miller Knives

by Anh-Minh on August 14, 2014

chelsea_millerWhen I got married nearly ten years ago, my husband and I registered for knives. We received a set from one of my in-laws’ friends, and it’s been sufficient all these years. So we haven’t given much thought to buying knives ever since. But that changed when I came across Chelsea Miller’s gorgeous creations.

Miller is the daughter of a blacksmith and carpenter who, four years ago, began collaborating with her father to make knives. Since then, she has honed her skills and launched a collection of “rustic, yet elegant knives.” In addition to cheese, kitchen, and microplane chesse knives, Miller handcrafts cheese tools and cutting boards. (I love that some of the knife handles incorporate spalted maple from a tree on her childhood farm in Vermont.) While they’re a bit of a splurge, Chelsea Miller Knives are heirloom quality and, in my mind, works of art—that have the added bonus of being functional.

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{ Images via Chelsea Miller Knives }