Once again Marx Foods has given me the opportunity to stretch myself as a cook by participating in their bloggers Fregola Sarda Original Dessert Recipe Challenge! To each participant Marx Foods sent a box with Fregola Sarda, Vanilla Beans, Star Anise, and Saffron Threads from which we were to create an original dessert within the challenge perameters:
Use the fregola and one of the other samples in your box in an original dessert recipe. You can use any other ingredient in addition to the fregola and one of the other three.
After December 4th we will post links to all entered recipes on the Marx Foods blog & the two champions will be picked. One will be selected via reader poll here on the blog. The other will be chosen by the challenge participants and the the MarxFoods.com staff.
Each champion will receive $100 worth of baking ingredients from MarxFoods.com (their choice). We’ve recently added some great ones to the store…think of how much baking you could get done with a quart of premium vanilla extract…you’d be busy for years! Of course there’s also bulk dried fruit, specialty sugars, yuzu juice, elderflower syrup….etc, etc.
I'm not sure why I made this association but when I saw this box of ingredients it made me think of a dessert my mom used to make with rice, warm milk and cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. I decided to come up with a modern, grown up version of that dessert using the fregola in place of the rice. Instead of milk, I decided to go with vanilla bean ice cream and turned to Alton Brown's Serious Vanilla Ice Cream recipe as my starting point. Since making that ice cream is a two day process, I prepared it in advance so I could have it ready to use today.
I had a couple of ideas about how to prepare the Fregola and ended up dividing it in half and cooking 1/2 cup of it in water and agave nectar and 1/2 cup in 1 cup almond milk, one vanilla bean and 2 tablespoons agave nectar. I let each version simmer for about 15 minutes until the fregola was done and gave them each a taste test. The clear winner for me was the one prepared with almond milk, vanilla and agave nectar. Yum!!!!!
After letting the fregola cool to room temperature I spooned it into two serving dishes as the base of my dessert.
In addition to the vanilla bean ice cream I decided to use some apple and toasted almonds as toppings. I thought the saffron threads were a natural pairing with the ice cream and apple so I chose to sprinkle saffron on my dessert in place of the cinnamon and sugar my mom used in my childhood version.
After spooning in the ice cream and placing the apple slices in the glass, I sprinkled the toasted almonds and saffron threads on top for my grown up finished result!!! My husband and I both gave this dessert two enthusiastic thumbs up!!!!