All the Presidents’ Tables: Bill and George Tête à Tête

bill-and-georgePresident-Elect George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton met for lunch in December 2000  in the Clinton White House to discuss the impending transition of power.  This is what they ate:

Squash soup
Greek Salad
Filet Mignon
Upside-down Apple Tart w/ Maple Ice Cream*

I think it’s interesting that there’s no quarter given to vegetarians in most White House menus — meat and lots of it, that’s the order of the day. A very traditionally masculine tendency. But then power and masculinity have tended to ride the same horse, so to speak. Historically anyway.

The maple ice cream reflects American cuisine — sugar maples, snow, and ice crystals  and all that. But another facet to this jewel lies in the popularity of maple ice cream among chefs of stellar California restaurants like Suzanne Goin’s Lucques. The following recipe is an adaptation of hers, from her droolingly good cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques. She calls for pure maple sugar and around these parts that’s a hard commodity to find.

Robyn Lee
Photo credit: Robyn Lee

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

3/4 cup pure Grade A maple syrup
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 t. maple extract

Over medium-high heat, boil the maple syrup in a medium-sized pan until reduced by about 1/2, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the milk, cream, and salt. Cook until mixture simmers. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until lightened.

Temper the egg yolks by adding a few tablespoons (around 1/4 cup total) of the hot  mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Then stir the yolks into the rest of the hot mixture, still whisking constantly.

Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let it boil. And keep scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and scorching.

Strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. (This gets rid of any solid parts of egg that might be lurking about, ruining the aesthetics of the cream.)  Add the maple extract. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

© 2008 C. Bertelsen