Oak Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup medium-toasted oak shavings or chips
6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar
5 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks

Prepare an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream and oak shavings. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, watching carefully to keep from boiling over, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture infuse for 45 minutes.

Strain through a thin mesh colander or strainer into a heatproof bowl; discard oak shavings. Return mixture to a clean medium saucepan over very low heat.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, whisk together the granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, salt and egg yolks until almost doubled in volume, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the warm oak-infused liquid and mix just until combined well, about 30 seconds.

Return sugar and egg mixture to the saucepan of warm oak-infused milk, and gently stir in an “S” shape, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan. Mixture will be ready when it appears silky and has thickened so that it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove mixture from heat and set aside. Fill a large bowl with water and ice; place saucepan in it and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooling. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Finished ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve and should be served immediately or promptly placed in freezer to help solidify. Serve within 2 days for best results.

Pita Bread

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
35 grams whole-wheat flour (1/4 cup), preferably freshly milled
310 grams unbleached all-purposed flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Make sponge: Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup). With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.

Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)

Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.

Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat diskc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6-inch circle, then to an 8-inch diameter, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary. (The dough will shrink a bit while baking.)

Carefully lift the dough circle and place quickly on hot baking sheet. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm pita to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

YIELD 8 six-inch diameter breads