This is the first time I’ve ever been inspired to bake something new because I was just so damned excited about new underwear. So I’m gonna lead with that:
This is the Antoinette basque by Masquerade (one of Panache’s sister brands, sometimes known in the US as Harlequin, just to make navigating the US vs. UK lingerie markets SUPER EASY AND NOT AT ALL CONFUSING). Masquerade used to release the Antoinette collection (basque, bra, thong, short) in a new colorway every winter, and I LOVED it. Again, it was one of the first things I ever saw at Bravissimo, and it made me go “oh! For ME?! I can have it too? Oh joyous day!” Julia Lambert found one in her size in peach with black lace at a store in Chicago, I had one in teal with black lace a few years ago, and the one I saw on Bravissimo was hot pink with black lace.
In the last two years Masquerade replaced their Antoinette range with the Delphi range, which is more intricately detailed, but it’s way less my cup of tea. I find the colors musty-looking and the overall design a little dated and old. I am pleased that Masquerade has increased the size range (28-38 D-H, not too shabby), but the satin AND lace AND beading, plus the dull colors really do nothing for me.
Beautiful lace overlay is everywhere the last few seasons, and whether it’s thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge or just nostalgia for super feminine fashions of yore I don’t know, but it’s lovely. Mimi Holliday has released a few teaser images of their next season, and: LACE.
Claudette just released their new En Dentelle collection: LACE.
Figleaves Boudoir: LACE.
I could go on. I get that at a certain point you run out of colors to layer under black lace (Curvy Kate recently began mixing up their Tease Me range by layering with white lace for spring/summer instead of black), but it’s so classic, so feminine, so sexy, and so romantic, I wish Masquerade would revive Antoinette, with the increased cup sizes the Delphi range offers, and possibly with a longer torso and hooks for suspenders.
ANYHOODLE, back on track, my lovely teal Antoinette basque no longer fits by a country mile. I discovered this the other day, got bummed out, and decided to start Googling. To my surprise I found a huge selection of sizes available in an eBay store in the last colorway ever produced: Pistachio (no matching knickers to be found anywhere, unfortunately). This thing retailed in the US for over $120; I scored mine for around $40, plus free shipping. It arrived Wednesday, I tried it on, and then I wore it around my apartment for hours, because it’s perfect. I wasn’t sure how the color would look with my pale skin, but the black lace keeps it from washing me out, and I love the way the velvet straps look against my shoulders. Please bring this style back, Masquerade! I adore it.
I had so much fun pairing my plum pie with plum lingerie I decided to pair my pistachio basque with some pistachio ice cream. This recipe is barely adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, one of my go-to ice cream cookbooks (thanks Roommate!). Jeni doesn’t use the classic custard base that most ice cream recipes use (egg yolks, cream, and sugar, gently cooked, similar to a crème brûlée). She didn’t like the way the ice cream easily turned gritty without additives, so she revamped the technique from head to toe. This ice cream has no eggs in it at all (great for those who might be allergic), and she uses cream cheese and cornstarch to stabilize, thicken, and smooth. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finished product the first few times I tried her recipes, as I missed the silkiness the eggs give, and I found the technique a little fussy (read: I had to wash more dishes), but I have to admit that the ice cream stays extremely creamy, with little grittiness or crystallization, and the flavors are FANTASTIC. Pistachio ice cream is one of the classics that somehow manages to remain a little special, elegant, and refined. Just like my beautiful lacy underwear.
For the ice cream:
1/2 c. shelled unsalted pistachios
2 c. whole milk
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
pinch of salt (Jeni likes a saltier ice cream than I do. For me, the salt in the cream cheese plus just a pinch of table salt is perfect. If you’re feeling daring, go for 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt instead)
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Measure the milk into a measuring cup, and then transfer about 2 tbsp. of that milk to a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch (in the small bowl, not the measuring cup) and set aside. Place softened cream cheese and salt in a large bowl, set aside. Get out another large bowl for your ice-water bath, and make sure you have a ton of ice cubes on hand.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the pistachios evenly on a small baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Immediately pour nuts into the bowl of a food processor (Mom, I still love my food processor. Thank you for that!) and pulverize until they form a smooth paste. This will take approximately 1 million years. Not really, but it will take a while, and I’d recommend stopping the processor to scrape down the sides with a spatula every once in a while. Add the pistachio paste to the bowl with the cream cheese and salt and whisk until smooth.
Stir together the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, and allow to boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch/milk mixture (you may want to whisk this again briefly before adding it to the saucepan). Return the pan to the stove and bring back to a boil for about 1 minute, until thickened slightly, being sure to scrape down the sides with a heat-proof spatula. Slowly add the hot milk/cream mixture a bit at a time to the pistachio paste/cream cheese mixture, whisking vigorously until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into a heavy-duty ziplock bag, pressing out the air and sealing it.
Submerge the ziplock bag in an ice-water bath for about 30 minutes or until very cold. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, add the almond extract, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the semi-frozen ice cream to a container, and press a layer of parchment paper across the surface to keep ice crystals from forming. Seal tightly and freeze for about 4 hours until firm. Makes about 1 quart. If you have leftover plum syrup from making a certain pie, and you do not re-warm said syrup (with a few teaspoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat) and pour the warm syrup over your pistachio ice cream, then you are a fool.