Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cardamom Ice Cream

This rich, creamy, tease-your-taste-buds, homemade ice cream rocks the house as our new favorite dessert... or breakfast waffle topper... or late night snack... I first tasted cardamon ice cream as part of an awesome root beer float served at the recent IFBC's Taste of Seattle, but moved on since I don't make ice cream. Ah, but that was then. Heather at recreated the dish and her post sent me exploring in kitchen cabinets, searching through the farthest corners for my used-only-once ice cream maker. I was ready to to give homemade ice cream another try. Good decision!

Photo: Cardamom ice cream tops chunky homemade applesauce over apple-filled sourdough waffles... an applelicious combination.
Cardamom adds a distinctive flavor note, whether in Scandinavian baked goods or as a key ingredient in garam masala (think Indian curries). The spice can be too assertive, so I scaled back the suggested quantities, incorporating 8 whole pods but omitting the powdered cardamom completely. Ice cream begins with a flavored custard mix... custards often contain nutmeg and cinnamon... so I added 1/4 teaspoon of Penzey's Apple Pie Spice to substitute for 1/8 teaspoon of the more aggressive powdered cardamom called for in the original recipe. It worked.

Why have I avoided making homemade ice cream for so long? It's a simple process that uses standard galley ingredients, and a machine does most of the work. I did spend long minutes stirring and whisking the mixture over low heat until it thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, but that hardly qualifies as work. The real challenge was waiting for the machine to finish churning and for the freezer to firm up the mix. Disclosure: lacking patience, RL and I sampled often, cautiously dipping a spoon into the ice cream maker as it worked. 

Mmmmm, I loved the result at first bite, our brunch and dinner guests loved its unique flavor, and RL compared it favorably to his favorite Tillamook vanilla. The ice cream maker has moved onto a countertop where it hummed away churning out three batches during the past week. Three quarts in one week? Oh yes, it disappears quickly around here, and we're always ready for more. 

Photo: Cardamom ice cream - good to the last drop!
Try it, you're going to love Cardamom Ice Cream. I promise. 

Cardamom Ice Cream
adapted from Heather at girlichef 
Yield: almost 1 quart 

  2 cups whole milk
  1 cup heavy cream
  1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  8 whole green cardamom pods, cracked open
  4 egg yolks
  3/4 cup granulated sugar
  big pinch of fine sea salt
  ¼ tsp Apple Pie Spice (Penzey's)
  a splash of vanilla extract (optional)
Place the milk and cream in a medium-large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the vanilla bean halves and cracked cardamom pods. Bring to a low boil over very low heat, stirring from time to time. Allow the mix to boil for 30 seconds; remove from the heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the vanilla bean and cardamom pods from the pot and discard; strain the liquid through a fine-mesh metal strainer and set back over very low heat.

While the liquid reheats, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until thick and pale. Temper the egg mixture (To temper: slowly ladle 1/4 cup of the hot, flavored milk into the egg mixture, beating vigorously to incorporate; repeat). Add the now-tempered egg mixture to the pan of warm milk while whisking continuously to incorporate. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it come to a boil or it will clump and scramble. Whisk in the Apple Pie Spice and a splash of vanilla extract (optional).

Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Pour the custard into a gallon-size ziploc bag. Seal the bag carefully, pushing out any air, and submerge all but the sealed edge in the bowl of ice water. When the custard mix is completely cooled, pour it into the frozen insert of your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. (It takes 30 minutes in my Krups ice cream maker.) 

Transfer to a freezer-safe container; cover, freeze and hold until ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy that I could give you a little nudge toward your ice cream machine, and even happier that you loved it! I have it in my head to use some apple pie spice in my next batch (over waffles, of course), for sure. Thanks so much for the shout-out. :)


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