Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honey and Spice and All Things Nice

(Firstly, sorry for the dodgy photo. We ate all of this ice cream before a good picie could be taken).

Strange things are afoot in our place. We make bread. We don't own glad wrap. We are thinking of selling our car and riding everywhere. We have started smoking occasionally (and I really do know how bad this is for my health). We don't buy ice cream, it has to be home made to be consumed. Strange.

But home made ice cream is surely a treat. The texture is smooth. The flavour possibilities are only limited by your imagination. So far we have largely stuck to a butterscotch/caramel and also a rich chocolate. But inspiration has hit, the need to clear out the cupboards of perishable has ment discovering new options for ice cream flavours. My fella insists that the butterscotch/caramel cannot be beaten, but I am trying that's for sure. Am I on to a winner with this one? I think so, but he is yet to be convinced. Perhaps next time I will win him over.

I have a few tips for making ice cream. They are simple but necessary. Too often I've ended up with expensive custard. Too often the ice cream churner has been religated to the appliance cupboard. After trial and error the churner now lives in the freezer, ready to make ice cream at short notice. So here is what to do:

1. Have your churner frozen for at least 24 hours before you churn;

2. Make sure your ice cream has a thickening agent - eggs or cornflour - otherwise it is challenging to get it to set and you get crunchy ice cream;

3. Cool your ice cream mix overnight before churning it, make it cold!

Honey & Spices Ice Cream

Makes around 800 mls

200 mls thickened cream

500 mls milk, plus 50 mls more

4 cloves

½ tsp ground cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick

½ tsp ground cardamom or three cracked cardamom pods

150 ml honey

2 tbs corn flour

Place the bowl of your ice cream maker into the freezer.

Combine the cream, milk and spices together in a medium saucepan. Heat gently until steaming. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for around 10 minutes. Strain the milk through a sieve to remove the spices. Add the honey and stir well. Bring it gently to the boil, stirring often and simmer gently for around 5 minutes so that the flavours infuse well.

Pour the extra 50 mls milk in a small bowl. Add the corn flour and stir until smooth. Return this mixture to the main milky mix. Stir well, and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Stir it often as you don’t want burnt ice cream! The mixture will boil and hopefully thicken somewhat.

Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the liquid with either grease proof paper of glad wrap. This will form a “skin” and prevent your ice cream from forming a thick top layer. Leave on the bench to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge to chill overnight.

Remove the covering from your ice cream mix, stir it well to ensure mixture is combined and pour into your ice cream maker. Churn for 20 minutes, until beginning to thicken. Transfer to a freezer container, seal and freeze until more firm.

Inspired by a recipe from Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries.

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