It's been a while since I've shared REAL food on my blog and not just drawings of it, but I didn't want you to miss out on this bodacious ice cream I concocted for our Fourth of July dinner. The other day I cracked open Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies book to try some Cafe de Olla cookies. The dough smelled amazing, but the taste was really subtle in the final cookies. I fantasized that if I amped up all my favorite parts of that flavor combination and made it into ICE CREAM, we would really have a winner on our hands. Taking flavor infusion cues from my ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop, I came up with this recipe. I'm skipping super descriptive technique details here, so if you're not solid on ice cream basics, really, go pick up The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.
1 tsp. whole anise seeds
1 cup whole coffee beans
1 tsp. black pepper corns, coarsely cracked
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Toast the anise seeds in a saucepan for a couple of minutes, until they get really aromatic. Pour in 1 cup of cream, and the milk, sugar, salt, coffee beans, and cracked pepper corns. Stir until warm, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, for an hour.
Rewarm that spicy mixture. Put the final cup of cream in a bowl with a mesh strainer set over it. (Nestling this bowl in an ice bath in a larger bowl comes in handy if you're impatient to cool things, like I am.) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and slowly temper the eggs with the warm spicy milk mixture until they're combined. Pour back into saucepan and stir over low heat until it thickens enough to coat your spoon or spatula.
Strain the custard into the bowl with the cold cream, discarding all the seeds, coffee beans, and miscellaneous chunks. Stir in the vanilla and the espresso powder, and continue stirring the custard mixture until it's cool. CHILL THOROUGHLY. I always forget to leave enough time. IT'S GOTTA BE COLD. Overnight would be great. I managed success on just three hours of refrigerating this time around. To kill time, toast those slice almonds in a skillet just enough to lightly brown them.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker of choice! (I love my CuisineArt machine.) Chop up the toasted almond slices and add them in the final minutes of churning. Eat a few spoonfuls of yummy soft ice cream straight off the dasher for quality control, then freeze the rest for a couple hours before serving.
We enjoyed this batch with individual berry tarts for maximum holiday color coordination, but the ice cream really stands alone as a superb dessert. If you are an affogato fan, this would be SUPERB with an espresso poured over it. Enjoy!!