Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gingersnap Ice Cream

Adapted from NYTimes.com. Check out Topics: Ice Cream for more recipes.

Instead of their vanilla custard base, I used the vanilla custard recipe in the Cuisinart Ice-20 booklet. I also halved the spices, since the Times recipe is for a larger ice cream maker.

I also added crushed Sha Sha Ginger Snap cookies and it was delicious. This ice cream gets better with every bite. It's gingery but with a very fresh ginger flavor, which is very different from powdered ginger.

The one problem I encountered was that I curdled the custard. I'm not sure why, but I think I let it get to hot when I was heating up the egg/milk mixture in step 4. It certainly didn't curdle when I was tempering the eggs. It might be that all the chunky spices encourage curdling, so I'd watch it like a hawk. I did save the custard by straining out all the curds, but I ended up with about 2/3 of the liquid I started with.

1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup milk
2 cups cream
2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1/4 whole nutmeg, crushed
1 cracked cardamom pod, or a pinch of seeds
3 large egg yolks, 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses

1. Bring small saucepan of water to boil. Add ginger, and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer ginger to large saucepan.

2. Add milk, cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom to saucepan; bring to simmer (I roughly crushed up the spices with a mortar and pestle; you want to be able to strain them out at the end so your ice cream is smooth). Turn off heat; let spices infuse for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, yolks, brown sugar and molasses.

3. To make the base, bring milk mixture to a simmer and remove from heat. Add a little hot milk mixture to yolk mixture to warm it, stirring constantly to keep yolks from curdling. Pour yolk mixture into rest of hot milk mixture, stirring constantly.

4. Return custard to stove, and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat, and strain custard through fine sieve. Chill until thoroughly cold, for at least 4 hours.

5. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

This could easily be made into chai ice cream by adjusting the spice ratio. Less ginger, much more cardamom; no nutmeg, molasses or brown sugar (use more white instead). And don't forget the black tea, of course!

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