19 May 2009

Cardamom, saffron & pistachios.

Nothing says southern-style barbecue like cardamom. Ok, well, maybe cardamom is more an Indian spice. But it's yummy, and as such it falls into the purvey of Indirect Heat.

I'm a *huge* fan of cardamom. The sweet spiciness of it is one of the best flavors we cook with. We often start our weekend mornings with a delicious pot of chai tea. Not the bland, insipid teabags you can buy in the grocery store - but an authentic chai that requires ten minutes of spice grinding to prepare. But that's for another day.

Last week I found a beautiful post over at Tartelette. Cardamom Saffron Ice Cream. I just recently acquired the KitchenAid Mixer Ice Cream Maker Attachment and I'm a gear guy, so combine a recipe with one of my favorite spices and the chance to play with my newest kitchen toy, and, well... I'M IN!

So, first part first, I didn't use the recipe at Tartelette. I modificated it. I love the custard deliciousness of a French style frozen custard ice cream so I custardized the recipe (my favourite ice cream book for this type of info is Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz). And I love cardamom, so I juiced up the cardamom. Here we go.

1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch salt
6 large egg yolks
7 cardamom pods
pinch saffron
1/3 cup raw pistachios
This is a custard. It's a tiny bit tricky. But I'm going to give you all the details that most of the books leave out. Cause they want you to fail. That's the only reason I can think of that no books write down ALL the details you need to succeed at a proper stirred custard. I've failed sufficiently frequently at making yummy custards that I don't want anymore custard failure in the universe. No one will ever love you the way I love you. Ahem. Did I say that out loud?

Okie dokie. Crush the cardamom pods roughly in a mortar and pestle, or with the side of a knife. Warm up the milk, 1 cup of cream, sugar, the salt, and all of the crushed cardamom bits. Get them nice and warm, to around 150-160°F (a kitchen thermometer is inexpensive and will make all of this much easier - so I recommend you get one). Shut off the heat, and leave the cardamom to steep for half an hour or so. Meanwhile, separate the egg yolks, and bring them to room temperature. This part is important. If egg yolks warm too quickly they curdle. Warm 'em slow, and you get deliciousness. Warm 'em fast, and you get scrambled egg in milk.

Beat the egg yolks until they're light and frothy. After steeping, grab a ladle, and beat a ladleful of warm cream gunk into the egg yolks. Whip it into an emulsion. Slowly add the remaining cream mixture bit by bit, until you have a lovely emulsion, yellowish, and lovely and slightly frothy and frothish. Now put it back in the pot, and stir it over low heat with a silicone spatula. Don't stop stirring. Ever. It'll curdle if you stop, so don't. Watch the temperature. If you want a custard, it has to get to between 170 and 175°F. If it hits 185, you're getting scrambled eggs. So keep an eye on that thermometer. As soon as it hits the temperature range you're aiming for, pour it through a strainer into a bowl with the remaining cream, to rapidly cool the custard.

Mix it into the rest of the cream, add the saffron and leave it to cool in the fridge overnight.

24 hours later, run it through your ice cream maker. With the KitchenAid ice cream maker it'll take about 20-25 minutes to get it to the right consistency. That gives you enough time to remove the shells and peels from the pistachios, and chop them to get them a bit smaller.

Click to bigify.
Two minutes before you intend to stop the ice cream maker, add the pistachios. Mix thoroughly, and scoop the ice cream into a container to harden properly in the freezer.

Serve, and win the love and affection of your wife. Best ice cream EVER.


Dr. Ricky said...

You know, I think Shirley Corriher wrote up all the details of doing a proper stirred custard in her book. At least, so my sister swears.

Bbq Dude said...

Hmmm... I've put my custard info together from 3 separate books, one of which is even entitled "Elegantly Easy Creme Brulee". Even a creme brulee book doesn't have all the important info in it...

I should check out Shirley Corriher.

Roxana said...

This sounds a little similar to a Persian ice cream recipe, which involves saffron, rose water, and pistacios (optional).

Bbq Dude said...

Hmmm... I picked up some rose water when I first picked up orange blossom water. I'll have to try that Persian ice cream...

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