Ice cream evokes pleasant childhood memories for me. Blazing hot summery days meant a trip to the store to pick up ice cream where I would gawk at the different flavors displayed for several minutes before I could make up my mind on decide on a flavor. Ice cream cones were never for me, I'd savor every lick off the sweet creamy frozen milk while it ran down the ridges of the cone and drip off my fingers onto my clothes. By the time I was done eating, my hands were sticky and messy but that icky sweet escape was worth every delightful minute.
Ever since I bought my ice cream maker, the canister occupies a permanent place in my heart and freezer. I've been using it at least a few times a month, testing and tasting (which really is the best part of making a frozen dessert) and experimenting with new flavors. Just like baking, ice cream making requires patience and chemistry, correct ratios of fat, sugar and water to create just the right texture in the freezer. It makes me feel like I am back at work in the lab, except I can eat what I am working on this time.
Cardamom is probably one of the most prominent spices you will find Indian desserts. Indians love infusing it in almost everything from masalas (spice mixes) to warm and cold desserts. In this particular ice cream, it lends a cool fragrant flavor. I also infused a few black peppercorns into the milk and added a little extra ground black pepper (the extra amount is completely optional) to balance the coolness without making the ice cream spicy hot. I adapted the base of the ice cream and the raspberry sauce from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Bauer.
black peppercorn, cardamom, and raspberry sauce ice cream
servings: approximately 1 generous quart
2 cups raspberries (I used a mixture of golden and red raspberries)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces whole fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
10 green cardamom seeds
1. In a thick bottomed saucepan, heat the raspberries and brown sugar on a medium-high flame. Bring the contents to a boil and then reduce to a medium flame and stir constantly for 9-10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and filter the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds. Press the mixture in the sieve to extract as much fruit pulp as possible. Chill the filter raspberry sauce in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before use. Alternatively place the raspberry sauce in ziploc freezer bag or glass bottle and chill in an ice water bath for 30 minutes.
2. Take two tablespoons of the milk and mix it with the cornstarch in a small bowl to form a slurry. Keep aside.
3. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a large glass mixing bowl and keep aside.
4. Bring the rest of the milk, heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup to a boil on a medium-high flame in a thick bottom saucepan. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and add the peppercorns, ground pepper, and cardamom, stir constantly with a silicone spatula and cook for 4 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot milk and bring the milk back to a boil over medium-heat. Cook the milk until it begins to thicken slightly and covers the end of the spatula, about 1-1 1/2 minutes. Remove the milk from heat.
5. Carefully whisk the hot milk into the glass mixing bowl containing the cream cheese until smooth. Pass the hot milk through a sieve to remove the peppercorns and cardamom seeds. Transfer the milk into a gallon ziplock freezer bag and chill the sealed bag in an ice-water bath for 30 minutes, adding more ice if necessary.
6. After chilling, pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream make. Churn until the ice cream no longer sticks to the sides of the canister and it does not freeze anymore, this should take about 30 minutes (Alternatively, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker).
7. Layer the frozen ice cream into a freezer safe storage container with an airtight lid and alternate with layers of the raspberry sauce. Do not mix the ice cream and sauce. Cover the surface with a sheet of parchment paper and press firmly against the surface to remove any trapped air bubbles. Place the lid on the container and freeze until firm for at least 4 hours before serving.