Friday, August 05, 2016

Apricot-Cardamom-Pistachio Ice Cream

Last summer, we made a lot of frozen desserts. We had borrowed a friend's ice cream machine (which we still have - oops!) and were cranking out a new flavor every weekend. Now we have our own fun little Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, and we hope to start using it regularly.

This summer's inaugural batch used up a selection of apricots that had been purchased at the farmers' market across from my office. I bought them on Tuesday for Mr Minx to eat, but he kept forgetting. By Saturday, one of them was rotten, and I needed to do something with the rest so as not to lose my investment (they weren't cheap). I also wanted to involve one or more of the Runamok Maple syrups that I picked up at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June. One of them is infused with cardamom, and I knew cardamom and apricot went well together. I also wanted to add a bit of texture to the ice cream and knew pistachios would work with both of the other players. The next question was how best to use the cardamom syrup so it didn't get lost in all that cream.

The answer was pretty simple: I used it to candy the nuts. While I did add a big pinch of ground cardamom to the ice cream itself, it was subtle. The candied nuts supplied stronger hits of the sweet spice, which made each bite more interesting.

It might seem like there's a lot of sugar in this ice cream, but apricot puree is tangy. You can probably reduce the sugar to 2/3 cup, but don't go any further than that, as less sugar will affect the way the ice cream freezes.

Apricot-Cardamom-Pistachio Ice Cream

For the nuts:
1/2 cup pistachio nutmeats
2 tablespoons Runamok Maple Cardamom Maple Syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons butter

For the ice cream:
6-8 fresh apricots (to make about 1 cup of puree)
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

To make the nuts: Prepare a sheet pan with a piece of parchment or a silicone baking sheet/Silpat.

Heat the Runamok Maple Cardamom-infused maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbly. Add the nuts. Stir the mixture constantly until the nuts are glazed and most of the moisture is evaporated. Don't cook much beyond this point - you don't want the caramel to be hard, otherwise it will be hard and potentially tooth-sticky once frozen.

Remove the nuts from the heat and immediately spread out onto the sheet pan, separating them with a fork. Allow to cool. They should still be tacky to the touch when cool.

To make the ice cream: Wash the apricots thoroughly. Cut in half, discard pits and stems, and whiz the flesh in a food processor to make a puree. Strain to remove skins, if desired (I left them in). Refrigerate puree until ready to use.

Place the milk and sugar in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until just starting to bubble around the edges. Do not let come to a boil, and definitely don't let it burn.

While the milk is warming, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Using a ladle, dribble some of the hot milk into the eggs in a thin stream, whisking constantly. After about half the milk has been whisked in, pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk. Cook over medium-low heat until thick enough to coat a spoon, whisking all the while.

Strain the custard and stir in the heavy cream. Refrigerate until cold.

Combine the cold custard with the cold apricot puree. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the consistency starts to visually resemble soft serve ice cream, start dropping in the nuts, a few at a time, until all are incorporated. Scoop the ice cream (it will still be quite soft) into a covered container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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