Purchasing an ice cream maker in Los Angeles in May seemed like a fairly safe bet. And so, when my two-year old went cuckoo over a purple Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Maker on sale for $49 at Sur La Table last week, I thought why not? He was reacting to purple plastic, but I admit I kind of used him as an excuse to indulge my ice cream habit.
And then fate rewarded me by sending pouring rain and gale force winds the very next day. Which is when I remembered a recipe I’d seen in the New York Times back in February 2000, a recipe I’ve wanted to try now for the past ELEVEN YEARS. Spicy and just the right amount of sweet, it’s a recipe for gingersnap ice cream made with fresh ginger, cracked black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg. And let me just say that it was well worth the wait!
GINGERSNAP ICE CREAM
Adapted from Gramercy Tavern
Time: 45 minutes, plus chilling and freezing time
1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 whole nutmeg, crushed
2 cracked cardamom pods
12 large egg yolks
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons 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. Turn off heat; let spices infuse for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, brown sugar and molasses.
3. To make the base, bring milk mixture back to boil, 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. (Foodinista note: Serve with a favorite cookie, which in my case was a crispy chocolate number from Canter’s Deli on Fairfax.)
Yield: about 5 cups.