Monday, March 26, 2012

Cardamom Ice Cream

Ice cream. Cardamom. The final frontier. Well, no, but I still can't get over the fact that I can make ice cream as if it's some super human power that I was bestowed, by none other than my father (as a birthday present). It actually transforms a bowl of milk and sugar into a scoopable solid. Remarkable.
I have an obsession with ice cream. It's unfortunate but I really don't want to try overcoming it...yet. And I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm something of an ice cream connoisseur. The following statements are all subjective truths of course, but take my word for them. The best gelato in the city is at Grom, which has about three locations throughout Manhattan. If you happen to be on Shelter Island for some reason, look up Redding's and try theirs, it's insanely good.
Pinpointing the best ice cream shops in New York is a behemoth task, one that I don't feel entitled to execute. But I'm perfectly fine giving you some of my most frequented venues. Van Leeuwen Artisan ice cream in the East Village (7th Street between 1st and 2nd) and Greenpoint is wonderful and they also have a truck that drives around the city selling flavors like rose water, espresso, cane sugar and earl grey. Finally, Marlow and Sons on Broadway between Wythe and Berry in Williamsburg has flavors like basil and lemon verbena (don't knock the basil before you try it).
I also had amazing cardamom ice cream at the now defunct Puffs and Pastries in Hampden, Baltimore two years ago and ever since I've been trying to find a substitute. When I went back last November, while I was interviewing at JHU, my mouth watering for cardamom ice cream, I discovered that it had turned into a burger joint.
So I took it upon myself to make my own cardamom ice cream using this recipe with minor variations (I increased the amount of cardamom and I didn't add the lemon zest). This turned out to be a two day process, although it is quite possible in one day, don't despair. I began by adding 2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of sugar to a saucepan and stirring in 2 tablespoons of flour. I let this thicken, mixing it occasionally, until there were small bubbles but it wasn't boiling. Simultaneously, I whisked 4 egg yolks in a separate bowl (glass or metal) and poured in 1 cup of my milk/sugar/flour mixture and whisked vigorously so I didn't make scrambled eggs.
I left this to the side and then returned to the saucepan. I added three cups of milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 3 tsp ground cardamom (I wimped out and used already ground spice). Then I added the other bowl to the saucepan and kept it on a medium high heat until it boiled. I covered it with saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. It has to be really cold, so don't be impatient.
The next morning, I added 3 cups of heavy cream and whisked it all together. My dad assembled the ice cream maker after I gave up in complete frustration (we've now got it down to a science), and I added the mixture (all of it) to the bowl. It's amazing! The bowl has liquid surrounding it that freezes after it sits in your freezer for a minimum of 15 hours. I set the kitchen aid (this is an accessory for it) to stir speed 1 and let it run for 30 minutes. It's only soupy after this, so I put it in the freezer for a few hours and poof there was delicious and simple cardamom ice cream.
There are so many flavors to try and I can't wait to get started. My great aunt Jean had a best friend for a very long time named Olive P. Cummings who would order pints of ice cream from her local creamery and have it delivered to her house every week...until she was 98. That is my goal.