Cardamom-Ginger Ice Cream success
Wow, I no longer have to go to Bombay Chaat & Ice Cream in San Francisco for my cardamom ice cream fix.
I linked a basic gelato recipe below. It's a custard base that doesn't seem particularly unique, but I'm in love with it because it really worked for me. I don't think it's labelled properly as "gelato," since my product looks distinctly like ice cream shop ice cream (see photo).
Biggest triumph: I finally banished that accursed egginess that's been plaguing my ice cream. I don't know if it was the recipe, my self-enforced extra patience, advice from various parties, or an alignment of the stars, but here are my adjustments to the recipe.
-I used "homemade" superfine sugar. Basically, process the sugar in a food processor until it's powdery. It makes a bit of a mess if you try to make an entire container. There's debate about the virtues of store bought superfine sugar and homemade, but I'm not going to be picky. I just think it melts into eggs a lot more quickly than unaltered granulated.
-this recipe makes a lot of ice cream, so my food processor ended up being too small for all the hot milk. Unless you have a large processor, use a blender. I poured in as much hot milk as I could, then whisked the egg mixture back into the plain hot milk as quickly as I could (fast whisk, slow pour).
-**CRUCIAL**: I put the yolks and sugar in my food processor, let it run until the eggs turned pale yellow, then added the piping hot milk one teaspoon at a time. My friend told me that her old cooking teacher would always force them to do this, saying it would keep the eggs from curdling and tasting eggy. It was excruciatingly slow work, but completely worth it. Like I said above, I had to stop halfway through because I ran out of room in the processor, but my friend said that about halfway through you can start pouring milk in slowly anyway. The danger is usually over by then.
-When I returned the whole mixture to the stove, I added half a tablespoon of ground cardamom and two large but paper thin slices of ginger. I removed the ginger after cooling the custard in an ice bath. I would add more ginger next time, but that's just me.
-I chilled the custard overnight, added the heavy cream whipped to soft peaks, and then chilled the whole thing another hour (probably unnecessary, but I had other things I needed to do).
-I churned the mixture for about 25 minutes. That's longer than Carb Lover's been doing, but it's over a quart of ice cream and my kitchen was warm.
Five hours later, it was heavenly. Fluffy, creamy, slow to melt, spicy, sweet, perfect. This morning, it was still scoopable with a sturdy metal spoon but needed a few minutes at room temperature to be spoonable.
New trick: freezing all utensils and containers. I froze the plastic container that I use to store ice cream, and stuck my spatula in the freezer while the ice cream churned. I figure every precaution taken to keep the ice cream from melting helps. Why didn't I think of this sooner? It's so simple.
I've been eating the ice cream with Deborah Madison's cardamom cookies from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
I love that book. Just thought I'd share. I've never made anything out of it that didn't get at least one compliment, and I've never messed anything up on the first try (because the instructions are clear, complete, and simple, not because I'm exceptionally good at following instructions). It's the perfect book for people who aren't necessarily vegetarian, but who want to make their vegetable intake a little more interesting. I could eat recipes out of this book for a week before I started missing meat. Then I'd probably go eat a steak because I'm hardwired to crave red meat.
Her recipes vary in terms of difficulty and how unusual the ingredients are. Usually it's a lot of simple items that most people have, plus one or two more unusual items that I'm always happy to try out. It's not a cookbook that will send you into bankruptcy at the gourmet shop.
And if you like cardamom, the cookies are heavenly. Like buttery, light shortbread cookies with a hint of ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and kosher salt.
The cardamom cookies are the light-colored ones in this picture. The brown ones are Deborah Madison's Little Nut Cookie. They are tasty crispy cookies, but if you take them out of an airtight container for more than half an hour they become impossibly soggy. Very strange. I won't post the recipe here until I can figure out what's wrong with the recipe or my apartment.
1 stick butter at room temperature. I used European style butter (Plugra), which has a lower water content and smells incredible when you let it sit in the kitchen.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/8 teaspoon salt. I used kosher because I like grains of salt that I can taste in the final product. Use a finer salt if that's not for you
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then beat in the yolk. Stir in cardamom, salt, and flour. I added the flour 1/4 cup at a time, letting the stand mixer paddle run at about 4 (medium) the whole time. My friend made this often with a hand mixer, so I know that does work.
When everything's well mixed, divide the dough in two. Knead a few times if you didn't use a stand mixer and think it needs a little extra working. The dough will be very soft and a little sticky. Roughly shape each half into a log, then roll in plastic wrap or wax paper. It will be too soft to roll back and forth on the counter with your hands, but what DM suggests is that you make a circle with one thumb and pointer finger and pull the dough through it to make an even log about an inch thick. Make it even thinner if you want smaller cookies.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Slice unto 1/4 inch thick rounds or diagonals. Place on a cookie sheet at least an inch apart, and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. I baked them until they were light brown around the bottom edge. They were good, but I think they could have stayed in the oven until the bottom was medium brown without any detrimental effects.
I made my cookies small, about 3/4 inch in diameter, and almost equally thick. They looked like little scallops when they were done. Cute as buttons! This easily makes 3 dozen cookies, more if you make smaller ones like I did. It sounds like a lot, but they are very small cookies. You can eat three before it even occurs to you that you've eaten a tenth of your stash.
See what I mean about the recipes being easy, but also unique and delicious? There's no complicated technique or hard-to-get ingredient, but this will be a cookie that most of your friends probably haven't tasted and can't buy at Safeway. Plus, I love that these cookies can be prepped the day before or frozen for future use, and then just sliced before baking. These would be great freezer cookies, and you could bake a dozen or so in 10 minutes whenever you want fresh cookies.
I know. I need a more controlled study before I write them off. I put them in a plastic container Friday night, and Saturday afternoon they were fine. I set them out for guests, and no one said anything (these aren't shy, dainty guests). When they left and I was cleaning up, I noticed they were really soft. There were only one or two left, though, and the whole apartment was pretty warm all day. Plus, we were cooking and making a lot of steam, etc.
What kind of nuts did you use? I used finely ground almonds and some pretty well crushed pistachios. I think bigger pieces would make for better mouthfeel. Also, personally, the cookies are too sweet for me. I much prefer the cardamom cookies, which use relatively little sugar.
It's been so long, I'm not sure, but my intuition says I used walnuts. I really love walnuts.
I don't remember recipe well enough. I wonder if you could up the nut flavor by using a smidge of walnut oil iin place of a smidge of butter to really up the walnut flavor? Mmmm, walnuts.
Congrats! Sounds and looks great! The texture looks amazingly blended and consistent from core to edge. Thanks for your detailed report and adding to my arsenal of ice cream making tricks. Have never used a food processor for ice cream, but I'm a firm believer in beating eggs w/ sugar til pale and ribbon-like. Will try to add hot dairy slooooowly.
That looks great. I love ginger. I don't think I'm going to get through my ever-growing list of flavors I "have" to make. I have always beat my eggs and sugar until pale - I thought that was always the way? As far as churning time, my machine has been stopping at about 10 minutes with custard based ice creams, which always surprises me because I churn sorbet for at least 45.
You have inspired me. Circa 1990-91 we lived within walking distance of a Japanese restaurant in Pasadena, CA that had the most amazing ginger ice cream. I've thought about it ever since and have never been able to find any just like it...maybe I can reproduce it....but you used raw ginger, right? I think this had candied ginger.
Let's say you wanted to use cardamon from pods in lieu of (or in addition to) the powdered, any idea how much???