Gingervitis and poppy seed teeth

April 16, 2010 · 30 comments

Winter may well be coming, and thoughts are turning to slow braises washed down with enough red wine to bring a flush to your face, but please spare a thought for ice cream as the temperature drops. Too often it is neglected at this time of year, replaced by the sexy upstart churros or a seductively hot chocolate fondant.

Sure, you can argue that ice cream hogs the limelight through the summer, but this is all the more reason why it shouldn’t be cast aside so readily – it’s always a bad idea to burn bridges, and it won’t be too long before you’ll go crawling back to its clutches when the weather heats up again.

I for one intend to maintain a good relationship with ice cream over winter, and towards this end I made two different types the other day in my quest to find my ideal base ice cream recipe. After now having made this “Basic Vanilla Ice Cream” recipe from an old edition of delicious magazine, I think the quest may be over. Sure, it uses a lot of egg yolks but that just means more macarons later, right? The ice cream was rich, creamy, smooth and very easy to scoop though the downside of this is that it melted somewhat readily.

You can add all sorts of things to this basic recipe, and I added 25 g of poppy seeds, making sure I had a good stock of toothpicks around.

The other ice cream I made was also from an old edition of delicious, but differed in a few ways – the most noticeable being the addition of cornflour and much less sugar. Given that it also included stem ginger in syrup however, the overall taste was sweet enough. The texture, although nice, was not as good as the basic vanilla. It held its shape much better and was more resistant to melting, but just didn’t have the same luscious creamy mouth feel. The taste was great though, so I think it would be worthwhile making a ginger version of the basic vanilla.

Keep ice cream in your thoughts this winter. Eat enough of it and you’ll even develop your very own special insulation system. It’s the selfless dessert that keeps on giving.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream
from January 2003 edition of delicious

300ml thick cream
300ml milk (I only had low fat milk so I used half milk, half thin cream)
1 vanilla bean, split
6 egg yolks
175g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Scrape in the vanilla seeds and add the bean, too. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to infuse. Place the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until pale. Carefully pour the milk over (I whisked the mixture while I did this – scrambled egg paranoia), then return to a clean saucepan.
2. Cook over low heat, stirring, for about five minutes until it is slightly thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
3. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Place custard in a plastic container in the freezer until frozen at the edges. Remove from freezer. Beat with an electric beater. Re-freeze. Repeat this process two more times. (Alternatively, churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions – add extras such as poppyseeds (I used 25 g) during the final beating or last bit of churning).

Ginger Ice Cream
from May 2002 edition of delicious

4 egg yolks
25g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
300ml single cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger
300ml thickened cream
4 pieces stem ginger in syrup, chopped (I found this in my local Asian supermarket)

1. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
2. Heat the single cream and vanilla extract in a saucepan over low heat until nearly boiling, then pour onto egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Add the ground ginger and stir to combine. Place the saucepan base in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming.
3. Whip the thickened cream in a bowl, then stir into the cooled custard mixture with the stem ginger and syrup. Pour into a shallow container and freeze until frozen at edges. Remove from freezer and beat with an electric beater. Pour back into container and refreeze. Repeat 2 or 3 times. (Alternatively churn in an ice-cream machine following manufacturer’s instructions.)


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