I'm a couple of weeks early for national ice cream month, which officially starts in July, but who needs an official reason to eat ice cream? Continuing on my cardamom binge, I offer you this pistachio cardamom ice cream. I've finally gotten around to trying the ice cream base recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, and the slightly adapted version I made provides the base for the added flavors of roasted pistachios and ground cardamom. There's a whole science behind Jeni's method to making ice cream, and it's an informative read in the article "Here's the Scoop" by Molly O'Neill, which first appeared in Saveur magazine.
Although Jeni's ice cream base recipe uses a couple of tablespoons of regular corn syrup, I didn't have any at home, so I substituted raw honey instead, and I also used turbinado sugar instead of regular granulated white sugar. Since honey is sweeter than corn syrup, I suspect the use of the larger-grained turbinado sugar (instead of a fine-grained granulated white sugar) helped balance out the substitution of honey for corn syrup and kept the ice cream from being too sweet. I also chilled the mixture in a large metal bowl set in an ice bath instead of using a plastic bag submerged in an ice water bath. Even with the few adjustments I made, Jeni's ice cream base recipe still produced a very creamy, richly flavored ice cream. With such a reliable and easy formula as Jeni's, there's no reason not to create your own favorite and unique flavor at home. And officially, you've got an entire month to try... —the musician who cooks
approximately 1 quart
Ice cream base:
whole milk (I used raw goat's milk from a local farm)
heavy whipping cream
roasted unsalted pistachios, finely ground
Put the 1/4 cup of the milk in a separate bowl, and stir in the cornstarch until well-blended. Measure the cream cheese into another bowl. Put the remaining 1-3/4 cups of milk, heavy whipping cream, turbinado sugar, honey and salt into a medium-sized stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often. Once the mixture reaches a boil, whisk constantly for a total of four minutes. After four minutes, add the cornstarch/milk mixture to the pot and stir until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat. Pour a small amount of the hot mixture, about 1/4 cup, over the cream cheese. Stir the liquid and cream cheese until combined and smooth, and add the cream cheese mixture back to the rest of the hot milk mixture in the pot.
Stir the ground pistachios and cardamom into the hot milk mixture. Place the entire mixture into a high-powered blender, and starting on a low speed, carefully increase the speed to high, blending for about 15 seconds. Pour the mixture into a metal bowl and set into a larger bowl filled with ice and water. Chill until temperature reaches 40º degrees, which should take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Strain the chilled mixture through a very fine strainer into another bowl to remove any large sediment from the ground pistachios. Pour the strained mixture into an ice cream maker and process until frozen. Scoop into a freezer-safe container and let ice cream set until firm. Serve without delay.