Saturday, May 21, 2011
Fennel Ice Cream
I adapted this recipe from Orangette by making it lactose-free. I used coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. When I use coconut milk in frozen desserts, it gives a particular consistency to the finished product; I would say it’s almost a pudding-like consistency. It is firmer and richer than regular ice cream, and it feels creamier to me. This is something I really like, perhaps because dairy-free frozen desserts (and even some lactose-free ice creams) feel watery to me, like there are too many ice crystals in there and not enough flavour. The Engineer, however, is not too fond of it – I find this surprising, considering how much he likes pudding.
I loved the flavour of fennel here; it was subtle and addictive. As I was transferring the ice cream from the mixer to a container for the freezer, I snuck a taste and could not help but kick myself for not using the ice cream maker more often. But once again, the Engineer wasn’t too keen on the herbal taste. I still recommend this recipe, but I realize it’s not to everyone’s taste. Note that I used pasteurized eggs and therefore did not bother with the thermometer.
1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
¾ cup sugar, divided
1 pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
Combine the coconut milk and fennel seeds in a small heavy saucepan, and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
Then combine the milk, ½ cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium heavy saucepan, and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Add the hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the medium saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and registers 175 °F on an instant-read thermometer. (Do not allow it to boil.) Immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Cool in the ice bath, stirring occasionally.
When the custard is cool, strain the fennel coconut milk through a fine-mesh sieve into the custard, pressing on the solids. Continue to chill in the ice bath until the custard is very cold. (Alternatively, cover the mixture, and chill it in the refrigerator overnight.) Freeze in an ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container, and put in the freezer to harden, about 1 hour.