Adventures in icecream

“Icecream is exquisite. What a pity it is not illegal.” – Voltaire

I reached the premise for my latest adventure via a lovely friend. When Annie gifted me with some bay leaves and pink peppercorns she had grown herself, the pretty pink pearls were so pristine and perfect that I knew I would have to do something special with them. Oddly enough, icecream was the first thing that came to mind.

pretty pink baubles just in time for Christmas

Of course, when I decided on icecream, I had never before attempted it in my life. I don’t own an icecream maker; I used a Thermomix to make these recipes. You can replicate my results with a blender and a saucepan and, although I haven’t tested the non-Thermomix options detailed below, the alternatives are not a giant leap of the imagination.

Rather than attempt to create a recipe from scratch, I thought I would start by googling “pink peppercorn icecream” to find out if someone else had been similarly inspired. The 56,600 sites results that Google returned tell me that, while my idea is not original [darn it!], it is popular. To arrive at my creation, I modified a recipe from Chow.com (via Chika Tillman), which was road-tested about a year ago by Ali LaRaia on her blog, A Date with Flavor.

Recipe #58: Pink peppercorn icecream.

You will need:
► 1 tbsp pink peppercorns
► 2 cups of double cream
► 2 cups of milk
► ¾ cup of caster sugar
► 8 egg yolks
► 1 pinch salt

First step: crack the peppercorns so that you have some larger pieces in amongst the finer dust. I ground the peppercorns in my mortar & pestle; I could have used the Thermomix but I didn’t. I also separated the outer coverings from the berries as I crushed, with a view to using these fragile shells as a tasty garnish.

What are pink peppercorns? Pink peppercorns are not true peppercorns.

GourmetSleuth.com tells me that:

Pink peppercorns (Schinus Terebinthifolius) are from Brazil but are…actually the dried fruit of the Baies Rose. The berries have a sweet peppery flavor and are quite popular in French cuisine. Use in a vinaigrette or crush and use as a coating for a filet mignon or pork tenderloin.

I use them as a standard addition to black, white and green peppercorns in my pepper grinder.

 
I combined all the ingredients together in my Thermomix and cooked the mixture at 80°C for 5 minutes on speed 4.

To achieve the same result without a Thermomix, combine all the ingredients (except for the peppercorns) and blend until smooth, then pour into a saucepan with the crushed peppercorns; bring the ingredients to the boil then simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Leave the mixture to sit for ~10 more minutes, then strain into a container to remove the larger peppercorn pieces. Leave the mixture to cool, then transfer to the freezer for 3-4 hours (or longer, as I needed) – until the mixture is firm but not fully frozen. At this point, cut the mixture into several even pieces and blend half of it on high speed for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds at a medium speed [Thermomix translation = 30 seconds at speed 9 + 10 seconds at speed 4]. Repeat for the other half of the mixture.

Transfer to the container again and return to the freezer until frozen.

The delightfully creamy end result exhibits delicate tones of ginger, citrus and pepper. A rich and elegant dessert.

pink peppercorn icecream

It was my beetroot post that inspired me to make an icecream with salted caramelised nuts [Recipe #56].

Recipe #59: Maple icecream with salted caramelised nuts.

You will need:
► 250g cream [Note that, as a Thermomix recipe, liquid measures are in grams, not millilitres – check out GourmetSleuth.com if you need a conversion to cups/mL]
► 300g milk
► 150g caster sugar
► 2 egg yolks
► ½ tsp vanilla
► ~2 tbsp (a good swirl of) maple syrup [I use Camp]
► 1 pinch salt
► 2 small handfuls of spiced, caramelised nuts [I used a mix of walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds & macadamias for this batch and found that I needed a little extra honey]
► extra maple syrup

I used the ‘Creamy Traditional Ice Cream’ recipe from the Thermomix Everyday cooking…for every family book as my base.

If you read the top method, this one will induce deja vu: combine all ingredients except for the nuts and extra maple syrup together in the Thermomix and cook at 80°C for 5 minutes on speed 4.

To achieve the same result without a Thermomix, combine all the ingredients (except for the peppercorns) and blend until smooth, then pour into a saucepan with the crushed peppercorns; bring the ingredients to the boil then simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour the mixture into a container and leave to cool, then transfer to the freezer for 3-4 hours (or longer, as I needed) – until the mixture is firm but not fully frozen. At this point, cut the mixture into several even pieces and blend on high speed for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds at a medium speed [Thermomix translation = 20 seconds at speed 9 + 10 seconds at speed 4].

This is where the nuts and extra maple syrup come in. Roughly crush the nuts (you could pulse a blender or use a mortar & pestle) and add just enough maple syrup to wet them. Pour half the icecream mixture into the container, then add half the maple nuts and give a rough stir; add the other half of the icecream mix and do the same with the other half of the nuts.

an even blend

This ensures that you have an even ribbon of nuts and maple syrup throughout the icecream. Return the container to the freezer until the icecream is frozen.

When you serve it, you will get something like this:

maple icecream with salted caramelised nuts

As my friend L so aptly stated, this is the kind of moreish indulgence that you would eat straight from the tub in front of your favourite DVD, while the pink peppercorn icecream is a more sophisticated dessert.

Lessons learnt. Staying true to my day job, I feel compelled to document my learnings. Here are my top three:

  1. Make the icecream at the beginning of the day – I let both icecreams harden a little too much before whipping because I made them late at night then blended first thing in the morning. I am sure they would have been even creamier had I remained diligent;
  2. Sometimes, a little highschool science goes a long way. Echoes of physics revisited me when I had to wait longer than 5 hours for my maple icecream to freeze completely. There were two reasons for this: (1) my freezer wasn’t set to be cold enough; and (2) I added too much salt (adding maple syrup released the salt from the salted & caramelised nuts), which lowered the freezing point. I remedied this by setting my freezer to a lower temperature; and
  3. Be bold – icecream is just one vehicle for presenting your favourite everyday flavours. With varieties like garlic and anchovy being bandied about in restaurants and cyberspace, I think it’s high time for you to take an adventure all of your very own.

So now I am intrigued: What is your favourite icecream flavour? If you were to create a new flavour sensation, what would it be?

*

Finally, if you are a true icecream fiend, I believe you will appreciate the seriously passionate and avant-garde approach that The Icecreamists take with respect to their craft. We need this in Perth.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful flavour combinations. A friend is very kindly giving me her old ice cream maker soon and I’m itching to get going with it! I want to get creative with flavours, but I suspect the first couple of flavours I make will be some sort of choc mint, and some Cherry Ripe themed treat. I’m so predictable 😀

  2. Hannah says:

    Thanks so much, Conor.

    I have a confession to make: although the pink peppercorn icecream was the very first I had decided to make, I ended up making Tim Tam icecream first; a wine-induced decision following dinner with my sister & her fiancee.

    It turned out deliciously but I need to make some tweaks before releasing it to the masses. Let me know how your Cherry Ripe version turns out!

    H 🙂

  3. Karine says:

    What beautiful ice creams! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Hannah says:

    I appreciate your visit and your comment, Karine – and I was just admiring your mocha choc chip muffins with fresh cranberries.

    Have a lovely Christmas,

    H 🙂

  5. dawnspitfire says:

    Will you move in next door to me? No? Darn!

    1. Hannah says:

      Sorry, Dawn. I love this little haven we are building in suburbia 😉

      H 🙂

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