I may very well be headed for an intervention. I’m afraid I’ve got a monkey on my back and below is the recipe that started it all. A few days ago I posted a recipe for Cheesecake Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce and found myself pontificating about the exact moment in time my obsession crystallized. I was given a copy of Padma Lakshmi’s latest cookbook, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, a beautiful tome full of exotic recipes made simple for the everyday foodie. I was drawn in by her engaging narrative, innovative twists on cooking and of course, the beautiful food photography. When I stumbled upon her recipe for Rose Petal Pistachio Ice Cream, I read the recipe with great interest and could just imagine a dense custard-based ice cream delicately perfumed with the essence of rose. I knew I was in trouble. Deep trouble. I had always resisted the notion of making my own ice cream with the same vigilance I resist making my own mayonnaise. Not that I have anything against a good homemade mayo, I just don’t have the time for such things. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s the patience that I lack. There, I said it.
Back to ice cream…
From that moment forward I went on a whirlwind ice cream making binge. I dabbled in the standards of course and got those out of the way first. I experimented with cooked custard bases and not, and have come to the solid conclusion that a cooked custard wins every time, because without it you simply cannot get that dense creaminess that is key in great ice cream. When the inevitable next step in my obsession occurred and mere chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were no longer enough, I decided to up the ante and started searching for more daring, edgy flavors. I was like a junkie chasing the proverbial ice cream-making dragon! I was elated when a search on the internet turned up a recipe for David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream. Yes, you read that correctly! As a kid who was raised with a can of bacon grease in the fridge that my Mom used to fry up everything (and I do mean everything!) this recipe spoke to me. I am a firm believer in the gospel of bacon and all things salty and sweet; this ice cream simply put, is the Alpha and the Omega! However, I’m still deciding if David Lebovitz is the Devil himself for creating it.
With the arrival of the hot summer months comes the beckoning call of my Cuisinart ice cream maker in the form of its comforting, motorized whir that brings with it the promise of meltingly sweet frozen decadence in short order. I’ve tried stashing it away, out of sight, but to no avail. I know it’s there and that knowledge eventually erodes away at my resolve, swimsuit season or not! It seems that I may be saddled with this ice cream-making monkey for a while. Any suggestions as to what I should name him?
Rose Petal & Pistachio Ice Cream
From Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet
by Padma Lakshmi
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rose water*
5 tablespoons rose petal jam*
¼ cup crushed, raw, unsalted pistachios
2 tablespoons dried rose petals, without stems or leaves, just petals
Heat the cream and milk over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is just below the boil. In a small bowl beat together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Add about ¼ cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks stirring vigorously so the eggs won’t scramble. Add warmed yolk mixture back to the heated cream, whisking constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rose water and rose jam. Cool the mixture completely in ice water bath (my prefered method) or in the refrigerator.
Pour the cooled custard into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. When finished churning , remove the ice cream and fold in the pistachios and rose petals if using, mixing well to distribute evenly. Freeze ice cream until ready to serve.
*Rose water and Turkish rose jam are available in Middle Eastern markets and online.