Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spiced Orange Ice Cream

This ice cream flavor is an ode to sticking cloves in oranges around Christmastime. They turn out looking a little funny, and it feels a little bit voodoo doll-like doing it.

But it’s one of those wholesome childhood traditions, and it makes the room smell good. Like orange and spice, and everything nice. This tastes good, too.

My boyfriend tells me that I’m going to have to take my ice cream-making to new levels after a trip to his home state of Wisconsin for Christmas.

There, I’ll get to try Kopp’s Frozen Custard, the fabled foodie destination that I have never visited. Heck, I’ve never been to Wisconsin, or anywhere in the Midwest, either (except for a wee little wedding excursion way back, in Cincinnati. Remember that?). Apparently, in Wisconsin more eggs is more when it comes to making ice cream — I mean, custard. The dairy state? The stuff might have more yolks than cream.

So until then, I’m churning out a few batches with my favorite formula. After so many different recipes, so many trials and tribulations, I’ve pinned down my own recipe for an ice cream base. I use it for every flavor, with some adaptation (if it seems necessary, for instance, to amp up the egg or cream if carrots are steeped in it, which will lend liquid, or to lessen these if something like peanut butter is going in). I’m not sure when it all came together, there was no Eureka moment or stroke of lightning, just lots and lots of experimentation (and saturated fat grams). A milestone was made, I think, with an anise and chocolate flavor, and from then on I’ve always used more yolks than previously. Which is to say that my current recipe is egg-heavy to begin with:

It’s five egg yolks, and one egg white. So that’s one whole egg, and four yolks. And only good eggs, cage-free eggs that are fresh, fresh, fresh from the Greenmarket, so the yolks are plump and deep orange like a tangerine. One cup of cream, one and a half cups of whole milk, and likewise, this is the best organic milk you can find. Then, two-thirds to three-quarters of a cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you want it, or if there’s something else sweet going in. That’s it. What’s your way?

The next part of this recipe is for a little garnish or optional add-in to your ice cream, if you don’t mind a chunky texture. It’s candied orange peel, and it’s simply delightful — like an orange Fruit-Roll-Up. It’s also a great way to use up orange peel instead of tossing it in the can or compost (if you haven’t stabbed it with a million cloves, that is). Free candy! Well, almost. Now, making candied orange peel is tedious, but it isn’t hard. It involves changing boiling water five times, peeling pith away carefully, and getting stickiness on your surfaces. If you’d like to bow out now, I accept. But it’s a fun project and well worth the effort once in a while.

I actually meant to finely slice the candied orange peel when it was finished and sprinkle it into the ice cream as it was churning in the machine. But I forgot to when that was happening. So here it’s used as a garnish, and you can use these shreds as garnish in many other things: toss them in salads for a chewy-sweet touch, or put them in homemade granola or trail mixes. I’ll probably be doing many of these things in the aftermath, thanks to my oversight. That, and eating lots of egg whites (reserved from the yolk-separating task). I’ve been dropping them into hot soup a lot lately.


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