Back when I was in art school Balducci’s ruled the corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street. It was the flagship store and the original fancy pants, specialty grocer in NYC with a butcher, fishmonger, deli, green grocer, a case full of whimsical, mouse-shaped chocolates, stinky French cheeses and a totally glorious spice section. Balducci’s spices came in glass jars which is how it should be. Who wants a milky plastic, lightweight thing when you can have a reusable, twinkling beauty?
A glass jar of pink peppercorns was the first pricey spice purchase I saved up for and made at Balducci’s. I read somewhere that throwing a few whole pink peppercorns in soup was a life-changer. Totally true. It was the first thing I did with my very dear, pink peppercorns.
The slightly spicy, floral aroma, the almost-red pink of whole pink peppercorns will always feel lucky, fancy and indulgent to me. And steeping a handful of whole, pink peppercorns in heavy cream is intoxicating. The calm, insistent spark of peppercorns is mellowed and thickened by fatty cream.
Making that peppercorn infused cream into a custard and churning it into a silky, gently spiced ice cream that is subtly floral and quietly bright…well…I don’t even have sufficient words for that.
Pink peppercorn ice cream…you make me taste travel.
That’s what spices are to me: ideas, aspirations, histories, memories made and dreamed futures that may never be. So many humble and lofty ideas can be held in a thick glass jar, weighty in your hand.
Recipe: pink peppercorn ice cream
Summary: Gently spiced, quietly bright, subtly floral custard based ice cream.
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons whole, pink peppercorns
- 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- Combine the whole milk, heavy cream and pink peppercorns in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil.
- As soon as this mixture begins to bubble reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick, smooth and pale yellow (approx. 2 minutes).
- In a slow, steady stream pour about 1 cup of warm milk, cream, peppercorn mixture into yolk, sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add this mixture back into the saucepan that has the rest of the milk, cream, peppercorns mixture in it and simmer until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (approx. 15 minutes).
- Strain through a fine sieve to remove peppercorns.
- Chill this concotion for about 2 hours then churn it into ice cream in your ice cream maker.
- Pour churned ice cream into a freezer safe storage container, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of ice cream, cover with lid and let set to scoopable state (approx. 2 more hours).
*If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can whisk the mixture (that has chilled for the initial two hours) then return it to the freezer for about 20 minutes. Repeat this process until you have the thick consistency of a soft ice cream then cover with plastic wrap directly touching surface of ice cream and let set to scoopable state.
Preparation time: 5 hours
Number of servings (yield): 8
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Recipe by fat pig.
Microformatting by hRecipe.