30 August 2007
One for the Price of Three
Should you ever decide to make twenty of any one type of recipe, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. Yet my forays into ice cream making have been remarkably trouble-free. Had I decided to make breads, for example, surely there would have been one that didn't rise or one that was mealy textured, a few duds among the bunch. Yet one after another, beautiful creamy concoctions have emerged from my ice cream maker, sure some have been favored more than others, but each has its own charm, and there's been nary a complaint or problem along the way. It could be that ice cream making is very easy (really, the most complicated thing you'll ever have to do is make a custard), and that pretty much anything tastes good in the form of cool freshly-churned ice cream.
But just when I thought I couldn't go wrong, I seem to have tempted fate, because there have been two duds in our kitchen. The first was most disappointing because I had such high hopes for it: an almondy ice cream made with marzipan and flecked with bits of candied citrus, it was inspired by the French confections callison. Unfortunately, the marzipan left a funny mouthfeel to the ice cream, slightly pasty, and while it wasn't awful, it just wasn't great. It lingered in the freezer, rock hard, until I finally sent it down the drain. Next was an attempt at an inside-out rocky road sundae, and while the first attempt was too sticky-sweet, I still have hopes it can work, so I'll hold off on saying more until I can try again.
Two batches of ice cream down the drain, I was about to give up, when I remembered a recipe for an Indian-style ice cream that was super-easy, it doesn't even require an ice cream maker. Kulfi is a rich Indian ice cream, it has a lovely dense chewy quality, and is flavored with ingredients like cardamom, pistachios, or saffron. Kulfi is traditionally made in tall pointy molds, so I made it in popsicle molds ($3 at the grocery, I couldn't resist). A quick mixture is thickened with bread, whizzed in the blender, then frozen. I like to roll the edges in pistachios because if you add all the pistachios to the custard they'll float to the top before freezing, and I like the textural experience of the crunchy exterior.
If I was worried that my ice cream spell had been broken, I have nothing to fear, because it has been gloriously revived. These were delicious, I love cardamom in my desserts, and it held true in this icy-chewey concoction. As cute as the popsicles were, I actually prefer eating them with a spoon, and I imagine making them in muffin cups or ramekins would work nicely. Just don't forget to coat the edges in ground pistachios, that's the best part.
Kulfi (Indian-Style Ice Cream) Popsicles
Kulfi is traditionally made with heavy cream and condensed milk, but I find that is a bit too rich for my taste, so I use whole milk instead. While traditionally made in popsicle shaped molds, they are very good when made in muffin cups, then unmolded onto a plate and served with a spoon. They take minutes to make and would be the perfect ending to an Indian meal.
1 cup milk or heavy cream
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbl finely chopped pistachios, plus 1 cup ground pistachios for serving
1. Place the three kinds of milk in a saucepan with the cardamom, cinnamon, salt, and 2 tbl pistachios. Tear up the bread into pieces and add to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool a couple minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, muffin cups or tall glasses. Freeze until firm. (Note: for kulfi ice cream, you can churn the mixture in your ice cream maker)
3. To serve, quickly dip the bottom of the mold in a bowl of hot water to release the edges. Unmold the kulfi and roll the edges in the finely ground pistachios.