Thursday, February 01, 2007

Orange and Cardamom Ice Cream

For me, orange and cardomom ice cream rustles up all kinds of romantic notions about the middle east. The souqs, the spice markets, long luscious fruit drinks from tiny little stalls. Just down the road is a little middle eastern grocery store which I absolutely love visiting. As soon as you walk in the aroma of spices rolls over you like a wave. It takes me straight make to my travels through syria, jordan and turkey - a fantastic time in my life. It was with this in mind that I decided to try this recipe from the Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander.

I have to say I am in two minds. At first I thought it was awful. Stephanie absolutely insists that you must use concentrated orange juice to get the right flavour. Well, that is fine if the flavour you want is throat lozenges. This was even using a natural juice conentrate. I personally detest fake fruit flavours. Chemical orange is way at the top of my hate list followed by banana and strawberry. I prefer natural or nothing.

But the more I ate this ice cream the more I came around. While I never grew to love the flavour I came to sort of think it was okay.

So much for the taste, what about the texture? Well that was excellent. Lovely and smooth and creamy. It is a more unusual recipe in that you beat a sugar syrup into the eggs to create a kind of zabaglione I guess. I find working with hot sugar syrup to be a bit initimidating, but it turned out to be absolutely simple.

The only issue really was whether you are supposed to let the mixture cool before you churn it. The recipe doesn't specify doing this. But given that my ice cream machine simply would not tolerate warm mixture, I left it in the fridge overnight. Naturally, the volume in the eggs dissipated but the outcome was perfectly fine for me.

Orange and Cardamom Ice Cream
(Stephanie Alexander from the Cooks Companion)

Bring 3/4 cup castor sugar and 1/2 cup water to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lightly beat 4 eggs. Pour on the boiling syrup beating until the volume has doubled. Beat in 1/2 cup concentrated orange juice and the seeds from five cardamom pods. Stir in 11/4 cups of cream. Churn in an ice cream machine and freeze.


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