Is that not the cheesiest blog title ever?Last year, my lovely and delectable husband decided that 'we' should get an ice cream machine. This was at the beginning of a serious effort on my part to cut down on the sweets and lose a bit of weight for summer so I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the whole idea. As is usually the case when Drew sets his mind on something, he beat me down (figuratively) and we ordered our machine and a recipe book from Amazon. So excited was my hubby to try some recipes that I thought he might make something in the kitchen more daring than a cheese crisp. As it turns out, Drew's plan for the ice cream machine was place orders with me when he fancied trying a flavour. He still has yet to make so much as a scoopful, which is fine with me, as I'm ridiculously territorial about my kitchen.
Despite having to be careful to restrict myself to one small scoop, I'm so thrilled that Drew convinced me to buy that machine, because it has been so much fun experimenting with different flavours. Last year's best successes were rhubarb crumble and custard and variations on sea salted caramel and pralines.
Our machine has put away for much of the winter for obvious reasons but was brought out the other day to make this delightfully light and subtle ice cream made with thyme blossom honey and pistachios. The slightest hint of orange flower water enhances the subtle flavour of the honey without being old lady floral.
While lovely by itself, it struck me today that it might be lovely with the banana and chocolate cake I made the other day and I was so right. As a dessert they were a lovely pairing, which I would serve as a finish to a summer dinner, perhaps with the cake still a little warm.
Pistachio Honey Ice Cream
Makes approx 8 servings, takes 2 hours including churning
45oml (15oz) double cream (heavy whipping cream)
300ml (10oz) whole milk
2 tbsp orange flower water
5 tbsp good honey
100g (3.5oz) golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
100g shelled, unsalted pistachios
Put the honey in a small bowl over a pan of barely simmering water with the orange flower water and the milk and warm, stirring until all the honey has dissolved into the milk.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together well in another bowl until pale and foamy, then whisk in the cream. Pour the warm honey/milk mixture into the egg/cream mixture, whisking all the while until well combined (Make sure your milk and honey mixture isn't hot, as it will scramble the eggs. yuck.)
Pop the bowl of cream mixture in the fridge for an hour or so until very cool.
While your custard is cooling, begin to prepare your pistachios. Put them into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow them to soak in the hot water for at least an hour so that they plump up and become soft and the liquid is cooled. Tip them into a wire sieve and rinse well, shuffling them around the sieve will help loosen the skins. The rough skins should peel away very easily with your fingers and you should end up with plump green kernels about 50% heavier than when you weighed them to start with.
Chop the pistachios so that there is a good mixture of very finely chopped pieces and larger chunks and set aside.
When your custard has cooled, pour it into an ice cream machine* and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions (probably about 35 minutes) and once ready, add the pistachio pieces and churn for a further couple of minutes to make sure the nuts are well combined.
Scoop into a clean**, airtight container and pop in the freezer to finish setting.
*If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can still make this ice cream by putting the container in the freezer and removing every half hour to whisk well. Electric beaters come in handy for this, as the harder the ice cream gets, the harder it will be to whisk. Keep the beaters in the freezer between whiskings so that you don't indroduce warmth to the mixture.
The more you whisk while it freezes, the better, as it will help prevent large ice crystals from forming and will introduce more air, which makes a lighter, creamier product.
**I keep an airtight container that I ONLY use for ice cream. Butter fat absorbs odours like kitty litter, so if you've used a container previously to hold a curry or Bolognese sauce, anything left behind will be absorbed into the ice cream.