Chocolate Cardamom Ice Cream

by Rebekahcooked up on January 2, 2014

Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to sleep. Traveling is weird. Jet lag is weird. I’m still adjusting. But you know what? The lunches are made for tomorrow and the laundry is done. We’re mostly unpacked. Life is getting back to normal.

If you’re like me, the past few days you’ve had New Year’s resolutions on the brain. Some of them have already begun (hello again, MyFitnessPal *cries*) and some of them are still being formed (today Dave and I decided that our two large, junky kitchen utensil drawers would face an organization/reckoning this weekend). The storage area in the basement is also on my naughty list. I have a feeling I’ll be making resolutions all year long.

There’s one resolution that I think is more important than most, though, and it’s one that I try to do whenever I have the opportunity: to TRY SOMETHING NEW. Every new experience yields a greater understanding of the world around us. Sometimes this resolution means experimenting with a new hobby or a new book genre. And a lot of times in our house, that means experimenting in the kitchen.

So when my boss at work started teasing me about making him some cardamom ice cream, I thought it wasn’t a half bad idea.

Chocolate Cardamom Ice Cream | PDXfoodlove

It turns out, it is one whole good idea.

Not only is this recipe very intensely chocolate, it packs a warmth that is almost scary in the way that it makes you want to eat more. That’s the cardamom talking. The warmth from the spice, infused using a neat trick with caramel, lends the ice cream an almost umami flavor that plays so well with dark chocolate. This is definitely the best ice cream I’ve ever personally made. And one of my favorites that I’ve had. It’s that good.

So if you’re looking for a new adventure for the new year, I’d say this is a pretty good place to start.

Here’s what you need:

2 1/2 tablespoons cardamom pods (Check the bulk spices section of your favorite natural foods store)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 generous pinch salt
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Start by using a mortar and pestle or a very heavy object to break the cardamom pods open, revealing little black seeds. Discard the pods and place the seeds in a large saucepan with the 2 Tbsp. sugar over medium heat. Keep an eye on it as the sugar melts, then begins to brown.

When the sugar becomes caramel in color, stir and slowly add the milk and cream right into the pot. This will cause the caramel to temporarily harden. As you heat the new mixture back up, the caramel will melt again and you can stir it into the milk and cream.

While that’s heating, whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar together in a large stainless steel or glass bowl until they are thickened and lighter in color.

When the milk has reached a simmer, turn the heat to low. Temper the egg yolk mixture by spooning a ladle-full at a time of the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking quickly to incorporate. When you have transferred about half of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, put everything back in the saucepan and continue to whisk constantly. Continue to cook on low heat and whisking all the while for five minutes. I am not joking about whisking the entire time, by the way. Keep whisking! 🙂

Place your chocolate chunks into the same bowl you used for the eggs. At the end of the five minutes, pour the ice cream mixture back in the bowl through a fine mesh strainer, over the chocolate. Discard any solids that have formed. Whisk the mixture together until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is cold (I find it easiest to just do this overnight).

Process in an ice cream maker according to its instructions.

Very lightly adapted from Food 52.

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