One of my favorite things about my little cooking club (3 dear friends and me, we all pick recipes and make them) is that I'm constantly making foods I never would have thought to try otherwise. With this recipe, I accidentally took that to the extreme.
With this ice cream, I had a major slip up. The recipe, chosen by my friend Sarah, was actually supposed to be fennel ice cream. I had some fennel-looking seeds in my spice cabinet, but they weren't labeled, and they sure looked like fennel to me. I smelled them and thought they smelled a lot like rye bread, but didn't think much of that at the time.
Turns out it wasn't fennel, it was caraway! And I didn't realize until we were taking our last bites of the whole batch. Luckily, this was a happy accident. Even though the flavor sounds completely bizarre, it was actually really tasty. I attribute that to the custardy base of the ice cream. The custard was so delicious that just about any kind of herb or spice would have gone well with it, in my opinion.
I'm not saying you should go out of your way to make this, but feel free to substitute fennel seeds for the caraway, or use the custard base as a jumping-off point for other flavors. I definitely will be.
Caraway Ice Cream
Adapted from Gourmet
Active time: 30 min
Start to finish: 2 1/2 hr
Makes 1 quart
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1. Bring cream and caraway seeds just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then cover and let steep about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring.
3. Whisk together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl, then add milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Return mixture to medium saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, then quick-chill by setting bowl in an ice bath and stirring occasionally until cool, about 15 minutes.
4. Strain caraway cream through fine-mesh sieve into custard, pressing on solids. Continue to chill in ice bath until custard is very cold, then freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, about 1 hour.
Note: Custard with caraway cream can be chilled, covered, in refrigerator up to 24 hours.