Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week Nineteen - Saffron and Honey with Macerated Figs

Holy crow! This one was a real doozy, folks. A real doozy. The inspiration for this flavor came from a jar of honey harvested by one of my father's family members. I don't know who, exactly, otherwise I would credit them directly. Nevertheless, a relative of mine has honeybees and jars their honey and it's I said to myself, "Let's make an ice cream out of this gold!" Around the same time that the honey came into my life, the spice shop near my work mentioned a new saffron powder on their Facebook page. Yadda yadda yadda...a flavor was born! Or at least, the idea for a flavor.

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week, when I finally had the time to play in the kitchen. I started measuring, pouring, mixing, snapping pictures...all the while, dancing to Arcade Fire. I get to the point where I need to pour the egg mixture into the milk mixture and all hell breaks loose. More specifically, I am left with a giant curdled mess. So I get rid of the smelly, nasty stuff and head to meet my mom and friend to go shopping. Yay!

Upon returning home that evening, I am rejuvenated. I had some tasty spaghetti squash for dinner, I got a cute outfit to wear to my birthday party this weekend, and I'm ready to take another crack at this...let's mise en place! Again, I start pouring and mixing, certain that the issue earlier was a few bad eggs. These new eggs are looking good...and pour and mix and mix and...CURDLETOWN! Again! At this point, it's almost 10pm and I'm not pleased. A dozen eggs, $10 worth of saffron, a pint and a half of cream, and the entirety of the honey...all gone. Into the trash this batch goes and I'm off to watch Downton Abbey and eat some string cheese.

I let a day go by so I could collect my thoughts and replenish my supplies. Tonight, with a belly full of weird Weight Watchers casserole and the sweet sounds of Weezer to cheer me on, I stepped back up to the plate. I had replaced the honey my dad gave me with some store-bought version, convinced that the raw honey I had been using was the culprit. I also reduced the number of egg yolks from six to four, thinking mostly that if there are less eggs then there is less of a chance they'll curdle. (Brilliant, right?) Lastly, I decided to add the honey to the milk rather than the eggs, which is what I had done both times earlier, and I was sure the honey was curdling the eggs. Well, readers, it worked. Whether it was the eggs or the honey or Rivers Cuomo's voice, the stars aligned in my tiny kitchen tonight and this flavor finally came together!

And after all the hullabaloo, I am pleased to finally share with you...

Saffron and Honey Ice Cream with Macerated Figs


1 cup dried figs
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cup honey
4 egg yolks
1/4 sugar

1. Cut the stems from the dried figs and cut into 1/2" pieces. Put in bowl along with water and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

2. Pour the milk and heavy cream into a saucepan and add the saffron. Warm milk slightly then cover and remove from heat. Allow to steep for twenty minutes.

3. After twenty minutes, strain milk mixture and return to clean saucepan. Heat at medium high and add honey, stirring to combine. Heat until small bubbles begin to form around edge of pan.

4. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk to combine.

5. Add a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once combined, slowly pour egg mixture into the milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.

6. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

7. Transfer cooled mixture into bowl of ice cream maker and churn. Just before the end, add the figs and churn until incorporated. Pour into a freezer-safe container.

8. Put on some cool plastic frames and a cardigan (a la Rivers, of course) and snack away!

No comments:

Post a Comment