I urge every lover of frozen dessert to purchase an ice cream maker. My chubbier friends recoil at the suggestion, arguing "oh, that would be sooo dangerous". Truth be told, I counter, you won't use it as much as you think you will, and what you do end up making will be as low or as high fat as you wish. AND, imagine the possibilities: a sorbet of concord grape, an ice cream of espresso and cardamom, a gelato of pistachio and saffron. Own a gooey pound of dates? A jar of chestnut honey? A bowlful of nectarines? A bag of pine nuts? A branch of almond blossoms (lucky you!)? A bouquet of lavender- you know where I'm going with this. Potential is everywhere-create your heart's desire.
Recently, I was lucky enough to purchase a $28 bottle of Pernod for ten bucks. First, I thought of mussels, and reminisced of plucking them from a jetty at the end of the street, carting my bounty to our front yard to set up shop, and clanging my brother's cowbell as I cried "NICE, FRESH MUSSELS FOR SALE!", fish-monger style (an eight year old amassing a fortune vending dead, barnacle-covered mollusks from a plastic bucket? One can hope).
Next I thought of ice cream. Take note, friends: the machine made it possible.
Anise ice cream, with its tart, licorice flavor, is a choice companion to fruit desserts. Its sharp presence is welcome not only with citrus, stone fruits, and berries, but rhubarb, figs, apples and pears. Kiwi and pineapple? Como no! Three smooth scoops topped with juicy fig quarters and raspberries, punctuated by a chiffonade of candied mint? You tell me.
I've made this ice cream with crushed anise seed and it's delicious, but I prefer to use Pernod; the texture is softer and the bracing property of alcohol married to licorice creates a snowfall at the entrance to the throat. Taste it, and you've conquered a glacier.
Anise Ice Cream
1 c sugar
2 c heavy cream
2 c milk
pinch of salt
1- 2 tsp Pernod, to taste (at first you will barely taste it, but its flavor will grow much stronger as it sits. Add a minimal amount at first, adjusting to taste after it has chilled)
Combine milk with salt and half of sugar and scald over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine yolks with the rest of the sugar and whisk until pale in color. While whisking, stream in 1/4 of hot milk, then add to saucepan, whisking. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof rubber spatula. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F), strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl containing the heavy cream (if the cream is cold, you will not need an ice bath). Whisk in the Pernod and chill completely, preferably overnight.
Freeze according to ice cream manufacturer's instructions.