Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I keep Candy in my Crisper

I keep black licorice drops in the fridge in that drawer meant for butter and cheese so I can whip up some lovely salty-sweet licorice ice cream (see above). I'm not saying ice cream is a health food but in India the dried roots and underground stems of the licorice plant are used as a medicine so technically you could justify licorice ice cream as a sweeter way to make the medicine go down.  Licorice is called honey stick in India and it is sold in solid sticks of concentrated essence which are black and glossy with a bittersweet taste. Licorice has cooling energy and helps relieve coughs, colds, sore throats and stomach aches. Licorice is believed to calm the mind and nurture the spirit, promoting concentration and harmony. I'm sure a bowl of licorice ice cream will nurture your soul and promote a feeling of blissful harmony.  Rather than roots or sticks I created this recipe using Nordic black licorice drops melted in the custard mixture until dissolved. The color will look grayish but once churned it is a soft pale brown color. You will need an ice cream maker and I suggest using one made by Cuisinart called the Supreme.

Linda's Licorice Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 ounces black licorice drops
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Splash of vanilla extract

Place cream, milk and licorice drops in a heavy 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time to help the licorice melt.

Place egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on highest speed until thick and pale, and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about  minutes. With the mixer on low spead, slowly add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolk mixture. Stir the yolk/cream mixture back into the simmering pot of cream (adding the cup of warm cream to the yolk mixture prevents the yolks from curdling). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on a candy or instant read thermometer--do not boil! Strain the custard through a sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in salt and vanilla. Chill in the refrigerator, covered, at least 8 hours (custard can be prepared a day ahead).  Churn according to the instructions that came with your ice cream maker. In the Cuisinart Supreme, it takes about 35 to 45 minutes for soft ice cream and 45 to 60 minutes for hard ice cream. Serve right away and store any left over ice cream in resealable container.

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