Ice-cream making has become a mild obsession for me since my Kitchen Aid received its ice cream maker attachment last summer (at a rate much lower than the ones in the malls, if you’re willing to drive out to Al Ghandi Electronics in Ras Al Khor.) While I rarely, if ever, blog about food that I make at home, don't be surprised if I occasionally plonk a scoop out on this blog to avoid writer's ennui.
The beauty about making ice cream is that once you have the base French-style custard recipe down, you can go wild with every fantasy flavour combination that's haunted you in the peak of summer. Some of my past whimsical successes have included:
- Cake batter with sugared pecans (thanks for the inspiration Nick!),
- Macerated dates with mascarpone,
- Jalebi (all you Chirag!),
- Cinnabon de-constructed (Ali, this one's yours!), and
- Orange with candied rind
Got any fantasy flavour suggestions that you'd like me to experiment with?
The latest scoop from my flavour lab was mango with white chocolate. Every Indian boarding a plane from India to Dubai is lugging back crates of mangoes, often quite different than the pre-picked and gas-ripened (sorry, that sounds terrible. But it’s true.) Alphonsoes that get offloaded at the markets here. My lovely intern at work brought me a crate of naturally-ripened, drippingly-sweet Alphonsoes from her farm in Mumbai, half of which were promptly churned into ice cream that very same week. While two tubs full of the frozen mango cream were polished off with ease, a testament to a successful flavour churn-out, my second iteration with two distinct varieties of mangoes was deemed a far more resounding success.
I used the flowery scented pulp of baby mangoes growing in our family home in Hyderabad to restrain the sweetness of the ripe full-bodied Alphonsoes. The soft ribbons of mellow yellow ice cream were rich, balanced and fragrant with a spicy undertone of freshly ground cardamom.
The addition of white chocolate seemed like a brilliant idea at first, though we had a revelation while tasting the final ice cream. Mango pulp has an aftertaste that is surprisingly similar to white chocolate, so when the two are combined, they blend into one indistinguishable flavour. The maximum that might happen is a more drawn-out sweet buttery scent at the back of your palate as the mango and white chocolate glide down your tongue with reinforcing sweetness. But if I were to fashion a mango and white chocolate combo again, I might opt for slightly unripe mangoes that need some sweet uplifting.
I’m not a recipe blogger, so don’t expect a structured recipe. You’re better off buying a copy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, practicing a few of his basic flavours and then churning your own wild flavour creations once you get more ambitious. In my infinite laziness, this is as much of a recipe as I can tell you: Prepare a deep bowl with 750 ml of mango pulp (from the 2 aforementioned varieties) whisked with 1 cup of Puck’s heavy whipping cream.) Use Lebovitz’s recipe for a simple 5-egg custard (1 cup of milk, 2/3 cup sugar) and stir in a few heavy scoops of more mango pulp right at the end, before the custard becomes the consistency needed to coat the back of a spoon. The rapidly forming custard should then be strained into a deep bowl with the mango pulp and cream mixture, set over an ice-bath, and whisked like your life depends on it. To finish it off, tip in one more cup of cream and 2 tablespoons of freshly ground cardamom, reminiscent of a mango kulfi mix. Cool overnight and churn the next day.
The laissez-faire method I’ve laid out above will get you 2 litres of mix. Check the capacity of your ice cream maker before churning. If you’re using the Kitchen Aid, I'd suggest churning the mix in two separate installments (I do it over two days to allow the machine to re-freeze) else you’ll have a pool of mango cream all over the kitchen counter. Been there, not fun.
This ice cream is best enjoyed when the scoops are soft and slightly melted, so that every spoonful says ‘ice cream’ as much as it hints to the molten texture of ice-cool mango pulp. As a last minute inspired move, we crushed some buttery digestive biscuits and sprinkled them with crunchy flourish over the scoops right before serving.
Until my next flavour exposé, churning over and out.