SAFFRON ICE CREAM WITH PISTACHIO & PEACH

SAFFRON ICE CREAM WITH PISTACHIO & PEACH

By Vilda Gonzales 

Golden like the summer sun, this saffron ice cream is floral and sumptuous. This custard base is sweetened with honey in lieu of the more traditional cane sugar, which gives the saffron another floral note to harmonize with. Saffron is less soluble in milk than in water, so to get the most out of the precious crocus, the threads are bloomed in boiling hot water before being added to the custard. This ice cream is delicious eaten straight from the tub, gratuitous spoonful after spoonful, but is especially lovely when paired with a juicy, ripe peach and some salty toasted pistachios. 

 

INGREDIENTS

40-50 saffron threads 

1¼ (300 ml) cups best quality milk 

1¾ cups (415 ml) best quality cream

3 egg yolks 

¾ cup (175 ml) wildflower honey 

4 crushed cardamom pods, optional 

A ripe peach, to serve

Chopped toasted and salted pistachios, to serve 

 

METHOD

Pour 1 ounce of boiling hot water over the saffron threads, and set aside to bloom while you prepare the custard. 

Add the milk, cream and crushed cardamom pods to a small saucepan, and gently warm over medium heat till steaming. Stir the dairy occasionally as it heats to prevent a film forming, and take caution to not let it come to a boil. When steaming hot, take it off the heat. 

Add the egg yolks and honey to a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Add a ladleful of the steamy dairy to eggs, and mix to incorporate. Repeat the process with another ladleful. This step tempers the eggs, which helps prevent the eggs from scrambling upon contact with the hot dairy. Pour the tempered eggs into the saucepan, and return it to the heat over a medium-low flame. Cook the custard, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until it coats the back of a spoon. This should take between 5-8 minutes (raise the heat a smidge if it’s taking longer than this). Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the saffron and bloomed saffron water. 

Prepare an ice bath by adding lots of ice cubes and cold water to a mixing bowl. Place the saucepan directly into the ice bath. This process helps to quickly chill the custard. When the custard has come to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and place in the fridge to rest and continue infusing. 

The custard will be ready to churn after 4 hours in the fridge, but will keep improving in flavor for up to 12 hours. When ready, strain the custard and then churn according to your ice cream machine’s directions. When churned, transfer the ice cream to a freezer proof container to set - this’ll take 2 hours or so, depending on the temperature of your freezer. 

To serve, add a generous scoop of ice cream to your favorite bowl, and top with a juicy peach wedge and a scattering of toasted and chopped pistachios.