At the moment, I have 3 different sorbets in the freezer, with plans to make yet another ice cream this week. This is timely, because although today’s high in St. Louis was 63, Tuesday’s high is forecast to be 90! I’m already planning out light meals that require a minimum of cooking, so I can eat sorbet or ice cream every night.
I’ve been working through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. There are so many tasty recipes and flavor combinations to choose from, but the last ice cream I made was Anise Ice Cream. I hesitated to try it at first. Anise takes similar to licorice, and Alex and I really don’t like licorice. However, I recalled how much I liked the Pan de Muerto I made in late 2011, and how pleasant that bread was with the inclusion of anise in the dough. If I liked it then, wouldn’t I like it now?
[I’d never researched licorice before writing this post. As it happens, licorice is not made from fennel seed or anise, although the latter is sometimes used to reinforce the licorice flavor in candies. That explains why I like fennel and anise despite hating licorice!]
Anise Ice Cream (adapted from The Perfect Scoop)
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
Toast anise seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until they smell fragrant. Add the milk, sugar, honey, salt, and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until warm, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour.
Return the mixture to the heat. Pour the remaining cream in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over it. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly temper the egg yolks by gradually whisking the warm anise mixture into them. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the custard through the mesh strainer into the cream and stir to combine. Cool the mixture in an ice bath, then refrigerate. Churn in your ice cream maker.
Alex and I were both surprised by how much we enjoyed this ice cream. It was rich yet delicate. I thought the flavor of the honey shone and complemented the gentle anise flavor. The ice cream was smooth and sweet and refreshing. It was a great change of pace from vanilla. I thought I might get tired of this ice cream, since I didn’t add any nuts or cookies or anything to it, but I didn’t. The last scoop, unadorned, as just as good as the first one. Next time I will consider adding biscotti or almond cookies to it, but it was perfectly good on its own.
Anise has grown on me. I really enjoyed this ice cream, and will love to make it again some time.