One of my favorite things about Bellingham, Wash. is a little ice cream shop called Mallard’s. You can find all sorts of flavors, from basil to lavender to cinnamon to cayenne/chocolate and chai spice. Ever since I got my ice cream machine last year, I’ve been wanting to recreate some of these unique flavors. I’ve already made basil, chai and green tea ice cream. And finally: cardamom.
I found the recipe online and it was really simple – much easier than some other ice creams I’ve made (you don’t have to chill the custard overnight).
I am a nerd because I happened to have all the ingredients in my cupboards: cardamom pods, vanilla beans and everything. The vanilla bean was a couple years old, but still fresh because I kept it sealed in the freezer. And the cardamom pods were a gift – I don’t know when else I’ll use them.
This ice cream tastes like the ocean rolls from Sparrow Bakery: like cinnamon rolls, except made on croissant dough and with cardamom, not cinnamon.
To make your own frozen ocean roll…
2 cups of milk (I used 1%)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 whole cardamom pods (green), lightly crushed (some seeds will come out, others won’t)
3/4 c. sugar
4 egg yolks
3/4 c. whipping cream
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (and not a smidge more)
In a heavy pan, add the milk, vanilla bean and cardamom pods and slowly bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 20 minutes.
Then, remove the pods and vanilla beans. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add them back to the milk (some of the cardamom pods will have come out, just leave them in the milk – more flavor!).
Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Temper the eggs with the milk liquid (stir some of the warm liquid into the eggs), then pour the eggs in with the milk and gently reheat it over low heat. Stir the custard until it coats the back of the spoon. This will take longer than you think – be patient. Don’t boil it.
Remove the pan form the heat and continue to stir it until it’s almost cool. Lightly whip the cream in a small bowl and fold it into the custard. Mix in the ground cardamom.
Now, for the ice cream machine. Mine calls for adding the custard to a frozen canister which then electrically turns until the custard is frozen and ready to be transferred to another container in the freezer. It took about half an hour to get to the consistency of frozen yogurt, which is what I was looking for (it freezes the rest of the way in the freezer). Anyhow, the point is to freeze it however your machine prefers.
This ice cream is light and creamy with just enough spice from the cardamom and sweetness from the vanilla. If you use too much cardamom, it will taste soapy, but following the recipe avoids that. I love the little specks of vanilla bean, with a few larger cardamom seeds in there.