This recipe comes from one of the best spice books we've ever found; Jill Norman's Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference. Along with the beautiful photos and useful information, she includes a whole slew of recipes from around the world.
We used this particular recipe for our Chicago, A Spicy Melting Pot event in the Old Town shop, in conjunction with the city of Chicago's 2005 'Stirring Things Up in Chicago' summer events.
Yield: 6 servings
- Put the milk, or light cream, vanilla bean and crushed cardamom pods into a heavy pan and bring slowly to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let infuse for 20 minutes. Take out the vanilla bean and scape the seeds into the liquid. Remove the crushed green cardamom pods.
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Gently reheat the milk or cream and beat a little of it into the egg yolks. Pour the egg mixture into the cream and return the pan to a low heat. Stir until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; it will take several minutes. Do not let it boil, or you'll get pieces of scrambled egg.
- To add optional saffron, steep threads in 2 tablespoons of steamed milk or hot water. Once saffron has diffused and liquid has cooled, add it with other ingredients.
- Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir until it has almost cooled. Whip the whipping cream lightly and fold it into the custard. Add the ⅛ teaspoon of ground cardamom. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.
Be careful not to add too much cardamom to the recipe. Cardamom is a very strong flavor, and too much of it can cause a soapy taste.