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Cardamom Saffron Ice Cream

Cardamom Ice Cream

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


Featured in this Recipe


Preparation Instructions:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Helpful Hints

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.

Based on 11 reviews

Customer Reviews


Just made it and it is great!

Janice Craig


Heather J

So good, not too sweet just right. I made it with a strawberry rubarb crisp, it tastes gourmet on the crisp and all alone the ice cream is fantastic.


This is amazing! I actually used my usual basic ice cream recipe (similar to the one listed above) and infused the cardamom in the milk and heavy cream. This turned out so well! I will absolutely make this again.

farouk p

Just made this – it was absolutely delicious. Followed the instructions to the letter – not too sweet, not too eggy. Very sophisticated and adult like the other users suggested. Willd definitely be making this again.

janet p

Superb flavor, though I did tweak it a bit: Used 2 whole eggs instead of 4 yokes, so as not to waste the whites. Also added the cream to the milk at the beginning, rather than reserving and later whipping it. This is how I make all my custard based ice cream recipes, and the end product is still silky smooth and rich. Love the cardamom and vanilla bean. Will be serving this with a rhubarb dessert flavored with orange zest and cardamom.

mary ann p

Amazing flavor and I like my ice cream sweet!

Randy T

OMG is this great! I used one-half cup of sugar and a full cup of cream. Served with phyllo pastry filled with an almond paste infused with some orange blossom water. The pairing was amazing but the ice cream stood on its own as an amazing dish. Will definitely make again. There is no way IMHO this should have received a low rating from anyone.

Catherine J

I agree with the previous submitter…if you like ice cream less sweet, use less sugar. Myself and my friends found this ice cream amazing!!!! I don’t know why you thought it tasted “eggy”. Perhaps you didn’t mix it up correctly. To us, it was very adult, elegant, and sophisticated.

Charles S

Well, that’s a dumb reason to give a recipe a bad rating. If you don’t like ice cream to be sweet, then just leave out some of the sugar! After all, recipes are not set in stone, and you are allowed to vary them a little bit to taste. Myself, I love sweet things, and I thought this recipe was delicious. Mmm, cardamom candy.

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