Cracked black pepper ice cream

Food & drink
Black pepper ice cream

I had a minor disaster the other day.  I’d been away on a business trip for a couple of days, but before I went, I made a couple of batches of ice cream.

I rinsed out the freezer bowl from the ice cream maker, the metal bit that goes in the freezer and does The Business and left it on the work surface above the dishwasher.  It turns out that granite conducts the excess heat from a dishwasher really well, and the bowl must have heated up more than it should have, splitting the rim and letting a truly odd bright blue gunge leak out.

Replacement bowls seem not to exist, so that’s another piece of kitchen kit in the bin, but maybe an opportunity to buy something a bit more Rolls Royce-like in the ice cream making department.

Before disaster struck, I managed to do a little experimentation… 

Cracked Black Pepper Ice Cream

Black pepper and ice cream aren’t two things that you’d expect to go together, but the flavour combinations work very well.  It’s a surprising result – a rich, creamy base punctuated with mellow, peppery tones and the occasional spike of heat.  It’s best eaten alone or with something very simple and plain, maybe some sliced fruit.  This recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.  As an introduction to ice cream making, its first class, full of good recipes and better advice.  I never really had much success with ice cream until I started using this book. There’s a fuller review here.

So, black pepper ice cream.

The pepper doesn’t end up in the finished product…it’s just used to add flavour to the cream and milk mixture before being discarded. In a pan, warm 125ml each of whole milk and double cream with 65g of sugar, a pinch of salt and a good tablespoon of roughly cracked black pepper. Cover the pan, and let the pepper steep for about an hour.

Warm the milk and cream mixture through again and slowly pour it over three large egg yolks, whisked together in a large bowl. Keep whisking all the time, and then transfer the mixture into a clean pan and gently warm it, stirring all the time. You’re making a custard, so keep it moving, scraping the bottom of the pan all the time to stop anything sticking. The custard will quickly coat the back of the spoon.

Cracked Black Pepper Ice Cream

When the custard has thickened, pour it through a sieve, into a bowl, squeezing the pepper with the back of the spoon to extract as much of the pepper infused cream out as possible. Stir another 125ml of double cream into the sieved mixture and chill the whole lot in a sink full of cold water. Put the bowl into the fridge and let it get really cold, preferably overnight.
Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine the next morning, until the ice cream is thick and smooth.