I am usually pretty excited when Mondays roll around. New week, new things happening, new people to meet and things to discover. It's never quite the same and I look forward to the things learned and observed. Except this Monday. It has been such a splendid weekend, I hardly want it to end. We did have an Easter egg hunt for the kids next door and an improvised picnic in the yard with the neighbors. It just filled me with joy, hope and laughter. An instant battery charger for the soul.
I am usually in charge of desserts when we get together but this time I only had ice cream ready. Actually, I could have cut tiny pieces of what was left of a chocolate coconut and mango cake I had made but that would have been like giving an elephant a thimble to drink from. (more on the cake this week). Instead, I brought down the container of Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream I was saving for such warm and pleasant days.
If I had shown you the inside of the cabinets during Jen's Kitchen Tour series, it would have confused everybody. I have what B. called "kitchen bougeotte". (To have "la bougeotte" = to be fidgety). With my parents and almost all their sibblings born an raised abroad, there was no standard for cuisine types in the family. Wherever they were they would learn some local dishes and ultimately pass them on to us. Along with all the pots and pans specific to each culture. I realized the tour would quickly require a two-page extension if I included them and I could not subject you and Jen to that. It was long enough already!!
Being here in the States is close to cuisine paradise with some many different nations in one spot, so you can bet my "kitchen bougeotte" is greatly satisfied! I am under heavy French, Asian and Indian flavors. In the pantry, each culture tends to have a specific bin. There is however a couple of spices with their own prime real estate in the pantry. Cardamom and saffron.
I love, love, love cardamom. In baked goods, mousses, cakes, you name it I am there. I use green cardamom for baking while I keep black cardamom for savory dishes. I don't usually think of saffron when baking but I am pleasantly surprised each time I do. While I don't pretend to be fluent in Indian cooking, I do enjoy the knowledge and recipes from other bloggers out there. I also have the loveliest of friend who prepared this ice cream the last time I saw her and from the first spoonful, I knew I would have to make it at home....quickly! This ice cream made me week in the knees, literally.
No saffron was harmed during the photo shoot...it all went back in its jar. Now everybody can relax."
The flavors of this ice cream are reminiscent of kulfi although the method used here is a bit different than in traditional kulfi recipes. Oh trust me, next on my list is to get me a set of kulfi molds and to try Deeba's recipe...hmmm... Nothing could be simpler than this refreshing ice cream: cardamom infused cream, pinch of saffron and a handful of pistachios (check your sources given the recent news). Churn and dig...
Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream Recipe:
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 cup (200gr) granulated sugar
4-5 green cardamom pods
pinch of saffron
1/3 cup (40gr) raw pistachios
In a large saucepan, stir together the cream, milk and sugar. On a flat surface, or with a mortar and pestle, gently crush the cardamom pods and add both seeds and pods to the cream mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let steep as it cools to room temperature. Refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Once infused, strain the mixture and remove the crushed cardamom pods. Add a few threads of saffron and stir.
Coarsely chop the pistachios and add them to the mix.
Process the mixture into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's intructions.
No ice cream maker? No problem! Pour the cream into a freeze proof container and freeze for a couple of hours. Take it out and whip it with an electric mixer or immersion blender, freeze it again, whip it again....do that four or five times. The mixture won't be quite the same but pretty darn close.