L to R: Roasted Apricot-Almond Ice Cream and Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream
It is quite hot here now and I thought it was time to pull the ice cream maker out again. I took a look at my long list of ice cream recipes and really didn’t see anything that tickled my fancy, so I started thinking about what ingredients are available right now and one of them was fresh apricots. As most of you know by now, I love to experiment with different ingredients and I didn’t want to make some ordinary apricot ice cream, so I thought about what spices would go well with apricots…. ras al hanout. I got the idea for this ice cream from a recipe from a fellow blogger, Mike’s Table. He is hosting a blog event called “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. I can’t wait to see the other entries.
The other ingredient I have wanted to experiment with for quite a while is raw tehina (sesame paste). I didn’t want to use sugar to sweeten the tehina because it just didn’t sound right to me, so I decided the perfect sweetener in keeping with its Middle Eastern roots would be date honey, also known as silan in Hebrew.
The apricot ice cream came out nice and creamy with a strong fruity taste, although perhaps not quite as acid as I would have liked. Next time, I will try adding some dried sour apricots as well.
The tehina ice cream is creamy and has a smoky sesame flavor that is reminiscent of halva. It is not too sweet and the pistachios add a nice crunch. Next time, I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.
They are both delicious ice creams and will be added to the top of my ice cream recipes.
12 ripe apricots
2 teaspoons ras al hanout
1 tablespoon sugar plus some for sprinkling
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup double cream
Small squeeze lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup whole almonds with the skins
Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Cut the apricots in half, remove the seed, and place the halved apricots, cut side up in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with sugar and the ras al hanout. Roast them in the oven until they are caramelised (as shown in the picture above). Let them cool for 20 minutes. Puree the apricots, honey and any juices from the baking dish in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of the cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well and set up in an ice bath with a strainer on top.
Meanwhile scald the remaining 1/2 cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk, talking care not to boil it. In the bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of sugar until creamy. Temper the eggs with a scoop of the hot cream and slowly add the rest. Place the egg-cream mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon.
Pour the cooked custard through the strainer, discarding the solids, into the cooled apricot mixture and whisk all together. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and put in the refrigerator for about six hours.
While the custard cools, toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in a 200C (400F) oven for about 5-10 minutes, shaking them halfway through to prevent burning. Once they have cooled, cut the almonds in half.
When the custard is cold, place it in a ice cream maker, and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Add the almonds during the last minute or two of churning. Transfer to the freezer and eat when ready.
1 cup raw tehina (raw sesame paste)
2 cups full fat milk
1 cup double cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup date honey (silan)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.
Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.
Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.