I used to not like cardamom. I didn't get it. It tasted weird to me - strangely minty and sweet and overpowering. Then I made this tres leches cake, and all of a sudden...I got cardamom. It was meant to be paired with oatmeal and cinnamon and coconut and almonds and mangoes and peaches and OH MY GOD I HAD TO MAKE ICE CREAM. And I did.
Sometimes ideas come to you abruptly and fully formed, and this ice cream was like a god-given vision, brought upon by Joy's To Die For tres leches glaze.
But as I was salivating over the ice cream concept, I realized another thing: this ice cream needs something to make it happen. PIE.
Simply put, pie and ice cream are soul mates. Warm pie with a scoop of melty ice cream? YES. YESYESYES. So I bought some peaches (out of season, yes yes yes I know, HUSH UP, the voices told me to) and announced to my friends that peach pie and ice cream were going to happen, and they had better show up with their mouths. Or else. (I...don't know what that 'or else' would entail. Probably me eating an entire pie and then laying on my bedroom floor, sending angry text messages to my friends that would essentially amount to: "I hope you're happy staying skinny, assholes!") Nobody, however, refused the call of pie and ice cream, and so I was not left to eat it all by myself and then reenact that scene from Free Willy 2 where the entire pod of whales gets beached and spend a good portion of the film moaning and wriggling their gigantic blubbery selves ineffectually.
To say the least, the ice cream and pie were a major hit. The most articulate response was: "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh. My. God." Perhaps one of the best compliments my cooking has received in a while, because sometimes inarticulateness speaks more clearly than actual words.
But in all truthfulness, this ice cream is awesome. Not to mention simple and easy and full of so much potential. You could flavour it just about any way you like: instead of spices, stir in orange or lemon zest, pour in a dash of almond extract, stir in crushed oreos, spike it generously with Bailey's - oh, the possibilities!
Before I move on to the recipe, however, dieters, be warned, this ice cream is probably not for you. It is so rich, and so indulgent...and insanely addictive. Believe, I know. It will destroy your will to eat salad and proper meals. But it will be so delicious, you might not care.
Cardamom Spiced Ice Cream
This ice cream is rich and decadent, thanks to the fat in both the coconut milk and the sweetened condensed milk, so it will have a creamy texture even if you don't use an ice cream maker. Also, it's simplicity makes it an incredibly versatile base for so many other ice cream flavours! Although I highly recommend you try this one first. It's sinful.
2 14 oz (414 mL) cans Coconut Milk (Full Fat - don't you dare skimp!)
1 300 mL can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
1 Vanilla Bean OR 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1. Pour the coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk into a medium-sized pot. The coconut milk fat may have solidified at the top - this is totally normal, do not be afraid.
2. Add the spices and extract (if using) to the pot. If using, take the vanilla bean, slice it down the middle with a sharp knife, and using the tip of the knife, scrape the vanilla seeds out from the pod, and transfer to the milk mixture. Throw in the bean as well.
3. Over medium-low heat, whisk the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and spices together, and warm just until the mixture is smooth and no clumps remain.
4. Transfer the ice cream mixture to a large bowl or container and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or (preferably) overnight. Leave the vanilla bean in to infuse even more delicious flavour!
5. Once chilled, remove the vanilla bean, and pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions, then freeze in a resealable container. If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the base into a shallow dish (such as a 9x9 or 9x13 baking dish) and transfer to the freezer. After about an hour, remove the mixture from the freezer, and using a sturdy fork, whisk, or beaters, break up any clumps that are starting to form until the mixture is smooth again. This helps break up the ice crystals, to help prevent your ice cream from becoming too icy in texture. Continue to check on the ice cream every half hour or so, breaking up the clump and whisking until the mixture is smooth, before transferring back to the freezer. Once the ice cream is to stiff to beat anymore, transfer to a resealable container, and store in the freezer. If you really want to make sure the ice cream is creamy, once it's completely frozen, scoop it into a food processor and process the ice cream until it's the texture of soft serve ice cream, then transfer to a resealable container.
6. Serve with pie, cake, fresh fruit (I recommend slices of fresh ripe mango with this particular recipe) or enjoy the ice cream all on its own! Because it's homemade, the ice cream will be very hard once completely frozen. For easier scooping, let the ice cream sit for about 5 - 10 minutes on the counter before scooping out servings to avoid bending (or breaking) your spoons.