saffron ice cream

This is a gorgeous ice cream-- bright yellow with red saffron threads-- with a unique and highly addictive flavor. Sweet and saffron-savory, Lebovitz suggests pairing it with pine nuts, rosewater, oranges, cinnamon, and/or quince.

I find this preparation to be a touch too sweet, but others I've fed it to claim it's perfect as is. Your call.

Saffron Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop
makes one pint

1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (affordable at Trader Joe's)
3 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, cream, and sugar in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the saffron. Pour in a small bowl (I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup) and steep in the refrigerator for 4 hours. (It was very, very late when I began this, so I let it steep overnight rather than stay up another four hours.)

Strain the saffron-infused mixture into a medium saucepan. Rescue the threads of saffron and put them in a medium bowl. Set the strainer over the top. (I did not strain my mixture. In fact I have no recollection of reading this step. It was early in the morning.)

Rewarm the saffron-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm saffron mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir to incorporate the saffron threads. Stir until cool over an ice bath (I did not do this.)

Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker. Make sure to get all the saffron threads off the dasher and mix them back into the ice cream when you remove it from the machine.

A NOTE on ice cream makers: do not try to use your machine more than once in a 24-hr period if it is the kind that has a frozen canister. No matter how cold you think that canister is, the second batch will not turn out as well as the first. My second batch (an olive oil ice cream) remained fairly soupy after churning and froze in the freezer to the density of gelato, but with ice crystals that marred the texture.

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