I was hesitant about this one. It sounded intriguing, but a tablespoon of cracked pepper for roughly a pint of ice cream seemed like a LOT. I can tell you now though, there there is no reason to be hesitant at all- the ice cream is light and creamy with just a hint of black pepper to make it interesting. I almost wish the flavor were stronger- although if your black pepper is stronger than mine, it might turn out to be more intense. Peppercorns (all spices, really) weaken with time and mine may have been fairly old.
Lebovitz suggests pairing this with summer berries or pears and honey, or melon and lime. Once you've tasted the ice cream, you'll understand entirely. This is a good ice cream to feed to people who may be afraid of savory or unusual ice creams, as the taste is really not what you'd expect.
Black Pepper Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop
makes one pint
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely cracked (use a mortar and pestle or a bag and hammer.)
pinch of salt
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
Warm the milk, sugar, peppercorns, salt, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the cream in a medium saucepan. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for one hour.
Rewarm the peppercorn-infused mixture. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup (125 ml) cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm 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 (this happens quickly, so watch carefully). Pour the custard through the strainer, pressing the peppercorns gently to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the peppercorns and stir the custard into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath (or skip this part).
Chill in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker.