Star Anise Ice Cream

Shoot me a jibe about my childlike obsession with ice cream and I’ll knock it back from fifty paces. It’s not dull, it’s not just for kids and I don’t need to order the gold-leaf-plated mille fuille of  fruits of Eden with a Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque sabayon; I  just want a bowl of ice cream. Its combination of baby food smoothness and melting sugared cream may be part of the appeal, yes (and classics such as raspberry ripple get me every time) but often it’s the way it so gracefully carries those grown-up flavours which has me reaching for the sundae spoon. I do love a bit of spice in my sweet stuff.

I originally envisaged this ice cream oozing all over a rhubarb galette but the recipe I used was not at all to my taste. To be fair alarm bells did ring as I was making it – 1 whole teaspoon of vanilla extract + 170g sugar must surely = sickly perfume?

The answer is yes, yes it does. The pastry was nice; I picked it off and used it as a scooper for the ice cream.

Back at my drawing board, I got a bee in the bonnet for poached pears. Simmered with a syrup laced with cloves, vanilla (half a pod) and  cinnamon stick, they were delicate, elegant and actually rather perfect. One thing missing though: pastry. Makes you wonder why I didn’t just make the pear tatins as suggested in the ice cream recipe, doesn’t it? Hmm.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the ice cream is awesome. The scary amount of star anise actually infuse just the right amount of flavour* and the base seemed particularly creamy. Now I’ve got the bug for spice I’m set on making a chocolate and cardamom version but there’s one lesson I’m taking with me and it’s this:  sometimes, a girl just needs a simple bowl of ice cream.

Star Anise Ice Cream Recipe from The Times

*I was very nervous when I clocked the amount of star anise in the recipe, but realised this is because the milk is infusing for only a short time – you need to get that flavour in fast. The end result is not overpowering.

Category: Desserts, Ice Cream | Tags: , , , 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Star Anise Ice Cream”

  1. Anh

    I love this piece of writting, the photos and the recipe. Very unusual, but all for the love of ice-cream!

  2. LexEat

    Having just polished off the coconut milk & lemongrass sorbet I made, I agree with you completely! Ice cream is not just for kids!

    This looks DIVINE and the photos beautiful!

  3. nina

    I am sorry the gallette was not to your taste..it sure looks awesome, as for the ice-cream….I have made this before and had the same fears as you, but in the end I loved the cold/heat contrasts in my mouth….

  4. Maninas

    I love the photo of the star anise infusion. They almost look like butterflies.

  5. Lizzie

    Shame it wasn’t to your taste, but the galette looks AMAZING, as do the pears. I am now even more excited about experimenting with my new ice cream maker.

  6. BSG

    Yum – am definitely going to try this. A friend once made avocado ice-cream and it was surprisingly good – the creative juices are well and truly flowing now, thanks!

  7. shayma

    aw, that is a shame. i really did enjoy looking at your photos very much, as always. i agree, ice cream is like baby food, that nursery food quality. x shayma

  8. Caroline

    I love the pic of “dragon-flies” floating in the milk and anything sweet with rhubarb is a winner with me.

  9. Jonathan

    I am a big fan of star anise. I think as much for the shape and feel of it as the amazing flavour. Lovely post. Makes me want to make some ice cream.

  10. Danny

    Totally agree with your sentiments about ice cream but have you ever made ice cream soup, you know where you leave it to melt a bit in the bowl and then stir. Or am I alone in this?

    Love the sound of this recipe.

  11. Helen

    Anh – yes it is unusual but it really works. I was really impressed with the recipe and the spice level is spot on.

    LexEat – Ooh, now that sounds a bit good!

    Nina – That is exactly what i was dreaming of – a warm pie with a cold melting blob of ice cream on top. Dribble.

    Maninas – Thanks! Yes they do. Someone commented they also look like flies!

    Lizzie – Thanks. it certainly did look the part, which made it even more disappointing. Just a little a little tweaking though and the recipe could be a winner. The pastry was great so I’ll deifnitely use that again.

    BSG – Blimey! Avocado ice cream really does sound different. I would definitely give it a go though – never say never and all that.

    Shayma – Yeah it certainly does. SO comforting. I am a true addict.

    Caroline – I love all these comments on the anise in the cream! We’ve had flies, butterflies and now dragon flies.

    Jonathan – Yes it certainly does have that killer combination of looks and personality.

    Danny – Oh I certainly have. I much prefer ice cream mush though – which is a half melted version, mushed up into a paste and then shaped into peaks and eaten one by one. not joking.

  12. Plooptionary

    That’s me sorted for my dinner party tomorrow night … I adore star anise.

    It’s very good to put some in a pan when you’re frying beef … Heston swears by it to start off a bolgnese!

  13. Sarah

    what an unsual flavor to add to ice cream, love the first picture. rhubarb galette looks lovely, you could have told us all it was magnificent and we all would have believed you :-)


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