My husband and I have spent most of the last 20 years working in African countries that have large Indian-descent populations and cuisines heavily influenced by Indian cooking. There we became addicted to Kulfi, a superb Indian dessert consisting of a reduction of sweetened milk, flavored with cardamom and ground pistachios (or almonds), and frozen in individual, cone-shaped molds. For readers unfamiliar with Kulfi, just imagine spicy, milky, gourmet popsicles without sticks and you’ll catch the general drift.
In addition to our recent life in Africa, my husband and I have long maintained a home at our family’s organic dairy farm in North Carolina, where we have access to a bountiful supply of unpasteurized milk and cream, fresh from our family cows. Cream does literally rise to the top, we typically have a lot of it, and we must think of creative uses that go beyond making our own butter. Enter ice cream.
This ice cream recipe results from this happy intersection of supply — access to plenty of cream — and demand — our addiction to Kulfi flavors.
2 cups fresh whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom seeds
A dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
(optional) 1 tablespoon fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios (or almonds), lightly toasted and chopped
3 cups fresh cream
- Pour milk into a saucepan, add ground cardamom and nutmeg, and bring to a simmer on a medium-low heat burner. Add sugar and 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios (reserving the balance for topping). Simmer, stirring, for 1 minute. Set aside and allow the milk mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Add cream and optional bread crumbs (if the latter is used) to the milk mixture and refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.
- Pour milk/cream mixture into an ice cream maker and process until firm. Spoon the ice cream into a separate container, cover, and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Top each individual serving with a sprinkle of the reserved chopped pistachios. Serves 4-6.
· If you cannot find unsalted pistachios, use salted pistachios that have been soaked in three changes of water, rinsed well, drained, and lightly toasted. Do not use pistachio extract.
· Madhur Jaffrey is a master source for accessible Indian recipes, and I have a very well-thumbed copy of her cookbook Indian Cooking on my kitchen shelf. Her Kulfi recipe is absolutely sublime, if you’re interested in trying the real thing.