It was quite a day when I finally discovered the benefits of whole spices. For much of my adult life, I kept jars and packets of ground spices on my shelf, letting them sit there for months, even years, while they slowly lost their flavor. I do not remember the exact moment, but at some point while cooking and following recipes, I came upon a suggestion for using a coffee grinder to freshly grind whole spices when I need them. Done. The scent of fresh ground spices is amazing. Although I still have some ground spices in my pantry, I try my best to keep whole spices around because the flavor does not compare.
Steeping whole spices in cream is a match made in heaven. The scents and oils in the spices are released and latch onto the butterfat, filling each scoop with intense flavor. For my scoop this week, I used whole coriander seeds to flavor the ice cream base. The scent is somewhat citrusy and very different from the cilantro leaves that grow from the seeds. A couple months ago when blackberries were in season, I made a sauce and stuck it in the freezer for later use in ice cream. Jeni's ice cream stores make a Coriander Raspberry flavor (one of my favorite), so I thought blackberry would be a good alternative for this scoop. Fresh, tart, and sweet. Enjoy!
Recipe made using ice cream base technique from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
I think the best way to crush the coriander seeds is to place them in a heavy-duty bag and crack them with a heavy object, like a rolling pin. You could also use a mortar and pestle, but don't crush too much.
2 cups whole milk
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/8 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons crushed coriander seeds
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup blackberry sauce (see below)
Warm 1 cup milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, and coriander seeds in a medium saucepan. Once warm (do not boil) remove from heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for one hour. When steeping is almost complete, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.
After steeping is complete, add remaining milk and begin rewarming over medium heat. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat for about 4 minutes to remove some moisture.
Remove from heat and off heat gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture through a sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Pour into a gallon bag, seal tightly, and set baggie in the ice water bath, cover with some ice, and let stand until cold, about 20 minutes or longer.
Once ice cream base is chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon a layer of blackberry sauce (see below) into a container and lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of sauce and ice cream until the container is full; drizzle a little more sauce on top. Do not swirl with a spoon.
Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Makes about 1 cup sauce
Sauce can be prepared in advance and frozen until ready to use.
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
Place both ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Berries will soon begin to release their juice, keep stirring to combine juice and sugar. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and most juice has been released from berries, about 8 minutes. Cool completely before adding to ice cream.