A new year has begun, and that means another year of new and exciting scoops is beginning! I don't have any particular New Years' resolutions this year other than the being happy. That means indulging in food and ice cream when I feel like it and taking time to participate in activities that make me smile and bring me energy. Simple and sweet. Like me.
Last year around this time, I was inspired to make a Blood Orange Sorbet after attending a tasting by a local ice cream shop. The owner suggested that blood orange and star anise were a good flavor combination, and he was definitely right! So when thinking about a flavor to start off this new year, I decided I wanted to make something with a similar flavor profile but not the same scoop. Fennel has an anise-like flavor and I had always wanted to try infusing the flavor into ice cream. Adding a blood orange sauce provided a similar flavor profile that was the perfect combination of sweet, tart, and earthy. Success! Happy New Year!
Fennel Ice Cream
Ice cream base inspired by recipes in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/8 cup light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Warm 1 cup milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, cream, and fennel seeds in a medium saucepan. Once warm (do not boil) remove from heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In the mean time, fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. 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, strain milk mixture through a fine mesh seive to remove seeds. Return to pan. Add remaining milk and begin rewarming. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes.
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 into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve 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. 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.
Blood Orange Sauce
1 cup blood orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer until sauce is reduce by half (about 1/2 cup). Remove from heat and cool complete before pouring on to ice cream.