Over the past few years I have discovered that I know very little about food. Well maybe I'm being a little hard on myself. I consider myself an adventurous eater and I have tried many different types of food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy trying new restaurants and new flavors. But as I explore the culinary world, I realize more and more how much I don’t know about food. There are SO many ingredients and flavors I have not tried. But I'm getting there.
I try to incorporate new ingredients in my home cooking as much as possible(I would say I have an "around the world" cooking style), and every so often I have the opportunity to use a new ingredient in ice cream. This week I introduced myself to pink peppercorns. The small deep coral colored balls have always stood out on the grocery store spice shelf, but I never reached for them because I didn’t know what they tasted like or what to do with them. I wrongly assumed they were just a colorful version of black or white pepper. I was way wrong. After doing a little research I learned that pink peppercorns are not even part of a pepper. They are native to Brazil and are the dried fruit of the Baies Rose. They just look like peppercorns. Who knew?
The flavor of pink peppercorns is floral, with touches of fruity sweetness and a hint of spice. I imagine the spice would go well with light dishes such as fish. I was inspired to make a pink peppercorn ice cream because floral and fruity notes often work well in an ice cream base. I also recall hearing about the spice being used in ice cream, often in combination with fruit such as strawberries.
My post this week is special not only because I used a new ingredient, but because this post is part of the Progressive Party blogging event series hosted by Kitchen Play. The Progressive Party series was developed to better connect bloggers with the food industry and promote what you food and drink bloggers do, like recipe development and food photography. Each month the series is sponsoned by a different company, and this month it is sponsored by the one an only Sur la Table.
Now we will take a short break to hear from our sponsor:
Sur La Table provides inspiration, tools and techniques for those who wish to enhance their lives through creative cooking and artful entertaining. Sur La Table’s comprehensive selection of products includes tools from around the world to prepare any cuisine, as well as beautiful dishes, linens and glasses to create a striking presentation. Sur La Table shops the world for new products providing the unexpected and a sense of discovery, whether you step into one of its stores nationwide, open the pages of its catalog or visit surlatable.com.
Sur la Table provided me with a product to test and use in my recipe - the Garlic Shake & Chop. I must admit that when I opened the package and saw the word garlic I was concerned. Garlic and ice cream are words that do not go together. But after taking a look at this gadget I began to brainstorm about other possible uses. The blades looked like they could chop through small spices such as seeds and peppercorns. I had already been considering making an ice cream with pink peppercorns so I gave it a try. Success! With some aggressive shaking the shake and chop successfully "ground" the peppercorns and they were ready to use in ice cream.
Now I would like to tell you how you can become involved with this series and win some awesome prizes! Check out my recipe and the recipes of other participants at Kitchen Play. If you like what you see, try out the recipe for yourself, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to that post on Kitchen Play to enter to win! The first prize for each course is a Swissmar V-Slicer valued at $50 (6 prizes total). The Grand Prize is a Le Creuset Cassis Oval Wide French Oven, 3 ½ quart valued at $255. Contest rules are available on the Kitchen Play website.
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
I used the Sur la Table Shake and Chop to "grind" my peppercorns. If you do not have one, the peppercorns can be ground using a mortar and pestle or by placing them in a heavy-duty bag and cracking them with a heavy object, like a rolling pin.
3 Tablespoons pink peppercorns
2 cups whole milk (500 ml), divided
1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1/8 cup corn syrup (30 ml)
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (11 g) cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Coarsely grind pink peppercorns. Combine peppercorns, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat. Once warm, cover and remove from heat. Let steep at room temperature for one hour.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
After steeping, add remaining milk and cream to the pepper-infused mixture and return to medium heat, bringing the mixture to a low boil. Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and off the 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 the sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Whisk in salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.