First of all, I owe my apologies to Jeni Britton Bauer. I have owned her ice cream book for many months and have never made a single recipe until now. Since the day it was released actually. I opened this book to find the recipes had ingredients such as cornstarch, corn syrup, and cream cheese. Worst of all there were no eggs. No eggs, in ice cream! I had come to believe that in order to get ice cream that was rich with a pleasant texture, you need eggs, lot of them. Despite the fact that the book thoroughly explains the science behind the use of these ingredients, I still was not a believer. So, this book promptly was placed on the shelf in the living room. Despite the fact that I continued to read great reviews about the book, I couldn't believe that ice cream with corn starch was going to be good. Even David Lebovitz couldn't convince me. One thing did catch my eye before I closed the cover of this book forever. It was this recipe for anise and fennel candy ice cream. Well, that and the Beet and Orange Zest with Poppy Seeds. That however, will have to be for another day. I absolutely adore the fennel candies they have at Indian restaurants. I'm also one of those freaks that loves black licorice. If you are not one of those people, this probably isn't the recipe for you.
Any time I make Indian Food at home, I always want a little something sweet afterward. On occasion I will make a light rice pudding recipe that I got from Vij's in Vancouver. Somehow rice pudding after a meal where one of the prime components was basmati rice feels like a rice overload. This ice cream on the other hand is perfect. I always like ice cream after a spicy meal and this does the the trick. What makes this ice cream really amazing is the consistency after it has been frozen for a while. It is the smoothest homemade ice cream I have ever made, and I have made many. Let me say that I was so very wrong about these recipes. Corn Starch, and Cream Cheese do make for a wonderful homemade ice cream. Now I can't wait to make Beet with Poppy Seeds, and how about the Baked Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt?
adapted (barely) from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 whole star anise, plus additional for garnish
1/2 cup candied fennel seeds, plus more for sprinkling on top
Whisk a small amount of the milk, about two tablespoons with the cornstarch. Set aside. Blend the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and star anise in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly drizzle in the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture back to boiling and let boil until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Place the bowl in the bowl of icewater, making sure the water does not come over the edges. Let stand about 30 minutes until cold. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or about 8 hours.
Remove Star Anise, you may want to strain the mixture if any small pieces have broken off. Freeze as directed for your ice cream maker. Allow mixture to become thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, mixing in the fennel candy as you go. Fill the container so the ice cream touches the top of the lid, or put a piece of parchment paper over the top of the ice cream. Allow to freeze for at least four hours before serving. Garnish with a whole star anise and sprinkle with additional fennel candy to serve.