Star Anise Ice Cream


If you are one of those, as I am, that love the heady almost erotic taste and aroma of licorice then you will love, love, love this ice cream!  This is a spice infused ice cream made from my love of Star Anise, a wonderfully versatile spice that is used in Chinese cooking mostly for its excellent companionship with savory meats.  So into this spice am I that I have been experimenting with Star Anise in sweet foods, in my baking for one and now in my ice cream making.  So here is our Star Anise Ice Cream, a wowzer of an cool luscious licorice treat with the spice’s exotic and distinctive aroma nestled snugly against a velvety smooth and creamy ice cream.  Yummilicious!

Star Anise Ice Cream Recipe (makes 1.5 quart) (adapted from epicurous recipe here)
Prep time: 30 mins   Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:
2 cups  milk
2 cups cream1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole star anise(or up to 1/4 cup more if you like really strong anise flavor)
pinch salt
8  egg yolks
2 tbsp anise flavored liqueur* (optional)

Directions:

Roast your star anise gently over a low heat in a thick bottomed swallow pan until aromatic.  Let cool.
Combine milk, cream, sugar, star anise and salt in a small pot and bring just to the boil, remove from heat, cover and let cool.  Taste the milk mixture for the strength of the star anise infusion.  If satisfied, proceed to next steps.  If not, heat mixture again just to the boil, cover and let cool.  When satisfied with spice infusion strain out the star anise and heat the milk mixture again just to the boil and remove from heat.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, add cream mixture in a thin steady stream, stirring all the while. Pour all back into pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of your pot, until the custard coats the back of spoon, 170°F (77°C).  Strain custard through a sieve and let cool.  Stir in liqueur, then make ice cream according to your ice cream machine.
Or, if like us, you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can make ice cream easily like this.  Place completely cooled custard in freezer for about an hour or until the custard starts to freeze up on the edges.  Use a whisk or a wooden spoon to stir custard completely.  Refreeze for another 3/4 hour to hour until custard starts to freeze again.  Again stir completely.  Repeat freezing and stirring at intervals until the custard reaches a consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Pour into ice cream storage container and freeze overnight or until firm.  You’ve just made ice cream without a machine!
*Tip: Some anise flavored liqueurs are anisette, absinthe, pastis, pernod (French), ouzo (Greek), Jaegermiester (German), Galliano and Sambuca (Italian).  
*Tip: Adding alcohol to ice cream lower the freezing point and in essence, makes your ice cream softer and easier to scoop.




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