Panforte Ice Cream Photo by greekgirl64 on Flickr
At a recent family gathering, my five-year-old nephew excitedly asked if I’d brought Bubblegum Ice Cream or Cake Batter Ice Cream, hoping for a repeat of a few months before. I told him I had a new flavor called Panforte, and I convinced him to give it a try. You’d think the spoonful he put in his mouth was full of lemons and Brussels sprouts, with the face he made. He spat it out and looked me straight in the eyes as he very sternly said, “Don’t ever make that again!” (Luckily I had a kid-friendly chocolate as a backup, which he approved of.) Since my last two recipe posts were decidedly flavors for kids, I thought it was a good time to post one of my all-time favorites that also happens to be decidedly aimed at adults.
David Lebovitz’s book Perfect Scoop is one of the highest rated ice cream books on Amazon, and for good reason. It includes a long list of sophisticated recipes with detailed instructions and beautiful photographs. It’s a must-have on any serious ice cream maker’s bookshelf.
His recipe for Panforte Ice Cream came from Mary Canales, a pastry chef that opened the Ici Ice Cream shop in Berkeley, California. It’s no wonder that her shop is so successful, with flavors like this one. After reading the recipe’s ingredients and seeing the photograph in the book, I was definitely intrigued. I’d never made an ice cream with things like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey, so I gave it a try.
One spoonful and you instantly realize (like my nephew did) that this is not your standard vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream. It’s an explosion of adult flavors that you normally associate with winter holidays and warm drinks, but it’s also sweet like you’d expect any good ice cream to be. The spices are a perfect blend, and the almonds and candied citrus peel give it just the right amount of crunch and chew. One scoop and you may never go back to normal ice cream again.
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons full-flavored honey
1/4 cup mixed candied citrus peel
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Makes about one quart.
Directions from Mr. Lebovitz:
Warm the half-and-half, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Rewarm the spice-infused mixture. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and mix it into the cream. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir the custard until cool over an ice bath. While it’s cooling, warm the honey in a small saucepan, then stir it into the custard.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the candied citrus peel and almonds.
I used candied lemon and orange peel that I found at Central Market, in a plastic container all prepared, chopped, and ready to use (look for it near the bulk foods section). You can also find it for sale online, or make it yourself using one of the many recipes available. Note that this is candied citrus peel, not candied fruit like you’d find in a fruitcake.
Give this one a try and open yourself up to a world of new flavors in ice cream.
But don’t serve it to kids. Trust me.