It hurt to watch the spoon fall into the sink. With a harsh clatter, the empty vehicle settled into the basin after ricocheting and jumping into stillness. The utensil was disposed of without thought, as I chose instead to focus on the unpleasant lingering taste in my mouth.
Can it truly be so… Bad?, I asked myself. Can ice cream even be bad?
I was surprised. I had not known what to expect with the recipe, but I had certainly been excited over the incredible aroma wafting through the kitchen as I put the steps to action. An aroma that was definitely present in the finished ice cream, but accompanied by an indescribable and foul residual taste that I couldn’t shake. I had taken two bites; one eager, one questioning.
How did that happen?
Desiring a second opinion, I hefted the ice cream back into the freezer and got to work cleaning the kitchen. I considered the process as I scrubbed the counter, eventually pinpointing my mistake while scrubbing a stubborn spot on the counter.
I let it steep too long.
After mom tasted it and we discussed the flavor (pleasant – beautiful, really – at first but painful in the end), I set it onto the counter to melt and disposed of it around dinnertime. Really, I hate to waste ingredients, but there are some mistakes that just can’t be fixed. I spent a long time contemplating possibilities, but, unfortunately, nothing seemed more appropriate than a trip down the pipes.
So I cleaned the container and put it away.
But this wasn’t all a waste; I’ve finally memorized a recipe for plain creme anglaise, and feel not only more confident about creating my own personalized variations, but also for trying this one again. Even though the taste wasn’t what I wanted it to be, the texture that this ice cream had was, by far, the smoothest I’d ever been able to execute. So that’s good, right?
I have a lot of flops in the kitchen. I’m always sure to read recipes through before trying them, but last minute changes and substitutions have a tendency to throw everything off track. But you know what? I like to think that these “flops” and “mistakes” and “failures” are just my way of learning. This is how I’m figuring things out.
And you know what else? Saying it like that makes me sound like less of an idiot.
And I’m quite alright with that!
Noyaux Ice Cream via Eggbeater
Don’t discount this recipe just because it didn’t work for me. I’m sure it’s worth it, but you must be careful not to steep too long (I let it go for an hour) or it will develop an unpleasant taste. If you are concerned with the edibility of the pits, please check out this link on Ms. Lydon’s blog. It’s very informative and interesting, so don’t be at all surprised if you find yourself digging through the archives. You’re going to like what you see!
Oh, and be sure to take the time to enjoy the incredible scent of the noyaux while smashing the pits!
3 c (710 ml) whole milk
1 c (235 ml) heavy cream
3/4 c (150 g) sugar, divided
7 egg yolks
1 – 1 1/2 c (235 – 355 ml) smashed cherry pits (I used 1 1/2 c. Can be replace with pits from any stone fruit, as I understand. Oh – and one more note: I wrapped mine in cheese cloth to make the straining process easier)
Heat milk, cream, pits and 1/4 c (50 g) sugar in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. When hot to the touch, remove from heat, whisk and let steep 1-2 hours, tasting every 30 minutes.
When the infusion tastes as strong as you’d like it (remembering that it will taste stronger in flavor and sweetness when it’s hot), bring liquid to boil and pass through a fine meshed sieve, pressing on the solids to press out as much of the liquid as you can.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks and remaining 1/2 c (100 g) sugar until lightened in color. Set aside.
Bring the infused cream back to a boil, then temper into the eggs. Return the egg and dairy mixture to the stove and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened (a good test is to dip a spoon in and trace your finger from the top to the bottom. If the line stays defined and the liquid doesn’t run, you can stop cooking). Strain into a bowl, press clingfilm directly onto the surface and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
When thoroughly chilled, freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker.