I love the boldness of flavors in a gingersnap cookie - the spicy ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom exquisitely balanced by the sweetness of the molasses - exploding on my tongue with the first nibble.
Not every person favors this flavor profile, in fact most people either love or hate this ginger-infused dessert. Fair warning: if you are not smitten with gingersnaps, you will probably want to skip this recipe.
Unlike many gingersnap ice creams, crushed gingersnaps are not mixed into a milder tasting ice cream base. Instead, this recipe infuses the custard with all the spices and sweetness you find in the cookie. The flavors are not shy, which is exactly why I love it so much.
If you are like me and crave complex, comforting flavors of a gingersnap whenever the temperature dips below freezing, you should spin a batch of this ice cream immediately.
Do not allow the cold weather deter you from enjoying a generous scoop of this frozen deliciousness. The spiciness will take the chill off any winter day.
Gingersnap Ice Cream
adapted from 'The Last Course' by Claudia Flemming
makes about 1 quart
2 ounces peeled fresh ginger root, sliced (about 16 quarter-sized slices)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 nutmeg, crushed (or 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
2 cardamom pods, cracked (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
10 large egg yolks
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and let it blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ginger to a heavy saucepan. Add the milk, cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and allow the spices to infuse for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and molasses.
Return the milk mixture to the heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add a little of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking the milk constantly as you pour.
Return the custard to the stove and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and strain the custard through a fine sieve. Chill overnight.
Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.