I am a herd beast and when all other food bloggers go mad for Szechuan food, I go mad for Szechuan food too. I order the crispy pig’s intestines and shovel the crunchy-soft offal into my gullet, savouring the chilli heat and the peppercorn numbness. And then I tell everyone about it so no one can be in any doubt about how up to date and on trend I am with the latest food fashions (have I mentioned I also like burgers?).

My Szechuan natterings have not gone unnoticed and when Housemate Number 1 was in New York, she stopped off at Dean & Delucca and bought me a rather snazzy tin of Szechuan peppercorns. Most people would have reached for their Fuschia Dunlop, some chopped up pig and got stir frying. But I have a full set of sweet teeth, so I thought ice cream.

A range around the internet turned up this recipe, and I used it as the basis for my version. I cut out the flour and salt and anglicised the ingredients and measurements. It makes a fresh, aromatic, herby ice cream – grown up and grassy tasting. I baked some toasted sesame biscuits to go with it and will put up the recipe for those tomorrow. It’s a scrumptious combination.

Szechuan peppercorn ice cream
Makes 1 litre

3 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
300ml double cream
250ml whole milk
6 medium egg yolks (you’ll need 1 egg white for the toasted sesame biscuits, the rest can be frozen for meringues)
100g caster sugar

1 Place 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns in a pan with the cream and milk and gently bring to a simmer, until it’s steaming hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave for 30 minutes to infuse. Grind the remaining Szechuan peppercorns with a pestle and mortar until finely crushed. Shake through a sieve to separate the powder from any papery husks. Discard the husks.

2 Strain the cream and milk mixture through a sieve to remove the peppercorns and return the mixture to the pan.

3 Beat the eggs, sugar and Szechuan peppercorn powder together in a heatproof bowl until pale and thick. Place a handful of ice and some water in a larger bowl to make an ice bath and place the egg and sugar bowl inside it.

4 Heat the cream and milk again until steaming, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and slowly pour into the eggs and sugar, a little at a time, beating constantly, until combined. Don’t add it all at once because the heat could scramble the eggs. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the ice bath until cold.

5 If you have an ice cream maker, follow the instructions to churn the ice cream and then freeze. If you don’t, you’ll need to pour it into a freezeproof container, freeze for an hour, beat with a fork with to break up any ice crystals and then repeat this for 7 or 8 hours to until you have a smooth ice cream. Serve with toasted sesame biscuits.

Tagged with: Ice creamSzechuan

0 Responses to Szechuan peppercorn ice cream

  1. DebraDoherty says:

    That is just freaky! (In a good way!) I’d love to try it! Does it have an after burn at all?

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      No chilli heat at all, it’s very herby and green tasting. I think the peppercorns are more numbing than hot, so perfect for ice cream!

  2. Love it. Can’t beat a bit of Sichuan food (and my next blog post is a burger).

  3. The Grubworm says:

    Re the herd and on-trend comments – touche! I do exactly the same thing and am prone to over-excitement when people start nattering about a particular thing (burgers)…

    The ice cream sounds fascinating – do you get any of the numbing/tingling feeling with this?

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      You get a little hint of pepperiness right at the very end, but mostly it’s the pepper’s aromatics that come through. It’s quite a clean, elegant flavour. Definitely worth trying.

  4. Peppery ice cream! I’ll go with that! Great idea.

  5. […] Gin and Crumpets If you can't drink it, eat it « Szechuan peppercorn ice cream […]

  6. Chris says:

    Genius, again. You should try @FoodStories’ bacon ice cream, it is also bonkers (& tasty).

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Maybe I need to have a triple scoop of this ice cream, Food Stories’ bacon ice cream and Hollow Leg’s salted caramel ice cream. All in a big wafer cone.

  7. Lizzie says:

    Brilliant! Hooray for ‘different’ flavour combos.

  8. Helen says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I do love a bit of spice in my ice cream. I bet that tingle works really well as a cold erm, thing. Sorry my vocabulary appears to have deserted me.

  9. ginandcrumpets says:

    @Lizzie Is there anything that can’t be turned into ice cream? I don’t think so.

    @Helen Know what you mean! The little peppery kick at the end is nice with the mouthfeel of the cold dairy, but it really isn’t very chilli at all. A very green tasting ice cream.

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