Jasmine ice cream gets a floral green tea infusion, a dusting of crunchy cacao nibs, and a crisp chocolate magic shell topping for ice cream ecstacy. From Kale and Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond.
When I lived in Bologna during college, I was surprised – nay, shocked – to learn that the gelato shops (i.e. the single greatest reason to live in Italy) closed down during the winter months. In California and in my mouth, it’s ALWAYS ice cream season. Which is fortunate because I’m obsessed with this ice cream, which comes from Lily’s beautiful new book Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, and I plan to eat it all year round.
I had the immense pleasure of testing a recipe destined for Lily’s book over a year ago at the tail end of working on my own. Though Lily tried to tempt me with a sweet one, I was so maxed out on dessert that I insisted on something savory. So I whipped up the Kabocha Coconut Fritters with Pomegranate Mint Raita, tender little fritters topped with tangy herbed yogurt and crunchy pomegranate arils, and I knew Lily’s book was going to be special. After I turned in my manuscript, it took about six months for my sweet tooth to fully return, and thank goodness it did because ice cream is one of my primary food groups.
Lily’s book is divided into sections by aromatic edible flowers and herbs such as mint, fennel, sage, jasmine, lavender, and rose. Not only does it boast recipes for drinks, snacks, main dishes, and plenty of desserts, it also has DIY skincare and beauty projects. My curls are loving the Lavender Sea Salt Beach Hair Spritz, which keeps them full of texture and frizz free.
I’m smitten with the way Lily blurs the lines between sweet and savory in her recipes, adding fennel to rhubarb swirled ice cream, rosemary to popsicles, rose water to roasted cauliflower, and orange blossom to ribboned carrot salad. The aforementioned savory fritters get sweetness from coconut shreds, kabocha squash, and pomegranate. Recipes burst with color, fragrance, and flavor for every season. There’s a beautiful image for each recipe and every header paints a story of life, love, and food in Lily’s delicious and sometimes heart-rending prose.
Some recipes I’ve got my eye on are:
- Lemony Fennel, Rashish, & Kale Salad
- Sweet Orange & Rosemary Cream Pops with Salty Chocolate Drizzle
- Creamy Fresh Corn Polenta with Sage, Parmesan, and Crispy Shallots
- Braised Radicchio, Nectarine & Burrata Flatbread
- Coconut, Hibiscus & Blood Orange Blossom Slushies
- Pink Grapefruit, Cucumber & Rose Skin Quencher
…plus many, many more.
Last week, I spent the morning with Lily before her talk at Omnivore Books with Phyllis Grant. We made crostini with orange blossom honey yogurt, early season nectarines, and fresh peppermint, a twist on the orange blossom yogurt tarts in the book.
But JASMINE ICE CREAM. Alana summed it up when she described it as tasting like cold jasmine milk tea – my favorite order at boba shops. Honey adds just the right touch of sweetness and floral notes, and it helps keep the ice cream pliant when cold. Jasmine tea, which can sometimes taste overpowering on its own, is perfectly softened by rich dairy. Flecks of cacao nib add earthy crunch while letting the soft taste of the tea star. I’m usually not a fan of ice cream cones, which can end up tasting overly sweet when eaten with ice cream, but here a cone is the perfect addition to this barely sweet frozen custard. (I tried these gluten-free sugar cones and their caramelized vanilla flavor reminded me of toasted marshmallows – highly recommended.) Similarly a drizzle or dip of magic shell – just coconut oil, chocolate, and cocoa melted together – creates an addictively crunchy topping that melts on the tongue into a puddle of buttery chocolate heaven.
- 2½ cups (590 ml) heavy cream
- 1½ cups (350 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (120 ml) mild honey
- ¼ cup (15 g) loose leaf jasmine green tea
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (30 g) raw cacao nibs
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin coconut oil
- ¼ cup (22 g) cocoa powder (dutch or regular)
- ¼ cup (45 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard's 63% extra dark chips)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste (optional)
- ice cream cones, for serving
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk and honey. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot and steamy. Remove from the heat, add the tea, cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, pressing all the good stuff out of the tea. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in a few splashes of the hot dairy, whisking all the while, then whisk the egg mixture back into the hot dairy. Return to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a flexible silicone spatula, until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches 170ºF. Pour the custard into a large metal bowl and chill over an ice water bath until cold. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours until very cold.
- Churn the ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker, adding the cacao nibs during the last 5 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a large container or two and freeze until scoopable, at least 4 hours and up to several weeks.
- In a small metal bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the cocoa powder, then add the chocolate and vanilla, whisking until nearly melted. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.
- To serve, scoop ice cream into cones and drizzle with the magic shell; it will harden in a matter of seconds. Enjoy.