I have been in a fresh herb kick lately. I think I have neglected them for a very long time and I don’t know why. I love them just as much as I love fresh flowers. I respect them for their medicinal benefits and for what they add to food. I feel I have been redeeming myself and all I can think about are fresh herbs.
The first time I ever tried this ice cream was at a class I took with Sebastien Cannone from the French Pastry School and I will never forget it. Yes, it is delicious and perfectly balanced, but that is not the reason why. You see, I was assisting him in his class and I was asked to just get the mise en place ready for him. I had just started culinary school and I was very intimidated around all these professional chefs.
When I set myself out to scale the tarragon ice cream recipe, I think I forgot to zero out the scale at one point and I completely mis-scaled the entire recipe. Can you imagine how embarassed I was when he was cooking it and noticed the proportions were off? I thought that was the end of my professional career as a pastry chef. I thought, “what a disgrace, I can’t even scale a simple recipe!” Well, he was a complete gentleman and didn’t even say anything, just asked me to rescale it in a very polite matter. So I did. It worked and it was as perfect as I imagined it to be.
For those of you who have never tasted tarragon, I would say it is the licorice of the herb family. It reminds me a lot of licorice root or fennel. Very sweet and mild. I roasted the plums with a little bit of sugar (not much because they were very sweet naturally), vanilla bean, pink peppercorns and star anise which is also very licorice-y.
Sebastien’s recipe has very specific guidelines on when to add ingredients, at what temperature, how to mix them… I didn’t follow them as precisely but it turned out well, although not as smooth as when churned in a commercial ice cream machine. So the recipe below is not as accurate as his but it worked for me. Also, if you do not have access to some of these ingredients, you can make similar ice cream if you follow the recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago for mint chocolate chip. Just use tarragon instead.
Tarragon Ice Cream
adapted from Sebastien Cannone’s recipe
490 grams whole milk
30 grams non fat dry milk powder
115 grams sugar
40 grams glucose powder
4 grams ice cream stabilizer
80 grams butter
5 grams fresh tarragon
60 grams egg yolks
Place the whole milk, tarragon, butter and milk powder in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil. In the meantime, whisk the sugar, glucose powder and ice cream stabilizer in a bowl. When the milk comes to a boil, add the sugar mixture and whisk. Return to a boil.
Temper the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Return this custard to the pan and cook while constantly stirring to 84C. Strain into a clean bowl through a fine sieve and cool completely over an ice bath.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours so the ice cream matures properly. Churn in ice cream machine and freeze.
This recipe will be my entry for Mike’s Table’s “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. Remember you have until July 7th!