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Week two of working through the spectrum. Time for an orange recipe! If you think that curry doesn’t belong anywhere near your dessert, than think again. For this recipe I made a curry blend that matches perfectly with rich, creamy coconut milk. And the orange in this recipe? Carrots! Cooked carrots are pureed adding color, flavor and thickening the ice cream base at the same time. The finished ice cream has a delicate flavor balance. I notice the curry spices, coconut and carrot at different points in time. The tart/sweet mango chutney is optional, but it provides a nice fruity tartness that works well in contrast with the creaminess of the ice cream. Oh, and it’s (accidentally) vegan! This almost never happens with pastries (I blame my French pastry training) so eat up, vegans. I realize that technically the lack of dairy makes this a sorbet not an ice cream, but the overall effect was so rich and creamy that the ice cream name seemed more appropriate. In New York, the summer heat just arrived, and I can foresee this ice cream making a recurring appearance throughout the summer.
I’ve wanted to figure out a good curried dessert dish for a while. I knew that sweet curry could be done well (I might be a little obsessed with Vosges’ Naga chocolate/curry bar), but I also knew it was tricky to get it just right. Turns out the trick to making a good sweet curry is the same as for making a good savory curry: mix your own curry powder. I made a curry blend that is particularly suited to sweet applications– heavy on the cardamom and skipping some of the funkier spices like asofoeteda altogether. And I discovered how much more I like fresh turmeric than dried! Usually I find dried turmeric to taste stale and flat– fresh turmeric has a brightness and subtlety to it. Look in well stocked groceries or at Asian and Indian markets for fresh turmeric. You can adjust the spiciness in the recipe to your taste by adding a little more or less curry powder. But remember that the spices in the finished ice cream will not taste quite as strong in the frozen ice cream as they do in the ice cream base.
Sweet Curry Powder:
½ t. cardamom seeds (if you have whole pods, crush them and remove the seeds)
¼ t. coriander seeds
¼ t. cumin
¼ t. red pepper flakes
⅛ t. fennel seeds
Ice Cream Base:
1 c. chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
1 c. water
1 T extra virgin coconut oil
1 can light coconut milk
⅓ c. sugar
1 t. grated fresh ginger or a heaping ¼ t. dried ginger
½ t. grated fresh turmeric or ¼ t. dried turmeric
1 t. sweet curry powder
Sweet/Sour Mango Chutney:
1 ripe mango
6-7 dried apricots
3 T finely chopped candied ginger
2 T white vinegar
1 T Sugar
A pinch of red pepper flakes
about 1pt. ice cream
ice cream machine
coffee or spice grinder
Skin carrots and chop into 3” sections. If the ends are more than an inch thick, halve them lengthwise. Place carrot chunks in a small saucepan along with water and coconut oil. Place pan over high heat until the carrots come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, simmer carrots uncovered until nearly all the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are very tender. Remove from heat.
Make Curry Powder:
Measure all the ingredients for your curry into a clean coffee grinder. Grind spices to a fine powder.
Place the coconut milk, sugar, ginger, turmeric, curry and carrots in a blender. Blend on high for a full minute, scraping down the blender as necessary until the puree is a completely smooth consistency. You can increase or decrease the amount of curry to suit your taste.
Chill ice cream base overnight in your refrigerator. Or if you are in a hurry, you can chill it in the freezer for an hour. Just make sure to stir it every half hour and stir in any frozen portions along the side of your container before churning.
Churn ice cream according to the instructions on your ice cream machine. Transfer to a clean, dry plastic container and place plastic wrap over the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for several hours until firm.
Skin and chop the mango. Chop the apricots and candied ginger. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan. Place pan over medium heat, stirring until the mangoes begin to release some of their juices. Cover and cook over low heat for 10- 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Adjust sugar/vinegar to your taste. Store chutney in the refrigerator for several weeks
The texture of the ice cream will be best when it has been in the freezer for just a few hours. If it is very hard, you might need to leave it out at room temperature for a minute or two before serving. Serve ice cream with chilled chutney. Ice cream keeps up to a week in the freezer– if you have lots of self control. Leftover curry powder will keep for up to a month. The ice cream doesn’t go bad in the freezer, the texture just becomes more icy and less smooth. If you want to make a big batch, you can make extra ice cream base, freeze it and churn the thawed base later.