Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bengal Spice Ice Cream

We Three Kings by Kurt Bestor
Kurt Bestor's arrangement of this wonderful Christmas classic has a very exotic and foreign feel to me.  I can picture the Magi as they cross the desert to bring gifts to the sweet baby King - the camels all plodding along to the beat of the music - slow yet grand.  Regal even.  What would I take to welcome the newborn child?  Spices - flavors that tantalize the tongue!  And I'd pack them all into some ice cream!  

The week before Thanksgiving I was spending 
some time with my daughter, Becca.
One day I heard her say that she wanted or was
going to make some ice cream using the Bengal Spice
herbal tea blend from Celestial Seasonings.
(It's one of our favorites this time of year.)

"What a great idea" I thought.
And then said it out loud.
I asked what her methodology would be.
She supposed that she would simply steep 
the tea bags in the warm cream for the ice cream custard base.

That's exactly how one would do that!

"I want to do that!  That sounds great!" I said.
Or something very similar to those words.
And then I brazenly asked if I could steal use
that idea for a post.
"As long as you give me credit for the idea!" she shot back.
Or something similar to that line of thought.
Here's your credit, Becca!
Good job!

I happened to get the opportunity
to give the idea a try before she did.
And I couldn't wait to text her and
let her know how absolutely wonderful it was!
I wanted to share it with EVERYONE!

I made one big mistake though ~
in my excitement to want to spread the JOY
I stole a few large spoonfuls
of the not-so-firm set ice cream
and placed them into a small bowl
and ran it into my husband in the other room
and demanded him to "taste this!"

You see, I forgot that these spices are not his
favorite flavor profile.
He does not particularly like pumpkin pie
or gingerbread or cinnamon - 
you know, all the spices associated with the holiday season!
He gave it a very polite "meh" rating.
I think the actual word was "ok."
Insert deflated ego here.

But wait!
Why should I be disappointed that he's not as big a fan?!
That means there'll be
more for me!!

If you love the spices of the season -
namely cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger -
and you love gingerbread or soft molasses cookies or 
the speculaas cookies -
then you will love this ice cream!
It's so unbelievably cozy!
And that's quite a feat for something so chilly
at a chilly time of year!

At first I thought I'd just go round up my own spices
and try to create my own blend.
But why would I do that when the good 
folks at Celestial Seasonings have already done it -
AND put them in tiny little handy bags for me?
They've done a good thing and I'm going to take
advantage of it!

I hope you will, too!
Because you'll really be missing out on something
if you don't try this!

Bengal Spice Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 qts
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
4 tea bags of Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea

Stir together the egg yolks and the sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream and bring just to a simmer.  Add the tea bags and remove from heat and let cool while the tea bags steep.
I actually got distracted with another project and didn't get back to my steeping bags for a couple hours.  No problem!  Maybe it made it better!  

When you're done steeping, remove the tea bags.  I gave mine a gentle squeeze to get as much of that spiced flavor as I could.  Don't be bothered if there's a film on the cream.  That all goes away with the churning of the ice cream maker.

Reheat the spiced cream mixture just to a simmer.  Now it's time to temper the eggs so they don't curdle and make little weird lumps.  You do this by slowly adding the hot liquid to the egg mixture in small amounts to warm them up to the idea of getting hot.  Gently stir about 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.  Continue to slowly stir small amounts of the heated cream into the egg and sugar mixture until you've added about 1 1/2 cups.  Then stir it all back into the pan of cream and reheat to a low boil, stirring constantly.  The mixture will become slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and chill.

When mixture is chilled, pour it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions to freeze it into a firm or soft set ice cream.

To serve, I sprinkled it with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg - just a half a pinch should do it!

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