Saturday, June 23, 2007

Licorice Ice Cream

Adapted from A Sweet Quartet by Fran Gage

The "sweet quartet" being sugar, almonds, eggs, and butter.

Makes 1 quart

This is my first post using my brand new MacBook. I'm very excited to have it; at the same time, as user-friendly as it is, I am slowly wending my way around MacWorld and trying to learn how to use it effectively. So far I have lost my Blogger menu bar and can't link or change font sizes, and the spellcheck isn't working right either. But I will master it at some point and hope to have fun doing so. Chris, if you have any suggestions, let me know. I know O isn't reading my blog while she's in London.

In case you don't know, I'm kind of a licorice junkie. By licorice, of course, I mean the black stuff. The red stuff isn't really licorice, is it? I don't know how many people reading this also love licorice. I know Mandi does. I think Marsha does. I know Dorie Greenspan does. But Dorie Greenspan isn't exactly reading my blog. I have posed the theory that love (or even like) of licorice is on a gene because there seem to be whole countries made up of people who eat licorice - for instance Holland and Australia. But no one seems particularly interested in this theory. (I have the same theory about cilantro, because to some people it tastes delicious - I'm in that group - and to some people it tastes like soap - Walter is in that group. But that's a whole different topic.)

I'm thinking that I would like to come up with a variation of creme brulee that is licorice - or at least anise - flavored, so I'm pondering how to do this. Maybe using an anise-flavored liqueur like Sambuca or infusing it with star-anise, a la Jean-Georges. I'm also pondering who will eat it with me, but, I'll worry about that later.

This ice cream is lovely and delicate tasting with a delightful soft buff color. It reminds me of the licorice ice cream I had sent to my room at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris when Marsha, Jane, and I stayed there in 2006. The taste is so elusive, I'm not sure you would even recognize it as being licorice. But you might not be able to trust me about this.

Instead of following the instructions given below, you can adapt the no-fail Miracle Ice Cream Technique from Stephanie at La Cuisine with confidence.

1½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
2 licorice-root tea bags (I use Yogi Tea)
⅔ cup (4½ ounces) granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1½ cups (12 ounces) heavy whipping cream

Put the milk and tea bags in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and steep for 15 minutes. Press down on the tea bags, then remove them from the pan. Bring the infused milk back to a boil.

While the milk is reheating, whisk the sugar with the egg yolks in a bowl. In a steady stream and constantly whisking so you don't scramble the yolks, pour the hot milk into the yolks. Return this custard to the saucepan, and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens, and coats the spoon. You know you are at the right point, if you remove the spoon from the pan, and when you run a finger over the spoon, the custard stays separate (meaning the line you make with your finger remains). It will register 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Do not let the custard boil.

Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, and stir in the cream. Put this bowl into an ice bath - either a larger bowl filled with ice or a sink filled with ice. When the custard is cool, remove the bowl from the ice, and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the custard for a minimum of 5 hours or overnight.

At this point, when the custard is cold, follow the directions that came with your ice cream maker to turn it into ice cream.


  1. lI like your idea that there's a 'licorice 'gene.' I've thought that perhaps it is more health-related; that people from certain countries are prone to physical conditions that licorice root heals. Maybe stomach ailments, or throat, etc. I do think that my craving for licorice has got to be rooted in something other than just the taste! (I'm of Dutch heritage). Did you know that Dairy Queen used to make a licorice shake? Oh my god, it was fantastic :)

  2. I did not know that about Dairy Queen, but I sure wish I had known. Molly posted a recipe for Fennel Ice Cream on Orangette on June 14, 2010; you might want to check it out. It sounds delicious.

  3. I know I'm about a year late here but I've been searching for a licorice ice cream recipe and may have found it! Did you end up adding any Sambucca?

  4. Victoria, I also endorse your idea of some kind of "licorice gene"! I have loved licorice ice cream as long as I can remember (Farr's brand in Salt Lake City Utah is amazing!!!!)!! I have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance and can no longer eat the real stuff, but the licorice ice cream craving goes on. Thanks for posting what sounds like a delightful recipe! Can't wait to try it!

  5. Hi, Cindi,

    Thanks for the note. You might want to check out this recipe for fennel ice cream on Pastry Studio. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds delicious.


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