Friday, September 19, 2008

Sage Ice Cream


End of summer always brings out the experimental ice cream maker in me. Although all the season’s bright flavors are each wonderful in their own way, I’m always game to try something out of the ordinary when the fresh fruit starts to fade.

Several years ago when we started seeing the application of traditionally savory components in pastry and desserts, there were those who just couldn’t get behind it. Thankfully, times have definitely changed and we now find so many of these desserts on menus all over the world that it’s hard to resist experimentation. And every now and then you find an unusual combination that just seems like a brilliant stroke of innovation. For me, herb ice creams qualify in this way and Sage Ice Cream is definitely one such treasure. You’ve likely heard of or tasted sage honey, so it’s not too far a stretch.

I’ve had this recipe clipped for a long time and just never got around to it. When I saw some really beautiful fresh sage at the market, the memory of wanting to try this ice cream recipe came back to me like a bolt. So here we are.

This is a rich, lovely dessert with a beautiful pastel color. It’s a bit difficult to describe, much as a lot of novel ice cream flavors are. You just have to try it. It’s not too sweet and the herbal note grabs you right away and lingers on your palate as you soon realize how gorgeous the purity of sage really is. I thought long and hard about what I would pair it with, but came up short. I think it really does stand on its own. It’s a terrific and true indulgence.



Bench notes:

- As you’re cooking the base, taste it for the depth of sage flavor and make it strong. Although its appearance and fragrance might strike you as strange at first, once it gets churned, it becomes this amazing experience of soft, pure flavor.
- Never walk away from cream that is heating on the stove. As it reaches the boiling point, it will bubble up and over and make a huge mess.



Sage Ice Cream

adapted from Gourmet, October 2001
Makes 1 quart

2 C heavy cream
2 C half-and-half
1/3 C coarsely chopped fresh sage
4 2" x 1/2" strips lemon zest
9 egg yolks
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 t salt

Slowly and gently heat cream, half-and-half, sage, lemon zest and salt to a full simmer over moderate heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep for about an hour, tasting for strength along the way. When the flavor is good and strong, strain into another clean saucepan and warm it up a bit.

Whisk together yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in some of the warm cream mixture to temper, then whisk egg mixture into remaining cream in saucepan. Cook custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it coats back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Be very careful not to not let the mixture heat too quickly or boil.

Strain the mixture into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally until it cools down completely. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream maker. Pour into an airtight container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and place in your freezer to firm up.

20 comments:

Aran said...

beautiful gayle... i love herb infused ice creams. i have made tarragon, lemon verbena, basil, rosemary and thyme, mint... endless possibilities!

Anita said...

So simple and pretty - infusing ice cream is one of my favorite things to do in the pastry kitchen! last summer I did a lemon verbena ice cream and it's still one of my favorites!

Michael Donovan said...

I've made this before, and while it's quite good, using 9 egg yolks is really ridiculous. 4 or 5 is plenty.

There's a wonderful recipe for thyme honey ice cream, on epicurious.com that only uses 2 eggs. And it's simple to use different herbs in that preparation, too - sage, lemon verbena, even rosemary.

Adeline Jessica said...

Oh wow I bet this has a really complex flavor. What about the Republic of Tea flavor "Blackberry Sage"? Would that work in an ice cream? I bet it would be delicious!

Jaime said...

This looks so lovely. So perfect. Great photography.

pastry studio said...

Thanks for your lovely comments.

Adeline, teas make great infusions for ice cream. Just use a good amount and taste for strength, making sure the flavor shines through.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, sounds yummy! We brought home pineapple sage from the plant nursery this year. It's grown into a shrub. Bet that would make lovely ice cream, too.

cookworm said...

Very interesting idea. I'll have to try this sometime. I bet it would be lovely with berries.

barbara said...

wow.. pretty idea! Thanks!

Heather said...

wow! this sounds really interesting! i love the color!

Eileen said...

This sounds really interesting and the photos are beautiful!

Y said...

I haven't used sage in sweets yet, so you've definitely provided food for thought there.

Ps: Is that last bench note something you've written from experience? ;)

Jay said...

lol what about the 500 pounds of sugary and chocolate?!
:)

Sonoma Productions
http://www.youtube.com/greekcandyman

Genevieve said...

A unique creation, gorgeous photos, love it!

china daily said...

thinks for share.

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Jesse said...

Oh wow - sage in ice cream is something I never would have creamed up. It sounds amazing. I love the idea of adding a fruit to it as well... or maybe just fruit on the top!

Lincoln said...

Anyone ever tried to make a pumpkin and sage ice cream? Pumpkin and sage go so well together in savory applications that I was thinking they might make an interesting ice cream flavor...

Ryan said...

hi there, just saw this...i'm actually making sage ice cream for my friend's pumpkin-fest today. i used a really different recipe and thought it turned out great...i blanched my sage (whole) for 15 seconds in saltwater, then shocked it in icewater. then, i blended it with 2 cups cream, and strained the mix into the saucepan with 1 cup of milk and 1/3 cup sugar. heated that, then added 2 egg yolks + 1 egg + 1/3 cup more sugar (tempered before adding), and used that as the custard base. added about 2 tsp rosewater at the very end before refrigerating and churning. blanching helps purify the sage flavor, and the low egg count helps prevent the filmy texture of richer ice creams...won't scoop as nicely as yours though!

dinnerware said...

Looks yummy! I'd love some!

Anonymous said...

yum! I love sage ice cream and now i can make it at home with this recipe and my new ice cream maker. Try it with a piece of flourless chocolate cake. Obscenely good.