I am compelled to begin with a disclaimer on this one.
In full respect to the efforts of the family, friends and educators of my youth, I was a bright enough child; even if the story that follows might lead you to believe otherwise.
When I was less than a teen but over the age of 10, I came upon a curious round object in the storage room of my parents' house. It was about the size of a side plate, with an inscription on its face that was impressive and important in a bold, Old English-style script.
"This is a Round Tuit. Guard it with your life as tuits are hard to come by, especially the round ones. It will help you become a more efficient worker. For years you've heard people say 'I'll get that done, as soon as I get a Round Tuit.'"
Ha, ha. Funny stuff, we all get the joke. Except that I didn't.
Lost in the fanciful curls and swirls of the decorative font, I skimmed over the word "tuit" as "trivet". (This was also an impatient age for me, and I was often scolded for reading quickly rather than attentively.) From then on, I believed from that trivets must be Highly Useful Things. I was puzzled when the precious treasures were tossed carelessly onto counters and shoved into drawers with abandon, or squashed beneath hot pots at the dinner table.
Surely the adults knew that round trivets were a rarity.
Of course at some point I realized my mistake and I continued on with growing up. But what I didn't forget, was the importance of getting a round to it, every once in a while.
This is one of those times.
I adore condensed milk. I love it in baking, or spooned into dark, rich coffee or heavily-spiced tea. I have an unhealthy attachment to the little row of cans that are stashed in my pantry - and oh, don't forget, it can be used to make Dulce de Leche.
And, I must confess, I have been churning Condensed Milk Ice Cream for months, but have kept curiously quiet on the subject. That ends now.
This is shout-it-from-the-rooftops-worthy stuff. It is a churned adaptation of kulfi, the Indian frozen dessert made with condensed milks. Kulfi is densely textured and has a substantial weight on the spoon, but this my friends, this is unimaginably supple, with a deep, rounded creaminess. I imagine that if velvet could be made into ice cream, this is what it would be.
We had this ice cream alongside berries through the summer, and ate it sandwiched between these cookies in immoderate scoops. It's the one I'm keeping on hand to top pies and crisps and crumbles through fall and, in winter I'll skip the cardamom and there will be a shot of espresso involved. Maybe two. In spring rhubarb compote will be just the thing.
Without question, it's worth its weight in tuits. Or trivets.
Condensed Milk Ice Cream
Since condensed milk brands will differ in terms of thickness and sweetness, there is a range for the whipping cream. If yours is on the thinner side, you will want the lower quantity of cream, if thicker, the greater. Without a custard base, the method is blessedly fret-free. In fact, if one was careful, I think you could prepare the base of milks and cream in (gasp!) a microwave.
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk
1 fresh vanilla bean
3 green cardamom cloves, bruised but not broken (optional)
A generous pinch of kosher salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
In a medium saucepan, combine the condensed milk and evaporated milk. Spilt the vanilla bean down its length, scraping out the seeds. Add both the seeds and the bean to the saucepan, along with the cardamom pods and salt. Heat over medium-low heat until just under a simmer, stirring often.
Pour the mixture, along with the vanilla and cardamom, into a clean bowl or pitcher. Stir in 1 cup of the heavy cream and taste. It should be very sweet, but not tooth aching. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup more cream. Chill the mixture well, then strain and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's direction.
Makes about 1 quart.