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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.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 14-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 fresh vanilla bean
  • 3 green cardamom pods, bruised but not broken (optional)
  • A generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

METHOD

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 andfreeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's direction.

Makes about 1 quart.

Posted
Authortara
Categoriesdessert
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When Jennifer proposed the theme of this month's Sugar High my thoughts, as one who knows me at all would surely assume, turned to yearnings for chocolate.

But, though happy in those thoughts, I began to consider that which I most longed for as of late. Not a food or flavour specifically, but more of a mood or moment - I'd been pining for the arrival of summertime.

Sure, the mercury has been on the rise and the trees are well dressed in their abundant leaves, but somehow it still has not felt summer enough. It was not those broad shouldered, blue-eyed lazy days of August, where the sun smiles so brightly that the world seems lit from within.

So how could I evoke this feeling through food?

In southern Ontario, the warming months bring bustle back to farmers markets. Roadside fruit stands seem to multiply exponentially overnight. Punnets, pints and bushels make their way back into our weekend lexicon as the harvests roll in.

And the harvest inextricably tied to the season? Berries. Luscious and bursting with a sweetness born of sunshine, the ripening of Ontario strawberries coincides perfectly with the official start of summer.

Classic in every way, this strawberry swirl ice cream embodies nostalgic thoughts of childhood holidays. This is the taste of evenings on the swingset at my favourite ice cream stand; white stripes of cream coating our arms to our elbows as we sat, sucking the icy bits of strawberry until they turned supple and soft again.

Here, I wanted a taste that was purely luxurious berries and cream, and so chose to go with a dense, velvety rich vanilla custard base punctuated with tart strawberries. The psychedelic tie dye effect of broad ribbons of reddest red against the creamy whiteness was the look I had wanted, but feel free to blend the strawberries further for a more feminine hue.

Strawberry swirl ice cream
My interpretation of a variety of sources, with thanks.

Ingredients
2 cups half and half (10%) cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
A pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream (35%, whipping)
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 cups fresh strawberries
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Prepare an ice bath using a large bowl full of ice and water. Have another bowl, one that will fit inside the first without becoming fully submerged, set aside.

In a heavy-based saucepan pour in the half and half. Using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds out of the bean and into the saucepan, add the pod as well. Season with salt. Over medium heat, bring this mixture to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse into the liquid for 30 minutes.

Turn the burner back on and bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer over medium-low.

In a bowl that can withstand heat, whisk together the egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar until it becomes pale yellow and fluffy. Whisking constantly, pour a thin, steady stream of the half and half into the yolk mixture. Once combined, pour the mixture back into the same saucepan and return to the heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir the custard constantly until thickened and coats the back of the spoon, anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes.

Using a medium-fine mesh sieve, strain the custard into the clean bowl set aside earlier. Immediately place this bowl into the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the custard comes to room temperature. The vanilla bean can be taken at this point, rinsed and set aside to dry on a kitchen towel. Once dry, it can be used to make vanilla sugar.

Once the custard has cooled, stir in the the heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (I like a good couple of hours).

Meanwhile, mash the strawberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and lemon juice. Set aside at room temperature to macerate.

When the custard is chilled, follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn the ice cream. Once the ice cream is ready, remove the machine's dasher and gently fold in the strawberries and their juices. Do not overmix. Transfer to a food storage container then tightly seal and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Makes 1 quart.

Notes:

• Decadent as this version is, richer versions feature as many as 6 egg yolks for the same amount of liquid and a higher ratio of heavy cream to half and half (or milk). Choose the one that best suits your taste.
• If there seems to be too much accumulated strawberry juice, hold some back to maintain the texture of the ice cream - you do not want it to become waterlogged (well, juicelogged).
• For a pink version, rather than the marbled result here, strain the accumulated juices from the strawberries into the cooled custard before pouring into the machine. Add the strawberries through the feed tube during the last 5 minutes of churning.