Smooth Move (Recipe: Toasted Almond Ice Cream)

When we moved into our home nine years ago we joked that we needed a giant painting of an almond to represent our kitchen. The walls, appliances, floor, countertops, backsplash, and even the 80s reno of the 50s kitchen cabinets were all almond coloured. It was like cooking inside an almond. In nine years the only things that have changed are the appliances and the wall colour. Frankly, it still feels like we live in a almond.

Good thing I like nuts.

I promised to post this recipe after tweeting about it a few weeks back. I like my almond milk, often making it from scratch. I like it warm with a bit of honey in it before bed. I use it to make hot cocoa so that I feel like I'm having something slightly healthier. It is great for dunking with fresh chocolate chip cookies. In fact, it is this last combo that inspired this almond ice cream.

I played around and got a flavour for the almond ice cream which is tasty, smooth, and not saccharine. It is rich and full of almond flavour, not unlike my kitchen. We ate it straight, right off the spoon fresh out of the ice cream maker. I sandwiched it between the best chocolate chip cookies ever and shared it with our neighbours as a birthday treat. I even had a smidge of it next to the last slice of peach pie one morning. I also think it would make a great sundae with some in season peaches or cherries cooked a little bit for a sauce.

Of course, it would be nice of me to share a photo of said ice cream. And I would have. But Hubby was moving the deep freeze and we lost the ice cream. And the leftover ice cream sandwiches (And a tray of Saskatoon berries. Sigh). Alas, no pictures. Just those almonds.

Almond Ice Cream
Makes 4 cups

1 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tonka Bean* (optional)
1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 egg yolks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Once to temperature toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 6 minutes. They should take on colour, but not get too brown.

While the almonds are toasting (but still keep an eye on them) combine the rest of the ingredients, save the egg yolks in a medium pot. When the almonds are toasted add them to the cream/milk mixture. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Strain out the almonds. (You can chop the almonds and add them back in to the ice cream once it is churned if you like.)

Whisk together the 4 egg yolks in a bowl. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the warm cream/milk mixture and whisk. This tempers the eggs. Pour all of this back in the pot with the remaining cream/milk. Cook the custard over medium heat, watching constantly and stirring frequently until the custard is thick and cooked. It should coat the back of a spoon when dipped into the custard. Strain again through a fine sieve. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and chill for 2-4 hours or overnight.

Churn in your ice cream maker, according to manufacturers' instructions.

*Tonka Bean is a hard pod that, when grated, adds a vanilla/almond like flavour to the dish at hand. Here, it accentuates the almond in the ice cream.