Vanilla Black Pepper Ice Cream


Since i was a child, i've made ice cream using a simple recipe: one can of evaporated milk, a cup of cream, a can of condensed milk and a bit of vanilla. Beat and fold and freeze, and there you have it: one of the most delectable ice creams you can imagine. No egg custard, no double boilers, no precise temperatures. Just an easygoing recipe for a lazy summer day.

When a new mall opened in our city a few years ago, it came with a gelato shop where you could find every imaginable flavour. One of these were the Crazy Cow. They say you shouldn’t ask a question if you don’t know the answer. So with a small bit of trepidation i gingerly enquireded what on earth a Crazy Cow tasted like. They replied: “Condensed milk.” If that doesn’t seal the deal for you, you can’t lay any claim to being a sweet tooth. Having firmly established my status in that club, however, it was the only logical choice for me. It tasted exactly like my home-made mixture and became my go-to flavour on many subsequent visits to this shop.

When That-Man was about to turn 40, we decided to throw a big party and made about 8 batches of the vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately, a lack of forethought resulted in me starting with the first batch at 6pm one evening. The last batch was mixed and into the freezer by 8pm, and then i had to babysit it all through the night, stirring every 2 hours to prevent crystals from forming in the ice cream. So the first lesson in making ice cream (if you don’t have a machine) is simply this: START IN THE MORNING!

Then in 2016, we were part of a group of friends who participated in our own little Come Dine With Me competition. We drew straws to determine in which order we’d go, and it turned out that i would be last. Even before we did that, my menu was planned in detail, but about a month before my big night i got bored thinking (for the 1,000th time) about how perfect my table would be. So i threw out the baby, the bath water and the basin and started planning from scratch. Starter - Tick! Mains - Tick! Dessert – We-e-e-elllll?

i scoured my Pinterest cooking board for something interesting. i dug through a mountain of paper-based recipes. My brain physically hurt from the effort of deciding on a show-stopping dessert. Then one night, passing by the television, Hilda from 7de Laan (a proudly South African soap opera) said something about a vanilla and black pepper ice cream. My ears perked up and my interest was piqued, because i had seen a few recipes exactly like that on Pinterest that day. So i found a recipe online, but instead of going the proper custard-based route, i decided that my plain ice cream would be the base.

Even though pepper ice cream would be a surprise to the guests, it wasn’t a complete dessert in my eyes. So i thought about adding a dark chocolate ice cream like the one we had in Rome. Another search on Pinterest supplied me with some ideas, and some chocolate bark completed the ensemble.

So here is my take on the Vanilla and Black Pepper Ice Cream.

Infuse the cream with black pepper (do this the night before):

• Pour 1 cup of cream into a small saucepan.

• Add 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper to the cream.

• Heat the cream over medium heat while stirring continuously.

• Remove from the heat just before it starts to boil.

• Strain the cream to get rid of the pepper and leave the cream to cool. A skin will form on the surface. That’s good. Leave it.

• Once the cream has cooled a bit, cover it by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill overnight in the fridge.

• Also chill one can of evaporated milk overnight in the fridge.

• Go to bed and dream some condensed-milk-sweet dreams.

Tomorrow morning you can start with the ice cream:

• Beat the evaporated milk until light and fluffy.

• Beat the cream until thick.

• Add the cream, one can of condensed milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the evaporated milk and mix well together.

• Pour the mixture into a container with an airtight lid and freeze.

• After 2 hours, stir the mixture to prevent ice crystals from forming and then return it to the freezer.

• Repeat this every 2 hours until the ice cream is almost frozen through.

As soon as it’s completely frozen, it’s ready to eat. As Julia Childs would say: “Bon Appétit!”

We are not sure how long this ice cream will last in the fridge, as sweet things are savoured on sight in our house. i guess a good indication would be the expiration on the cream container.

This recipe makes a little less than 1 litre of ice cream, so feel free to decide how many portions that would be.

Honestly, we realise that this is an extremely unusual idea for ice cream, but it might just be the kind of flavour that grabs your tastebuds. We hope you’ll enjoy this extraordinary delicacy - based on an ordinary recipe - with us.

Other posts you may like:

Our 3 Favourite Ice Creams

Come Dine With Us - Bread

Mumbai - A Tale Of Two Restaurants

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