Our single-origin yellow cardamom is the perfect muse for ice cream because the pods have been allowed to fully ripen, imparting a sweet flavor with notes of grass. Yellow cardamom has less of the menthol tones present in its green counterpart.
Top the ice cream with candied fennel seeds for an easy crowd pleaser. You can also just buy candied fennel seeds at an Indian grocery store, but they are a breeze to make.
We served this up at a backyard BBQ and it was a hit with grown-ups and kids alike. Leftover candied fennel seeds are delicious sprinkled on salads, oatmeal or yogurt. That's only if you don't furtively pop handfuls of the seeds in your mouth while passing through the kitchen like I did.
Recipes adapted from Food52
Candied Fennel Seeds
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
First, the ice cream. Combine the milk, cardamom pods, and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Heat over medium until the milk begins to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture reduces by one-third, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Chill for about 2 hours in the fridge.
Once cool, strain the mixture. Return liquid to saucepan, and bring to a boil. While the liquid heats up, make an ice bath in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add a ladleful of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and whisk until combined. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a medium bowl and place in the ice bath to cool, stirring occasionally. When cool, add cream and stir to blend. Chill the batter in the fridge until it's completely cold.
Make the fennel seeds. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the mixture forms bubbles and turns to syrup, 2-3 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and add the fennel seeds. Stir constantly until the sugar crystallizes. You'll know this is happening because the seeds will look dry. Remove from heat and stir a bit more. Store in a glass jar or airtight container until ready to use.
Once the ice cream batter is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions. Top each serving with candied fennel seeds.