Violet Ice Cream

This story is part of our Best Pastry Chefs of 2013 feature.

On first glance, the dessert menu at The Spence is full of familiar items like pineapple upside-down cake and chocolate mousse. But in the hands of Andrea Litvin, even the most recognizable dishes become vehicles for surprise. In her world, pineapple is set off by a thick foie gras caramel, and chocolate mousse is augmented by tahini.

An Athens, Georgia, native, Litvin trained and cooked around Atlanta before decamping to New York to work on the opening pastry team at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen. But her return home has been particularly charmed: Litvin is bringing a new type of sweet tooth to the South.

This violet ice cream is a simple distillation of Litvin's propensity toward balancing sugar with notes from the savory world. But if violet isn't to your taste, take liberty with the custard base–our new go-to for ice cream–and add your own flavoring agents.

Recipe adapted from Andrea Litvin, The Spence, Atlanta, GA

Violet Ice Cream
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Violet Ice Cream from Andrea Litvin
Servings
1
quarts
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups whole milk
  • 2¼ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1½ tablespoons violet extract
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the milk, heavy cream, golden syrup and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. While whisking, very slowly pour in the cream mixture until combined (take care not to add the cream too quickly; otherwise, the egg yolks could curdle). Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly (make sure to get into the corners of the pan) until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon (when you drag your finger across the back of the spoon, it should leave a line that doesn't fill in), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the violet extract.
  3. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the custard through the strainer, using a rubber spatula to push the custard through. Place the bowl with the strained custard in the ice-water bath and stir occasionally until the custard is cooled. Cover the custard with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Pour the chilled violet custard into the chilled bowl of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn the custard into a soft-serve ice cream consistency. Turn off the ice cream maker and use a rubber spatula to transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Cover and freeze until the ice cream is firm, 2 to 3 hours, then serve.
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