The smell of fresh turmeric root is green and sappy, like the smell of a snapping elder branch when clambering through undergrowth (you'll know this if, like me, you ever do climb through undergrowth), together with a wide fragrance of warm spice and a sense that your mother has just polished the wooden table with beeswax.
I'm not sure when I first came across the fine knuckle-bent fingers of fresh turmeric, but I remember soon afterwards mixing shavings of the strongly orange flesh with ginger in hot water to make a get-better tea. Amongst rumours of cold-relief there are many health claims made for turmeric (anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities) but really its taste is the thing. It's magical used instead of the dry ground stuff in curries, but I was really intrigued to see if it could work with sweet flavours. Anna Jones suggests it with cinnamon, cardamon, honey and milk as a bedtime drink, but I thought I would try it in ice cream.
For this ice cream I combined the turmeric with a few tablespoons of an aged and granulated crab apple and bay jelly I had on the shelf, but you could use honey or even redcurrant jelly. Try for the tangiest sweet jelly you can find and add some extra orange zest to the mixture to boost the acidity.
The result here is an exotic, floral, tangy ice cream of some vigour. Serving with shredded mint and orange zest on top adds a lovely additional freshness.
Turmeric, Crab Apple & Bay Ice Cream
200ml double cream
200ml crème fraiche
50ml full fat milk
2 egg yolks
65g golden caster sugar
2 fingers of fresh turmeric, very finely grated
3-4 tbsp of crab apple and bay jelly (or redcurrant jelly or honey, plus orange zest)
shredded mint and/or orange zest for the top
Whisk the milk, creams, egg yolks and caster sugar together and warm in a pan, heating gently and stirring constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture starting to thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
While it is cooling, stir in the grated turmeric and the jelly until thoroughly incorporated. It will turn pleasingly from pale pink to russet as you mix.
When cool churn in an ice cream maker until thick, following to manufacturers instructions. Scoop out into a plastic snap top container and freeze. This is a soft ice cream, which will scoop directly from the freezer.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can still make by hand. Put the cool finished mixture in the freezer in a plastic box. Every 2-3 hours, give it a good stir and put it back, continuing until it is softly set. At this point take it out again and beat it well with an electric whisk, returning it to the freezer until completely frozen.
All ice creams are best eaten within three weeks from the freezer. Sprinkle a little shredded mint or orange zest on the top before serving.
Enjoy, and please do comment below xx