A week ago, thanks to one incredible hostess, I had the most extraordinary day in San Francisco that included biking around Golden Gate Park, banh mi, Burmese tea leaf salad, and a viewing of Magic Mike (a riveting tale of socio-economic struggles and the pursuit of the American Dream). And then, just when I thought things couldn't get any better, we paused the movie halfway through to dish out a midnight snack of Tara's Organic White Pepper Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
My tastebuds did a dance something akin to:
Anabel, I finally understand what you have been saying all along.
Upon returning home, I decided that 1) the post vacation blues might be mitigated by more white pepper ice cream and 2) this would be a fitting farewell to summer cooking project. I don't own an ice cream maker and my past attempts to make ice cream sans machine have proved stingingly disappointing. Luckily, here in Portland there exists an enchanted place called the Kitchen Share, where one can check out appliances for a week's time. And as chance would have it, my neighborhood branch had one ice cream maker in stock when I popped in this past weekend.
Do I really need white pepper when I've got a healthy supply of black pepper in my cupboard?, you might ask. Though I'm pretty positive black pepper ice cream would be delicious in it's own right, I was persuaded to make a special trip to the grocery store upon learning via Google that while both white and black pepper corns are the fruit of the pepper plant, white pepper has the outer shell removed, which results in a hotter taste and distinct flavor profile. Basically, white pepper brings that bold (XXL!) heat and flavor! Also of note, white pepper becomes bitter more quickly than black pepper so you want to go with pepper corns vs. ground pepper when using the white variety.
As Cibo Matto explain, white pepper ice cream is a thing of intrigue and inspiration. Is it sweet or spicy? (I'd say both!) And yes, it does kind of sting your lips, but in a most invigorating way! For this version, I opted for the vegan route, using coconut milk and corn starch in place of milk and eggs. Since rosemary is commonly paired with pepper in savory dishes, it seemed a fitting complentary flavor and indeed, it made for a dazzling dessert.
Off to make those white pepper shortbread cookies and sprinkle the fair pepper everywhere!
Magic White Pepper Rosemary Ice Cream
2 cans coconut milk (full fat)
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp white pepper corns (crushed)
1 Tblsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tblsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
First, grind the white pepper corns (I used a mortar and pestle, though you could also use a coffee grinder!). Set 1/2 C of coconut milk in a bowl to the side, add the corn starch, and whisk together. Place the remaining milk in a sauce pan on medium-low heat and add sugar, vanilla, rosemary, and white pepper. After the sugar has dissolved and the milk has warmed, add the coconut milk + corn starch solution to the sauce pan, stirring continuously for approximately 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a jar and cool in fridge for at least an hour (or overnight, if possible). Add the mixture to your ice cream maker according to your machine's directions. Store in freezer for approximately one hour before serving.