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fennel ice cream

In Southern Australia it really doesn’t seem much like ice cream weather, but we’ve had a few warmer days, and I think we are all really looking forward to the summer weather that seems like it must be just around the corner…so this is both an optimistic recipe, and also still a seasonal one as it uses fennel stalks and fronds…

fennel bulbs

Fennel in supermarkets is usually trimmed heavily, but if you buy from the markets it will hopefully look like the picture above, meaning that if you make something delicious with the fennel bulb such as this Winter Salad, you’ll be left with lots of fronds and stalks that you won’t want to waste, so you could almost see making this ice cream as particularly frugal eating, and a bit of a variation from eating Compost Pesto 😉

infuse cream with fennel

This recipe is made as a basic custard ice cream, but with the cream and milk infused with both the fennel trimmings and some toasted fennel seeds.  It gives a wonderfully subtle aniseed flavour with a slightly vegetal undertone which I really love.  I served it with sliced strawberries, which I find go really well with aniseed flavours; and with brown sugar pecan meringues, as the toasted nuts also really complement the fennel – walnuts would probably be even better.

Some of you may have noticed the Instagram images recently appearing in the sidebar.  This is a new and fun distraction (you should have all told me how fun earlier!) but it does mean that I sometimes feel like I’ve done a whole post on a dish when all I’ve done is post a photo, so feel free to give me a nudge if you’d like any of those photos converted into actual recipes!  By the way my Instagram name is the same – @insearchofgoldenpudding – if you’d like to say hi…

Fennel ice cream

adapted from a recipe in the Three Blue Ducks cookbook

  • leaves and stalks from 1 or 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 Tbs fennel seeds
  • 475 ml cream
  • 475 ml full cream milk
  • 60 ml glucose syrup
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Galliano or similar liqueur (optional)

Rinse and trim the fennel leaves and stalks – removing any withered stems or leaves – and chop roughly.  Heat the fennel seeds in a small pan until lightly toasted.  Combine fennel, seeds, cream, milk and glucose syrup in a medium saucepan until just coming to the boil.  Turn off heat, and leave for an hour to infuse.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until smooth and slightly paler.  Put a large sieve over the bowl.  Reheat milk mixture until barely simmering, then gradually strain into the egg yolks and sugar – adding a small amount then whisking, some more then whisking etc so you don’t suddenly cook the egg yolks.  Rinse out the saucepan and return the strained egg and milk mixture.  Heat gently, stirring often with a silicon spatula, until thickened enough that it clings to the spatula.  Pour into a large jug and chill in the fridge until completely cold.

Churn the chilled custard in an ice cream maker, adding the Galliano if you like some extra aniseed flavour.  When churned but still soft, scrape into a freezer safe container and freeze until completely firm.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can freeze the ice cream in a container, beating after every 30 min or so, with the aim being to break down large ice crystals, as small even crystals is what makes it ice cream rather than granita for example.

Makes about 1.25L