This orange cardamom ice cream has the perfect combination of bright, sweet orange zest with the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate — it tastes exactly how the end of summer and beginning of fall feels.
UPDATE 7/2021 — I've given this orange cardamom ice cream recipe a post-pastry school update, simplifying the instructions and adding more information and tips on making ice cream. I also removed the hot fudge swirl because when I went back to test the recipe again I found it worked better to just pour the hot fudge on top if you wanted it, rather than swirling it in. The instructions for creating a hot fudge swirl are still included below as "optional" if you're interested!
If the title of this post alone, with its mentions of orange and cardamom and chocolate chips wasn't enough to convince you to make this ice cream... Well. Alright, let me do the song and dance to explain where my inspiration for this glorious orange cardamom ice cream flavor came from.
Once upon a time, Edy's (Dryer's if you're on the west coast) made a flavor called "Swiss Orange Sherbet." It was this creamy orange ice cream (Sherbet) studded with big, thick dark chocolate chunks.
Every day, when I got home from school, I'd scoop a large spoonful of Swiss Orange into a tall glass, pour orange juice over it, and drizzle in a stream of Hershey's chocolate syrup. As the ice cream melted, the chocolate would collect at the bottom, and I'd use a long spoon to scrape it out every last chocolate-y, orange-y drop I could.
Unfortunately, Edy's discontinued the flavor many years ago and, despite the internet's best efforts, it remains off the shelves to this day.
My secondary inspiration for this orange cardamom ice cream was my favorite cardamom gelato from Pitango in Baltimore. I'm obsessed with cardamom at the moment (it also makes an appearance in my Pear & Gruyere Tart) — it has such a distinct, complex flavor that is equally complicated to describe. (It's nutty and sweet and herbal and citrusy all at the same time???)
For this recipe, we're going to infuse our creme anglaise ice cream base with cardamom and orange zest, then finish it off by mixing in 1 oz chopped dark chocolate after churning.
Scalding and tempering your ice cream base - NEW!
Back when I first started developing ice cream recipes, I used the sweet cream ice cream base recipe from this Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book. But here's the thing... the Ben & Jerry's book was published in 1987 and hasn't been updated since! And some things about how we use raw eggs have changed since then.
None of the recipes in Ben & Jerry's book involve tempering the ice cream base (which is a pretty standard creme anglaise) to cook the eggs to a safe to eat temperature. That doesn't mean they're bad recipes — the ingredient quantities and ratios are spot on! But without tempering those unpasteurized eggs can be risky.
So I've updated the instructions for this orange cardamom ice cream to follow traditional creme anglaise procedure to temper the eggs and heavy cream together.
It's a simple update, really just adding one step, so don't feel overwhelmed by that.
Basically, you'll be heating the heavy cream and milk to just below boiling (a step known as "scalding") and then will slowly drizzle it into the eggs and sugar while whisking (a step known as "tempering").
Tempering helps gradually bring up the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them.
This step doesn't just make the ice cream base safe to eat either. Heating the eggs helps the proteins in the egg whites coagulate and thicken, giving you a creamier, smoother ice cream!
The 6 steps of creme anglaise:
- Scald - Heating heavy cream and milk to just below boiling. This is where we infuse flavor, in this case orange and cardamom. DO NOT BOIL.
- Ribbon - Whisking the eggs and sugar together until light and sightly fluffy. When you lift your whisk from the bowl, a "ribbon" should trail from the end.
- Temper - Slowly combining the heavy cream and egg mixture to raise the temperature of the eggs without scrambling.
- Cook - Return the cream and egg mixture to the stove over low heat, stirring just until it thickens and coats the bag of a spoon. DO NOT BOIL!
- Strain - Remove any lumps.
- Chill - Let the ice cream base mature, thicken, and intensify the flavors.
Freeze your chocolate shards before mixing them in
When adding mix-ins, you want to freeze them for at least 20 minutes before adding them. I usually stick them in the freezer as soon as I finish making my ice cream base so they're as cold as possible by the time I add them.
If you add the chocolate chips without freezing first, they'll melt the ice cream they touch and will slowly sink to the bottom.
You also want to make sure the churned ice cream has set enough to support them. The chocolate shavings this recipe calls for are thin and light enough that as long as you freeze them, you should be fine.
If your ice cream is still fairly soft at the end of churning, you can let it chill in the fridge for an hour before stirring the chocolate chips in.
When I re-tested this recipe, I used my friend Emily's fancy Breville Smart Scoop ice cream maker which churns a very firm ice cream. So I added the frozen chocolate chips in the final stage of churning.
Chopped chocolate vs. chocolate chips
I know it's tempting to just buy a bag of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, but there's a reason most ice creams use chocolate shavings (literal chips of chocolate) instead. Because chopped chocolate shavings are so thin, they're less likely to become brittle and hard to bite into when they freeze.
"...The very thing that makes [chocolate] chips so good in cookies makes them a bad choice for ice cream: They contain stabilizers to help them keep their shape while melting, which means they make frozen chips as stubborn to melt as plain 'ol frozen chocolate, just with a waxiness replacing chocolate's typical grit."— Epicurious: The Subtle Secrets to Making the Best Ice Cream Mix-Ins
How to serve orange cardamom ice cream
Orange cardamom ice cream goes really well with all things chocolate. Here's some suggestions for how to serve your homemade orange cardamom ice cream:
- In a tall sundae glass with a generous dollop of hot fudge.
- Try serving scoops of this orange cardamom ice cream in a glass of orange juice for a fruity twist on a float
- Bellini style, with orange juice and Prosecco in a tall champagne flute (and maybe even a drizzle of chocolate sauce)
- With a slice of rich chocolate cake
- Plain, on its own in a cup or cone
How to make a hot fudge swirl
This step is optional! But here's how to do it if you're interested:
First of all, this requires that you work quickly — VERY QUICKLY!!! CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!! — so that your ice cream doesn't melt and so your swirl doesn't harden too quickly.
First, let your ice cream chill for about an hour in the freezer. Then, after you've added in your frozen chocolate chips, transfer a portion of the ice cream into a separate bowl.
Dollop or drizzle a layer of your swirl (hot fudge, jam, caramel, dulce de leche, etc) onto the ice cream remaining in your container. Then, layer the ice cream from the bowl back into the container, sandwiching the swirl filling between two layers of ice cream.
Take a knife or skewer or the end of a spoon and stick it upright through all the layers so it's touching the bottom of the container, then drag it in a zig-zag or figure-8 shape to create the swirl. Repeat a few times. To create more swirls, simply increase the number of layers you create.
A few quick recipe and ingredient notes
- If you're interested in adding a hot fudge swirl, I recommend using this Fudge Ripple recipe from David Lebovitz.
- You can buy green cardamom pods at Spicewalla — a small tin is more than enough! You only need about 10-15 pods. Lightly crush them with a rolling pin or between your fingers just enough to split the outer shell.
- I use a small wire strainer to remove the cardamom pods from the heavy cream before tempering, but if you don't have one you can use a fork.
- You will need a large wire strainer at the end to strain your ice cream base before chilling it. This will remove the gritty pieces of orange zest and remove any lumps from cooking your creme anglaise base.
- For more intense orange flavor, use 2X the amount of zest, OR stir 1 tablespoon orange zest into the ice cream base after you strain it. That zest will remain in the ice cream while it churns giving it an orange flecked appearance. It will also add a bit of texture to the ice cream, so just keep that in mind if you go this route.
Use a mixing bowl with a rubber bottom or put a kitchen towel under your bowl to anchor it in place.
Scalding is a step below boiling — it's somewhere around 190F for a mixture of heavy cream and milk. Signs to look for: A skin forming on top of the cream, steam coming off the top of the mixture, tiny bubbles around the edges of the pot. And the final sign: If you tip the pot forward slightly, you should see lots and lots of active bubbles on the bottom of the pot.
Don't feel like you need to rush once your heavy cream and milk have scalded. Turn the heat off, remove the cardamom pods, and then proceed to the tempering step.
Sure! It will change the flavor slightly, but the same procedure will work.
The brilliant thing about ice cream recipes is that the answer to this question is: You can use any ice cream maker you want. If you're in the market for an ice cream maker, check out my review of several popular models here. And if you'd rather not invest in an ice cream maker, I tested this recipe using the ice cream in a bag method which worked beautifully.
Using an ice cream maker is definitely easier and will give you better results than if you don't. My recommendation, if you have a KitchenAid mixer, is to get the ice cream maker attachment because, of all the options, it requires the least amount of clean up and takes up the smallest amount of cupboard space.
Many ice cream makers do require that you freeze the bowl for at least 15 hours in advance, so make sure you stick it in the freezer at the same time you make the ice cream base and both will be ready to use the next day.
The colder your ice cream base is when it goes into the ice cream maker the faster it will churn and the smoother it will be. This chilling period in the fridge also gives the egg proteins time to mature and thicken. The longer you let it sit, the smoother, creamier, and more flavorful your ice cream will be.
Three hours is the minimum amount of time I recommend chilling it for — but if you can do it overnight that's really ideal.
Yep. It will change the consistency of the ice cream slightly and it won't be as rich and creamy, but it will work just fine. But! You could also save your egg whites to make crispy meringue s'mores or use them in breakfast fried rice.
orange-cardamom ice cream with chocolate chips
- 480 grams heavy cream (2 cups)
- 240 grams milk (1 cup)
- 15 green cardamom pods
- 2 tablespoon orange zest (zest from one large naval orange)
- 150 grams sugar (¾ cup)
- 1 large egg (large)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate bar (chopped into shards)
- If using an ice cream maker, freeze bowl according to directions (usually overnight or at least 24 hours in advance of use).Chop chocolate shards for mix-ins and freeze until ready to use.
- Scald milk and heavy cream. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, steep half of the orange zest and crushed cardamom pods in the heavy cream and milk. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Ribbon eggs and sugar. Whisk egg, egg yolk, and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 1-2 mins.
- Remove the cardamom pods from the heavy cream with a fork or small strainer.
- Temper. Slowly drizzle the heavy cream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once about half the heavy cream has been added, you can pour faster, but don't stop whisking!
- Cook to thicken. Transfer the mixture back to the pot over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom well, until it thickens and coats the spoon. If you tilt the pot you should see a smooth layer coating the bottom of the pan.
- Strain any lumps. Remove from heat and strain into a heat-proof, airtight container.
- Chill. Cover and let cool at room temperature 1 hour, then in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight before churning.
- Churn. Pour ice cream mixture into base of your chilled ice cream maker and let it run until ice cream has formed (this can take up to 20-30 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker). If your ice cream maker has a hard churn setting, add frozen chocolate chips in the final stage of churning. Otherwise, proceed to next step.
- Add mix-ins. When ice cream maker is done, transfer the ice cream mixture to an airtight container. It will still be fairly soft at this point. Chill for an hour in the freezer, then use a spatula to mix the frozen chocolate shards until they’re evenly distributed. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before scooping.
This post was originally published on 8/15/2019.