Absinthe Inspired Ice Cream
This ice cream is an acquired taste inspired by the flavors of one of the most famous acquired tastes, absinthe. And right out of the gate I'm going to warn you. If you don't like anise (think black licorice), you will not enjoy this. You've been warned.
This ice cream is fairly easy to make, the hardest component being the syrup I made to go along with it, and even that's pretty simple. In total, you will only need ten ingredients to make both the ice cream and the syrup. You will also need some basic kitchenware.
Ice Cream Ingredients
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Kelly green food dye
Yellow food dye
1 TBS anise flavoring
3 TBS vanilla flavoring
1 TBS vanilla flavoring
1 TSP anise flavoring
1 wormwood teabag
1 TSP of sweet fennel seeds
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
kelly green food dye
9' X 13' dish
Hand mixer with whisk attachment
Large metal bowl
Cooking spoon for stirring
Empty the entire pint of heavy whipping cream into your metal bowl. Put two drops of 3 drops of kelly green food dye and 1drop of yellow into the cream, then take your hand mixer and whisk the cream on medium speed until soft peaks are formed.
At the point of soft peaks, go ahead and add 3 TBS of vanilla flavoring and 1 TBS of anise flavoring to your cream. Now continue whisking until stiff peaks have formed.
After you have stiff peaks, pour in your can of sweetened condensed milk and fold it in until it is completely incorporated.
NOTE: Have a taste to make sure you're happy with the anise and vanilla content. If you want a stronger taste, add a bit more.
Using your silicone spatula, pour out your ice cream into your 9' X 13' dish and smooth it out. Stick it in your freezer for at least six hours.
As your ice cream is setting up in the freezer, you can work on your wormwood syrup, which is honestly a dread nightmare of bitter green death when tasted on its own.
To make the syrup, put 1/2 cup of water into your saucepan and bring it to a low boil. Then, turn off the heat and put in one wormwood teabag and your sweet fennel seeds. Allow that to steep for three to four minutes before removing.
NOTE: Just like any botanical ingredient, you should read about side effects and possible interactions of wormwood before consuming.
After removing the teabag and scooping out the fennel seeds, go ahead and put the heat back on and allow the liquid to come to a low boil. Then, add your cup of sugar and begin stirring.
NOTE: Removing the fennel seeds feels optional to me. Fennel seeds are sweet and are often used in candies, and it may give a nice look and texture to the syrup. So do what you want.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn down the heat and add three drops of kelly green food dye, 1 TBS of vanilla flavoring, and 1 TSP of anise flavoring. Stir until fully incorporated then remove the syrup from the heat (and remember to turn the heat off; safety first, people) and allow it to cool.
Once cool, transfer your syrup into a container and set it in the fridge until your ice cream is ready.
After at least six hours have passed and your ice cream is all set up, you can go ahead and enjoy!
I served mine in absinthe glasses and topped it with graham cracker crumbs, and it was very good, but not so much reminiscent of absinthe as it was of anise pizzelle. So then I put the lightest drizzle of the wormwood syrup over the ice cream, and the taste came pretty close to absinthe though still a bit closer to chartreuse.
Regardless, I'm going to say that this was a delicious, aesthetically pleasing success. The mixture of the syrup and the ice cream created a flavor close to what I was aiming for, and I'm satisfied.
But again make sure you and the people you are serving this ice cream to actually try the syrup before you just go pouring it on. They may not like absinthe. It's an intense flavor and you don't want to ruin their ice cream in the name of achieving the most goth dessert ever. Right?
No? I'm not right? You're okay with scarring the taste buds of others in pursuit of the most sacred goal?