Friday, July 15, 2005

SHF 10 - Oh, Honey!

If there was an award for the sweetest little meme, it would no doubt go to Sugar High Friday, created by Jennifer and hosted this time around by Nic. The theme for this tenth edition of SHF is honey.

I seem to go through honey really quickly these days, so I generally buy two or three pound containers of the grocery store variety. I actually have no complaints about this most ordinary of honeys and am quite fond of its flavor, but today I was shopping in a high end grocery store and was seriously tempted by some pricier varieties ... raspberry flower, sage, Tupelo, etc. I haven't succumbed yet, but when I do, I can't think of a better way to use it (except perhaps on some toast) than as the sweetener and flavor base for some ice cream.

I normally put the name of my recipe in the title of my SHF and IMBB posts, but I can't decide what to call this. My original concept was an ice cream based on Chai. Because I was using mostly milk and very little water, I was a little timid about raising the temperature too high and the flavors from the spices and tea were not fully extracted. The spiciness is hardly noticeable over the strong honey flavor, but I was still very happy with the outcome.

I'd like to experiment with this some... the first way would be to try some things to bring out the spiciness more. I could increase the spices, leave them to steep overnight, include them with the water and ginger at the beginning, or I could replace half the honey with either sugar or some other milder liquid sweetener - like Lyle's Golden Syrup. I really liked the texture of this ice cream and wonder if the honey contributed to that in any way. It never froze hard and it didn't develop a grainy texture. It was really refreshing - not especially creamy, almost watery as it melts in your mouth - but not at all icy.

Another way to go with it would be to leave out most of the spices and try some of those varietal honeys. So many possibilities!

Chai or Honey Ice Cream - you decide!

This is exactly as I made it. It was delicious, not very spicy, with a strong honey flavor.

1/2 cup water
3 quarter-inch slices of ginger
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
3 cardamom pods cracked open
1/2 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
5 peppercorns
2 tea bags

Place the water and ginger slices in a saucepan and bring water to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the half and half, milk, honey, and spices. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring often (actually, I stirred constantly - not sure if that's necessary or not). You want to get the mixture hot, but don't want it too hot or a skin will form as it cools. Using Alton Brown's Vanilla Ice Cream recipe as a guide, I decided to bring the temperature to 170 F. At that point, remove the pan from the heat, add the tea bags and allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes. Strain and refrigerate overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions and then harden for an hour or two in the freezer before eating. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Oooh, Cathy! I love the idea of a Chai ice cream with a strong honey flavor. Please post it if you get it exactly right!! I may just try this version as is, too! Good thinking!

Stephanie said...

Now that's a neat idea...and did you know this month's IMBB? is TEA??? Keep experimenting!

Oh, and Matt wants to come to your house for dessert...

Cathy said...

Hi Alice - thanks! I do plan to try this again, so I'll post a progress report when I do! I really liked it as it was, so I could see ultimately spinning off two recipes from this one - 1) Honey and 2) Chai.

Hi Stephanie - thanks! Yes I did. It hadn't occurred to me to tweak this and recycle it for IMBB, but that's not a bad idea! BTW - I think Matt gets some pretty amazing desserts at his house!

Stephanie said...


Cathy said...

Hi AG - thanks! I actually got the idea for using honey with Chai from an Everyday Food recipe (Martha Stewart's food magazine) which is just called "Hot Spiced Tea". The addition of honey makes the milky tea taste like gingerbread. I love that recipe, but here in the US it is the season for ice cream rather than hot drinks!

Ana said...

Cathy this sounds marvellous - the cream, the spices, the honey, mmmmm! I might give it a try as the weather is just ice-cream inviting weather.

Cathy said...

Hi Ana - thanks! I liked it very much and plan to try some variations. Let me know if you try it!

Cathy said...

Thanks so much Jennifer - but I'm not sure I agree. Your sandwiches with those wonderful "bee-nut" butter cookies look amazing!