Kindred Spirits

24 07 2012

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” (Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery)

I am pleasantly surprised and count myself lucky to have encountered so many kindred spirits. I didn’t think I was capable of this, but given the right kindred spirit, I can talk for hours. I am not particularly garrulous, but certain conversations with certain people can render phone batteries useless, minimize 700-mile road trips, make a 4-hour wait seem like minutes, and extend a lunch date into a whole day affair. I am not sure how said kindred spirits feel, but I think it’s wonderful.

I am fast approaching the 2-year anniversary of my move to New York, and still I am looking for that deeper human connection, in a polarizing city that is so intent on making me an isolationist. So here’s to my kindred spirits, past, present and future. I wish I could mail/ship/personally-deliver each of you a scoop.


Moody

Toasted Black Sesame Ice Cream
This ice cream was inspired by my trip to Japan, where many desserts are flavored with black sesame. At the mini-marts and ice cream carts, I often found single-serving sizes of black sesame ice cream or popsicles. In Kyoto, I found black sesame yatsuhashi, or these mochi-like triangular pastries. Ever since, I’ve been addicted to the black sesame. It is subtly nutty and very fragrant. Here, I slightly modified the Bi-Rite ice cream base recipe and steeped it with toasted black sesame paste. A few tiny drops of almond extract also help bring out the sesame flavor.

Ingredients
5 large egg yolks
1/4 c black sesame seeds, toasted and crushed into a paste [mortar/pestle or food processor works fine]
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 c 1 or 2% milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions
In a heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks to break them up and add half the sugar.

In a heavy saucepan, stir together cream, milk, salt, remaining sugar, and sesame paste, then place on medium-high heat and bring to a bare simmer. Remove from heat.

Carefully ladle half-cups of the hot cream mixture and drizzle into the egg yolks, while simultaneously whisking. Keep a vigorous whisk while slowly adding the remaining cream mixture. Return custard to the saucepan, and carefully cook the mixture over medium heat until thickened. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon, and hold a clear path when you run your finger across the spoon.

Custard

At this point, you could strain the base to remove the seeds, but I like the texture and dramatic look the black seeds add to the ice cream. Pour the custard into a separate container and allow to cool at least 2 hours or overnight. I highly recommend chilling all ice cream bases overnight in the fridge – this really helps the ice cream maker churn more efficiently. Just make sure to place a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the custard to prevent a film from forming.

Remove custard from fridge and gently stir in almond extract. Freeze custard in machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy as is, or freeze for a few hours for a firmer ice cream.

Close-Up

Really channeling my inner Kyoto-ness with black sesame and green tea ice cream
Greedy

I’d like to thank my kindred spirits, and if any of you lived close enough or cared, I would love to share yet another conversation with you. Another few intimate moments in time. Another island of companionship in a sea of loneliness. Another window of happiness in an otherwise desolate world.

My thanks,
AnhD

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