Ugh. So, I know I said "exciting things were in the works(!)," but it appears I spoke too soon. Premal and I have been looking for a home to call own own since moving to Denver in July, and it seemed as though we had finally found one. It was a stately town home in the city center, blocks away from the Capitol, art museum, and some of our very favorite eateries. The finishes were classic, and the kitchen had been designed by a chef. I loved it. And so, we dug in.
Contracts were drawn up, and read, and signed, and shared, and returned, and read and signed. And then we exhaled, and smiled nervously at one another. Then, lenders and owners and inspectors and neighbors were called and called and called. Then more contracts came, and I read all the small print, then we signed and returned, and wrote checks. And as I worked from our living room in the basement of my mother's home, workers broke ground outside my window digging a tremendous hole that will someday form a patio and passage into this space. We'd share smiles though the glass throughout the day, comrades in adjoined trenches boring our way through the tasks at hand. Then suddenly, both the workers and I stopped. Their reason was quite simple, the hole was dug, and it was time to move on to other tasks. I, on the other hand had come upon the dark underbelly of my dream home, and we deemed the venture too risky. In the aftermath, I felt a lot like this. What did I have to show for my weeks of work? I stood by my window, envious of the tangibility of the completed task on the other side, and the satisfaction that comes from a physical task well done. I wanted to wallow, but I did not want to stagnate. So I decided to make something--and nurse my heavy heart while I was at it.
Premal has been hankering for some homemade ice cream for a while, and we figured nothing goes together like self pity, and a pint of frozen deliciousness. The recipe is based on this keeper from David Leboitz, reworked with a modern twist on traditional Indian flavors.
Saffron Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios (or Kesar Pista)
- 1 c. whole milk
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 15-ish strands saffron (I bought mine at Costco)
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 5 egg yolks (it's a lot, but you won't be sorry)
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. shelled pistachios--roughly chopped
- 1 t. butter
- 2 T. brown sugar
- pinch salt
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add saffron, remove from heat and let steep covered while you watch an episode of Breaking Bad. Pour cream in a bowl (DL says to put said bowl in an ice bath. I don't know why, but I still did it). Rewarm milk mixture, and temper yolks by adding a small amount of milk mixture to them while whisking. Add tempered yolks to milk mix and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir until cool, add the vanilla extract, then chill thoroughly (overnight if in the fridge, or approx. one more episode of Breaking Bad if you throw it in the freezer. Guess which I did?) Meanwhile, candy your pistachios by melting butter in a small saucepan, add brown sugar and 1 T. water. Bring to boil (should be quick) add nuts and salt. Stir till all nuts are coated evenly, remove from heat and spread on a non-stick surface to cool. Retrieve custard from the freezer and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding nuts towards the end of the freezing process.