Jaggery Ice Cream

Thoughts on making Jaggery Ice Cream from Nik Sharma’s _Season_ cookbook. A very thorough 2 stars. Taste tests were involved! Theories on the ice cream’s odor are welcome.

Last week I made Nik Sharma’s Jaggery Ice Cream from his Season cookbook.

I had the cardamom and saffron on hand, but needed to venture to our local Patel Brothers Indian grocery to get the jaggery.

I ended up making this recipe twice, because the first time I thought I had messed something up. The recipe directs you to heat the custard mixture to 185°F, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and then cool rapidly in a Ziploc bag in an ice bath.

I figured I would just chill it overnight in the fridge instead of messing with the ice bath, but also when the mixture hit 185°F, I got the strainer set over a bowl, went back to the custard, and the custard had really thickened up. Surprisingly thickened. It strained fine, though, and I transferred to a jar to cool until the next day.

When I opened up the jar the next day, it did not smell good. It still tasted fine, though, so I went ahead and churned it.

After doing some internetting and talking to my mom and brother (both of them great cooks), I figured I must have overcooked the eggs. That, in the moment of getting things set, the custard must have hit some too-high temperature and then, in cooling in the fridge, it sat at a too-high temperature for too long.

So I made another batch, being much more conscientious of the temperature. It was really jumping around from stirring as it approached 185°F. I made sure my strainer/bowl was already set up, and as soon as I saw 184°F I cut the heat, assuming it would hit 185°F in the transition to the strainer.

It strained fine and then I transferred to a ziploc bag and cooled in an ice bath (also already ready). The mixture was much less thick than the first bath. I put that in the fridge, ready to churn the next day.

The next day came and it still smelled. My only hypothesis at this point is that without any vanilla or other strong-smelling ingredient in the mixture, the egginess of the custard is just unavoidable. I churned it and now had two batches in the freezer.

Friends came over Sunday evening, and I was able to do some triangle tests to check for any noticeable difference between the two batches. I learned about triangle tests from Brulosophy, where they use triangle tests to see if a certain homebrewing variable noticeably affects the outcome. In short, if you’re comparing 2 different items, you put 2 samples of one item and 1 sample of the other item in a triangle in front of the subject. The subject then tries to determine which of the three samples in front of them is the odd one out.

I had 5 tasters participate in the triangle tests. No one successfully identified their odd sample. I feel pretty confident that the temperature and thickness differences had no discernible impact on the final ice cream.

As far as the taste of the ice cream is concerned: most people did not care for it. Of the 5 tasters, two said they liked it. I don’t think I’ll make this ice cream again.

I am cooking my way through Nik Sharma’s Season cookbook. Read more about it.