From Mexican paletas pops, India’s kulfi, Israel’s honey like halva to Japan’s mochi there are dreamy frozen desserts all over the world. As a world traveler, it pays to develop vocabulary in the frozen delights. Walking along the streets in Thailand you will find vendors rolling curls of I Tim Pad with Nutella toppings. Or in Istanbul vendors pulling elastic dondurma. Turkish ice cream is made with two magic ingredients, mastic, a plant resin and sahlep, a flour made from ground-up tuber of an orchid, and Kahramanmahras, in Eastern Turkey, is where the best ice cream comes from.
Then in Italy, you have an entire culture that you need to absorb in a master class. Let’s start with infamous Gelato, made with less air giving it a much denser texture and making it feel richer on the tongue. Granita is a concoction of freezing water, sugar and flavoring like coffee, fruit concentrates or even wine! Hummm… a rose for afternoons in the garden. Continuing on with our lessons; Sorbetto is an Italian sorbet, which rarely contains milk and often brings bright, intense fruit flavors.
After dinner might bring an Affogato, a gelato or sorbetti topped with a liquid like an espresso or lemoncello or grappa, because the names means “drowned” like the gelato is drowned in a sea of espresso creating a wave of foam! A Semifreddo actually means “half cold.” This term encompasses a variety of semi frozen or chilled sweets made with cake, custard, or fruit topped with whipped cream or meringue.
Another that is worth getting on a plane for Ireland, is Murphy’s Hand Churned Ice Cream– once described to me by a fellow traveler as “must have been hand churned by Irish virgins” as it was so heavenly. Sometimes you think things taste so amazingly due to the setting or the people you are with, but it turns out there is a whole cult following because it is heavenly.
Two brothers set out to make the best ice cream in the world, starting on the small peninsula jutting into Atlantic on the southwest coast just around the corner from the famous Ring of Kerry. They use milk from an indigenous and now rare Kerry cow that was the first breed ever bred solely for its dairy. It’s all about the butter fat!! Dingle at Dunmore Head or locally known as Corca Dhubhne, has unmatched scenic pastures and the cows must appreciate it.
Obsessive and passionate the brothers have proven to be the right path… because from Dingle and then Killarney, the word I out and Murphy’s Ice Cream is demanded in Galway and Dublin establishments that insist on the very best.
Some of the most exquisite flavors like Dingle Sea Salt, Irish Coffee, Irish Orange Marmalade to Candied Chilli Pepper and Gin as well as tasting the difference between Dark Chocolate and Smooth Chocolate. For me it is the Goat Cheese.
I’m off to make some lemon curd ice cream even though I sadly don’t have any Kerry cows nearby.
Ingredients - 130g sugar - 5 egg yolks - 240ml cream - 200ml milk - 50g lemon curd - Zest (grated peel) of one lemon 15ml (1 tablespoon) lemon juice 1. Beat in the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until thick and pale yellow. 2. Bring the milk to a low simmer. 3. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream. 4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. 5. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don't over heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs! 6. Immediately remove from the heat. 7. Add the lemon curd to the warm custard, stirring until it is dissolved. 8. Add the lemon zest. 9. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool overnight. 10. Strain the lemon zest from the cool custard (unless you like it in there). 11. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks - don't over whip). 12. Fold the cream (gently stir) into the custard. 13. Add the lemon juice. 14. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi solid consistency (around 15 minutes). Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.