Looking for a deliciously simple Scandinavian take on ice cream? This Homemade Cardamom Ice Cream is just the thing. It's creamy, luxurious and has just the right amount of cardamom flavor.
The simple ice cream base really allows the cardamom to shine, bringing forth its subtle floral and citrus notes and creating an intoxicating new ice cream flavor you are going to love!
Why This Recipe Works
- The recipe begins with a very basic custard ice cream base, and I've included step-by-step instructions to ensure that it is really easy to follow and produces excellent results every time.
- The ice cream is churned in an ice cream maker which creates an extra-creamy and delicious final result.
- This ice cream contains just the right amount of cardamom and a hint of vanilla for the absolute best flavor.
- A mix of milk and cream create a luscious dairy base for this ice cream.
- Egg yolks bring richness and a luxurious texture.
- A modest amount of sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness.
- A pinch of salt enhances and balances out that sweetness.
- Cardamom (either whole pods or ground work just fine) and vanilla together bring an intoxicating flavor you'll want to return to again and again.
An Ice Cream Maker
You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe. It is a bit of an investment (about $70), but a very worthwhile one. Ice cream makers make a super-creamy, wholesome homemade ice cream (sorbet and frozen yogurt, too!) that really can't be beat. Besides, it's fun to dust off the ice cream maker every summer or whenever the urge for homemade ice cream strikes and play around with new flavors and combinations.
How To Make This Recipe
- Begin by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Transfer the egg yolks to a medium bowl and discard the whites or save them for another purpose. Whisk ¼ cup of the sugar into the egg yolks and set aside.
- Combine the milk, cream, remaining ½ cup of sugar, salt and the crushed cardamom pods or the ground cardamom in a saucepan. Heat over medium low, stirring frequently, until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes, allowing the flavor of the cardamom to really steep in the ice cream base.
- Meanwhile, create an ice bath: Combine plenty of ice and cold water in a large bowl and set aside.
- Turn the heat back on and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Once it is JUST simmering, use a ladle to remove about 1 cup of the hot liquid from the saucepan. SLOWLY pour the hot liquid into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you do so. This is called tempering the eggs, and it prevents them from cooking and coagulating into undesirable clumps when they come into contact with the hot liquid.
- Once you've combined the hot liquid into the yolks, pour it all back into the saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly until it bubbles and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.
- Immediately transfer the custard to a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Strain out the cardamom seeds and any coagulated pieces of egg that have formed. Add the vanilla extract.
- Set the bowl with the custard inside the ice bath. This will help it cool quickly and efficiently and result in creamier ice cream (see Expert Tips below). Stir the custard occasionally while it cools, and if the ice melts completely, replace it so that the ice bath stays nice and cool.
- Once the custard is completely cool, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until it is VERY cold, at least 3 hours or (preferably) overnight.
- Churn the custard according to the manufacturer's instructions on your ice cream maker. Store the churned ice cream tightly covered in the freezer until it is completely frozen. Scoop and enjoy!
- Remember to freeze the work bowl of the ice cream machine in advance. Ice cream making is not for the impulsive, the impatient or the spontaneous. It's an activity that rewards planning and preparation. The work bowl of your ice cream maker must be thoroughly chilled prior to successfully churning ice cream. See the manufacturer's instructions for specific details for your particular model, but this may take anywhere from 24-48 hours. During the summer months, I just keep the work bowl in the freezer so that when I'm ready to make a batch of ice cream it's ready to go.
- Temper the egg yolks prior to adding them to the milk and cream mixture. There is a very good reason that the recipe asks you to SLOWLY mixing about a cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks prior to adding them back to the pan. This process is called tempering and it helps ensure that your eggs don't solidify once they hit the shocking heat of the cream mixture. We want creamy custard here, not scrambled eggs.
- Strain the custard base once it has finished cooking. Some recipes will skip this step, but if you don't strain the mixture, you run the risk of having little bits of cooked egg in your finished project. Not good. Better to be on the safe side and strain.
- DO NOT SKIP THE ICE BATH and cool the mixture COMPLETELY before putting it into the fridge. Ice crystals are the enemy of smooth and creamy ice cream. One of the reasons we use an ice bath to cool the custard base down quickly and completely is so that condensation doesn't form after you cover the mixture and cause additional water to find it's way back into the custard (water that will eventually freeze and become icy). I will let my custard sit in the ice bath until it is cool to the touch and then cover and transfer it to the refrigerator.
- Don't skimp on the cooling time prior to churning. To prevent ice crystal formation, it's important to make sure that the mixture is good and cold before it goes into the ice cream maker. I almost always make my custard base one day and churn it the next.
There are several different ways to separate eggs, but my favorite is to crack the egg and transfer it to my hand. The egg white slips through my fingers leaving the yolk behind. Check out this really helpful graphic from www.marthastewart.com for a visual on this technique.
Absolutely! You can leave the cardamom out entirely and just make vanilla ice cream. Or try adding a fruit compote instead. You can even add mix-ins such as chopped nuts, chocolate, crushed candy or cookies or whatever you like at the very end of churning. The options are endless!
Store the ice cream tightly sealed in the freezer for 4-6 weeks (although I doubt you'll need that long to finish a batch)!
Don't forget that krumkake make wonderful ice cream cones!
Looking for more deliciously cool Nordic-inspired treats? I've got several here on the blog:
Homemade Cardamom Ice Cream
- Ice Cream Maker
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 10 cardamom pods crushed OR ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar together in a separate medium bowl. Set aside.
- Heat cream, milk, remaining ½ cup sugar, salt and crushed cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming and just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make an ice bath: combine cold water and plenty of ice in a large bowl and set aside.
- Return the cream mixture to a simmer. Slowly and pouring in a steady stream, ladle about 1 cup of the warm cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Transfer the cream and egg mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and is just beginning to bubble, about 3 minutes.
- Immediately strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl leaving any cooked egg and the crushed cardamom behind. Stir in the vanilla. Carefully transfer the bowl to the ice bath. Allow the custard to cool in the bowl over the ice bath, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has come to a cool room temperature. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Transfer the custard to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until ready to use
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Homemade Cardamom Ice Cream and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.