Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recipe #16/20: Lentil Ice Cream!

Ready for the most commonly posted blog statement?:

Sorry I haven't posted recently, but I've been really busy.

Yeah, yeah. Lame excuse. To my defense though, applying to twelve Ph.D. programs does leave little room for lentil blogging. In fact, I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and am not posting it until nine days before Christmas. Since I'm going back to CO to visit the fam during said holiday, I probably won't post anything else until New Years, though between cooking for Christmas and New Years I'll probably be able to finish out the remaining four recipes. Should work out well because then I can start the New Year with another ingredient! Hooray!

So, lentil ice cream. Thought that this one could be fun. It is partially inspired by the crazy concoctions created by my friend Allison for her new homemade ice cream business, although to my knowledge she has not yet tried my little legume. I think the other inspiration came from finishing off the last of the long-ago-created pate. The flavor was mellow enough that I felt with a little sweetness it could make a decent ice cream.

No total craziness here (i.e. ice cream made from lentil milk or some such thing). The ice cream is a pretty standard vanilla that is flavored with lentils. After blending, the lentil pulp is strained out to prevent frightening textures, although feel free to leave it in. I just haven't had the chance. Mostly it is just flavored with lentils. The taste was good, although I added a little too much sugar so the sweetness definitely overpowered the lentils. Also, I did not cool the lentils post cooking before I added the cream, so it curdled a little on me. These mistakes have been fixed on the recipe below, so hopefully you shouldn't have those problems.

Other than that, enjoy one of the few dessert lentil dishes for the project and hopefully I will get something else posted in a more timely manner.

Lentil Ice Cream
Serves one to eight people

1.5 cups green lentils
0.75 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional, but recommended)
8 egg yolks

Cook the lentils in three cups of water for thirty minutes. Strain out the water and rinse the lentils until cool. Add cream and half & half and heat on the stove on medium low. When it begins to simmer, add vanilla extract and brown sugar. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with a immersion blender. (Again, if you don't have one: get one. But for today, transfer in batches to a standard blender.) Strain through fine mesh strainer into another stovetop pot and throw away lentil pulp (unless you like your ice cream chunky). Return to the stove on low. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eight egg yolks. Using a ladle, add small amounts of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, beating continuously. (Without constant whisking, or this tempering step, the egg proteins will coagulate). When you have added about one third of the liquid to the egg yolks, return all of the egg/dairy mixture to the stovetop pot. Stir occasionally for ten minutes, then remove from heat, pour into a large bowl (preferably metal) and put in the fridge. Once the mixture is cold, churn using your ice cream churner according the the manufacturer's instructions.