They said it couldn't be done... or was that it shouldn't be done.* But they were wrong.
You can find just about any ice cream recipe on the 'net. It is easy to source garlic ice cream recipes or avocado or basil recipes and many more.** But when I did I search on asparagus ice cream, the only thing I found was an article praising the experiments in ice cream from the late 17th century and 18th century, noting that there were some mistakes like foie gras ice cream - and my beloved asparagus ice cream.*
I am not deterred so easily. This was my mountain. Because it wasn't there. Nothing new on the internet. Heh! I don't think so.
For six weeks I thought long and hard about how to make it work. All the while, the words ringing in my head:
Once in a while, they stumbled -- putting foie gras or puréed asparagus in ice cream, for example -- but most of their experiments were successful.*
Asparagus and almonds, I thought. Yum. This could be the solution. And sweet. You would have to make it very sweet. And whilst cooking the asparagus in sugar syrup was not actually my idea, it was part of the solution for this ice cream.
From the litre of ice cream served to 30 people, there is about half left. Not bad considering the other desserts available. Half the people just refused to try it. Mmeh. To me that reflects more on the people than on the ice cream. Of the other half, some had already decided it was too outrageous to enjoy it. But there were enough of us who enjoyed ("special" being the most emphatic description) it that I'm making the call: this recipe a success.
It is completely true that asparagus ice cream is never going to replace chocolate ice cream in popularity. Or probably even garlic ice cream. Further, it is true that this recipe uses everything it can - sugar, booze, and more sugar - to make it palatable. But the fact remains, that an ice cream made with a whole bunch of green asparagus can make a fabulous ice cream that tastes like "some sort of strange pistachio flavour".
UPDATE: (1 October 2005) I've just seen the asparagus episode of Iron Chef, for the second time - and it's true that the challenger did make an asaparagus ice cream. My apologies for not having acknowledge this encroachment on my subconscious. Please note, however, that the ice cream was not made smoothly, nor did the challenger win, even though his version was described as "delicate". Did the idea come from this show? I can't say. Is the recipe experimental and original? You bet!
NB. This ice cream is completely experimental. So I have recorded both the method I used and thoughts I had during the making. If you have anything to add, please /msg me.
Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Remove the woody part of the asparagus, and chop into small pieces. Add the asparagus. Return to the boil and take off the heat. Because the asparagus was to be puréed, I left it to cool down in the syrup, to steep in the sugar syrup.
Make the custard. Whisk the eggs and sugar together. Gently warm the cream and milk. Add the cream/milk to the eggs while stirring. Strain the custard back into the pot over a gentle heat. Stir until the custard will coat the back of a spoon.
Blend the asparagus and almond liqueur. I didn't drain the asparagus completely, so there was a small amount of the sugar syrup in the blender, but not too much. I surely did not want to concentrate the asparagus flavour.
Add the asparagus purée to the custard. Although I wanted to, I did not strain the mixture again. I thought a smooth texture would be a good idea. But the praise of the ice cream was its inclusion of fibre.
Churn as per the instructions on the ice cream machine.
If you don't have an ice cream machine, I believe you can put the mixture in the freezer and stir it every hour until set (minimum 3 hours). I don't know how this will work.
*http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/IceCream/IceCreamHistory.htm, Asparagus Ice Cream, Anyone?, by Jeri Quinzio (Last visited: 3 September 2005)
**http://www.fooddownunder.com/ (Last visited: 3 September 2005)
The Debutante says So, it was Friday night, I was celebrating Shabbat at the Rabbi's house, with about 60 students. The rabbi's wife and I were dishing-up dessert, in the kitchen. Somehow, we managed to lob a scoop of ice cream into the remains of a pan of asparagus soup. We both start giggling, but then decide that what will be better is to try and pass-off this accident as deliberate. We serve the asparagus-coated ice cream to the rabbi. He eats it! The rabbi's wife and I nearly wet ourselves laughing. No one else understood!
anthropod says : I would think it would be important to choose relatively thin, young asparagus, to avoid woody bits. I find snapping the ends of the stems off help remove anything less than tender as well. Not that I think I'll ever make this!
(She is of course completely right! - except about the not making it bit. And I've added what had been forgotten.)
Heisenberg says: Amaretto and Asparagus? I am not so sure now whether I really want to meet you :-)
sneff says: EEEK!!! hehe.. :-) 11 outa 10 for effort, with xtra points for kookiness. only ye, (Proqs)!