A few days ago, I described one of my younger daughter’s friends as “intense.” “Mom!” commenced daughter, (and I thought, here it comes) “you always describe people as either intense, tiresome, or delightful.” “Ah!” I said, “That’s because they are!” This daughter is known for dispensing – at no cost! – hard truths. Mostly, she’s delightful, when she’s not being tiresome.
I don’t mean to detract from the nuances and quirks that make humans such slippery creatures – so hard to fathom, to define, to put in a box. Forget all that for now. Most of us are simply this: intense, tiresome, or delightful.
That evening, my older (intense) daughter’s (delightful) friend D. paid her a surprise visit, bearing brownies and Klondike bars. The classic vanilla ice cream sandwich is dependably good, I think, regardless of brand. Around here, what we usually refer to as an ice cream sandwich is ice cream mashed between two cookies, and it’s fantastic. But for years I have said we would try to make a home batch that copies the mass-produced variety. So after D’s visit, I decided it was time to take it on. But wait…what about a California twist on the classic i.c.s? Klondike a l’Orange? Gold Rush meets Golden State.
I love orange ice cream, and it’s a rarity. Orange sherbet is out there, (cheap and unhealthy but kind of yummy if you are feeling nostalgic) but orange ice cream is harder to find. Julie’s Organic Ice Cream used to swirl an organic vanilla ice cream with a mandarin sorbet that was like a whole pint of creamsicle. Need I say it was splendid? The creamsicle is where one generally goes to fulfill the desire for a creamy orange confection. But sometimes, I rely on an old favorite recipe of mine, from Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Ice Cream.
For the thin cake portion of the i.c.s., I turned to Jennie Schacht’s recipe, reprinted on the King Arthur Flour website, which I have linked to here. Never have I smoothed a batter out so meticulously. I didn’t give this much attention to the GRE, which explains a lot. I made a half recipe because I suspected that despite the obvious, inarguable deliciousness of this treat, and my daughters’ willingness to assemble the sandwiches for me, they would decline to eat any of them. I was correct. They treated the Klondike bars like they were a delicacy, but shunned mine, because, “orange doesn’t go with dark chocolate.” “Tell that to the chocolate orange!” I huffed. I then delivered the remaining ice cream to my friend Kirstin, * and the i.c.s. themselves to my friend Elke.** They both raved, and I asked Elke to describe them so I could quote her. “It’s…yummy! But I guess you can’t write that can you?” Oh, I can and I will. Offspring=tiresome. Friends=Delightful.
Orange Ice Cream
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 Tbsps. orange zest
1 Tbsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed
Whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in a bowl, and set aside.
Bring cream, milk, zest, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a simmer in a saucepan set over low heat; remove from heat; gently pour some hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to warm it up and temper it. Pour the tempered egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Return pan to low heat; cook custard, stirring constantly, until it reaches 175°F on candy thermometer; *** pour into a bowl set in ice water bath; cool to room temperature, stirring as needed to keep skin from forming.
Stir in juice; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Strain ice cream base through fine mesh sieve into clean bowl; discard zest; chill custard for at least 4 hours. Place custard in ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s instructions; transfer to airtight container; freeze.
Cook’s Note: I reduced the sugar by a tablespoon and next time, I will reduce it by three. In lieu of the cream/milk mixture, I used 3 cups of half and half for simplicity’s sake. I also used an extra tablespoon of orange juice because I love citrus.
*Delightful, a little intense
**Delightful, a little tiresome, never intense
*** I do not know if the thermometer I use is an actual candy thermometer. In any case, it’s not a human thermometer, because we don’t use those. The two human temperatures in our house are “you’re-not-feverish-you’re-anxious,” and “you’re-hot-go-lie-down.”