scant ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
240ml (1 cup) double cream
120ml (½ cup) whole milk
70g caster sugar
pinch fine sea salt
3 egg yolks
½- 1½ teaspoons orange blossom water
CORIANDER SEED & VANILLA ICE CREAM: Infuse with 1 tablespoon toasted and coarsely cracked coriander seeds and ½ scraped vanilla pod (save the seeds). Strain as it goes back into the pan and stir in the vanilla seeds at this point.
BAY & PEPPERCORN ICE CREAM: Infuse with 5 scrunched bay leaves and 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns. Strain as it goes back into the pan.

Spice ice creams are wonderful accompaniments to fruity desserts, bringing a cool-warm paradox and a note of complexity sometimes hard to put your finger on. This saffron ice cream is utterly mesmerising in both colour and flavour. For something different, see the spice switches below. Coriander seeds were common in ice creams before vanilla became ‘the thing’ and the two together work well. The combination of bay and peppercorn is exceptionally fragrant – try it with poached plums.

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1.Crush the saffron to a powder and add to a pan with the cream, milk, sugar and salt.
2.Gently heat to simmering, taking care not to scorch, then leave to infuse at room temperature for about an hour.
3.Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Reheat the yellow cream then slowly pour into the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
4.Return to the pan and set over a low–medium heat.
5.Stir with a silicone spatula, scraping well until the mixture thickens to a thin, smooth custard – if you run a clean finger along the spatula, it should leave a distinct line.
6.Leave to cool then stir in the orange blossom water (add to taste as they vary in strength; but remember that freezing will mute its taste).
7.Cover with cling film pressed down to the surface to prevent a skin forming then chill in the fridge until really cold.
8.Churn in an ice-cream machine following its instructions.
9.Eat straight away or freeze until needed for up to 3 months.

Images and text from
A Whisper of Cardamom by
Eleanor Ford, photography
by Ola O. Smit. Murdoch
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