Saturday, January 26, 2013
I had picked up a bag of star anise at the Indie/Paki store, but though I am sure I have eaten something at some point with it, I had not cooked with it myself. It is a strong flavor that is very "licorice". I ran across a recipe for a delightful looking dairy based mousse that combined maple and star anise. I was intrigued!
Mousse is difficult for me, without dairy. We are HUGE fans of ice cream. I will admit, I have never thought of ice cream as bad for you as say a donut. Dairy has a lot of value. Making coconut ice cream we realized she wasn't getting enough nutritional value to classify it as anything other then junk. So we fixed it. We have started adding a cup of pureed chickpea nofu. To our delight, the flavor is rarely noticeable and it adds hidden depth and richness. Admittedly, depending on your nofu, it can also add a bit of grittiness,but nothing that destroys the wonderful flavors and great texture. I would think if you are a soy tofu fan, that using silken tofu would work well.
You could use whatever ice cream base you like and simply throw the star anise in to flavor it while heating your "milk". Below is what we did. The whipped egg white did offer a lighter and smoother end result, but I did it to combat the weight of the chickpea nofu- so you could easily skip that part and still get a terrific flavor. My star anise flavor was a very subtle flavor in the finished ice cream. You tasted it, but with the maple it really did create a whole new flavor profile that would keep you guessing if you did not know star anise was used.
1 cup fullfat coconut milk(just the firm cream on top is preferred for extra creaminess)
1 cup chickpea Nofu(or soy tofu)
2 eggs separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup(much stronger flavor then grade A)
dash of salt.
vanilla extract(if almond is safe for you it would be perfect)
Extra maple syrup to use as a topping.
On stove gently heat the coconut milk with the star anise. You don't want it to boil but you want it be close to a boil for at least 10 minutes to get that nice anise flavor. While it is warming, beat 2 egg yolks with maple syrup. After the coconut has heated you can go ahead and temper your yolks with the maple and slowly add. Cook for another 4-5 minutes being careful not to boil till it begins to cling to your spoon. Remove star anise pods(discard them) and place in the fridge.
combine the two egg whites with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Place in heat safe pyrex bowl over a simmering pot of hot water. Stir and heat until the sugar is completely melted. Remove from heat. Whip until soft peaks.
In blender place 1 cup of your chickpea nofu, dash of salt and the coconut milk that has been in the fridge. Blend well until smooth. Add a dash of vanilla extract or almond extract.
Fold in your whipped egg white and sugar until well mixed. Place in Fridge to chill completely. Once chilled follow the directions for your ice cream maker.
NOTE: The full fat coconut milk is key to helping the ice cream remain smooth without as much ice crystals, and homemade vanilla extract has a higher alcohol content, alcohol helps prevent ice crystals too.
Star Anise is a very "STRONG" flavor. I recommend tasting the coconut milk as it heats and removing the anise pods at any point you feel the flavor is strong enough. The Maple will change the flavor and create balance. I have had a batch that was too strong of an anise flavor and simply added another tablespoon of the strong maple syrup to balance it back out. Also keep in mind, usually flavors mellow significantly when you freeze them.