Ginger Ice Cream (#10)

17 05 2012

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Hawaii that Tavis and I were on five years ago this week.  Having both been Geography majors, when we were choosing which Hawaiian island to visit, we figured we must choose the one with the most to offer in terms of natural geography — active volcanoes, massive mountains, and the best representation of the world’s climate zones and flora.  Big Island!  The plan was to circumnavigate the island, spending a few nights in Kona, on the western side of the island, and a few nights in Hilo, on the eastern side.

Lava flow on road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Lava on the road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

We flew into Kona on Air Canada’s last direct flight of the season, which meant there were less than twenty of us on board (nice!)  Kona itself was all right, nothing special I would say — a typical, touristy surf town.  Hilo, in spite of its rain (it’s the third rainiest city in the US, and yes, we did get caught in a couple of afternoon rain storms), we loved.  There was a great authenticity to this little town.  Unlike Kona, Hilo felt like it had real people, with no resort development and hoards of tourists — old Hawaii, if you will.  It was great chatting with local people.  One woman we spoke with said we absolutely must try the ginger ice cream at Hilo Homemade Ice Cream, a local ice cream parlour.  We did and, indeed, it was amazing, amazing, amazing!  It was the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, with a little kick of heat.

Make sure to use fresh ginger for this recipe.  Don’t think about using the powdered stuff!

Fresh ginger from Granville Island

Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

Adapted from Gourmet, November 1998

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add the ginger, 2 cups of the half-and-half, and the vanilla.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1 cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  6. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing the ginger to extract as much liquid and gingery goodness as possible.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    The Official Taster says: “The only thing better about Hilo’s ginger ice cream was eating it in Hawaii.”

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