I like to think that I’m a reasonably smart lady (stop laughing).
That said, as it turns out, I need a tea towel–or some other convenient kitchen reminder–which says “Don’t touch your eye after handling jalapenos, you know what happens, you never learn, GOOD LORD woman, you are the reason I drink.” Or something to that effect.
Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn’t–but nothing will make me love a hot pepper less. Nuh-thing.
This is not news; I’ve put spicy serranos in ice cream before. I liked it. In this version, I went ahead and candied the jalapenos–less crunch, more chewiness. Actually, no crunch, all the chewiness–plus the nice effect of a more delayed heat. Either way, when something fresh and spicy is hiding in a scoop of something cool, creamy, and sweet, it’s a wonderful thing.
This ice cream is a wonderful thing. Make it, eat it–but don’t put it on your eyeballs. Life will suck so hard for you, my friend.
Candying something is no big deal–especially for ice cream. I normally don’t like to wait, but we’re going to have to anyway, while the custard chills.
It’s a simple process–boil your jalapeno in sugary water, then lay out your fancy, newly candied jalapeno bits out on wax paper until they’re nice and shriveled (ALL THE SORRIES), and pretty much dry.
Another time-consuming aspect of this ice cream is letting the Meyer lemon zest steep in your custard for a while. But it’s only an hour, after all–and in ice cream making, that’s nothing.
The fragrant, fruity magic of Meyer lemon zest is really special, although in this case, regular lemon will do just fine. Grapefruit or orange zest would be spectacular as well. Meanwhile, I would like a precariously tall waffle cone with one scoop of each–excuse me while I daydream ’bout that.
…Yeah, that went well.
If you have a capsaicin-loving little heart like I do, I sure hope you make this. Let’s think of it as our reward for all the abuse our poor eyeballs have taken. (Sidenote: if the jalapeno eye doesn’t happen to you on a regular basis… Congratulations on being SOME SORT OF WITCH. Seriously, that is rad.)
- 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- Combine the sugar with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and when sugar is dissolved, add the jalapenos and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain well. (Discard liquid, unless maybe you want some spicy simple syrup for other uses--cocktails?)
- Spread out the jalapeno pieces on a sheet of wax paper, Leave them out until dry (this took me overnight, which conveniently is how long I usually chill the custard).
- Combine 1/4 cup of the milk and the cornstarch until smooth and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream along with the sugar, corn syrup, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for an hour.
- Return to mixture to a boil, stir in the cornstarch slurry, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into a small bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until completely smooth, then whisk this into the rest of the milk mixture. Strain mixture through a fine mesh, discard solids, cover and chill thoroughly.
- When mixture is completely chilled, churn ice cream according to manufacturer instructions, then fold in the candied jalapenos and transfer to a storage container before freezing. Makes a quart.