This is it guys, my first time making ice cream! I’ve always wanted to try, but don’t have an ice cream maker and can’t really justify owning one given the amount of ice cream it would lead me to consume. Plus, that’s what friends are for, right? My good friend and the biggest ice cream head I know, Corey, recently got an ice cream maker and invited me over to take it for a spin.
So it’s my first time making ice cream and of all the flavors in the world I choose to start with anise? Yeah, well I can only respond by saying that we wanted to try something different and we both LOVE black licorice enough to eat it by the spoonful.
Anise bears a strong resemblance to the carrot family, which also includes dill, fennel, coriander, cumin and caraway. Many of these have been described as having a licorice flavor, but it is actually anise (not licorice herb, which has a different taste) that is distilled into the flavoring for licorice candy. Anise is also used in many other international confectioneries and liquors like the Greek Ouzo and the French Pastis. It’s also used in teas as a digestive aide.
Black licorice is a funny thing in that you either really like it or you don’t care for it at all. I could eat it all day. As far as this ice cream goes though, you don’t have to be a huge licorice fan to enjoy it….but if you happen to be one, you’re going to flip out over this.
The sweet creaminess and the vanilla bean really smooth the edges off of any sharp licorice flavor. What you’re left with is a somewhat invigorating and very balanced flavor. And the texture of the finely ground anise seeds is SO incredible. Sort of like graham cracker powder dissolving in your mouth.
Opt for fresh anise seeds over extract if you can. They only take a minute to grind up in a coffee grinder and they make all the difference. But if you really just want the flavor, I think it would also probably work to steep the whole seeds in the milk and cream and then strain them out before putting in the ice cream maker.
As an aside, isn’t anise such a pretty word? I love the sound of it. Love it to the point that I smile with my eyes every time I hear it and immediately my head fills with its sweet and herbaceous aroma. It’s definitely a tricky word to say though and a lot of people screw it up. Pronounced correctly , the stress should be on the second syllable so that it basically sounds like you’re saying “a-niece” in English. A lot of people say it incorrectly though, with stress on the first syllable so that it basically sounds like your saying “anus” with an “e” instead of a “u.” Huge difference.
Trust me, you’re going to want to keep scraping away at your bowl until you get every last speckle of vanilla and ground anise.
RecipeYou need an ice cream maker to make this. If for some reason you don’t want the texture of the ground anise in your ice cream, steep the seeds whole instead and then strain them out before freezing. Or you can use anise extract (1 teaspoon anise extract = 2 teaspoons anise seed).
- 1 cup whole or 2% milk
- 2 cups cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground anise seed
- 1 vanilla bean
- Split open vanilla bean and remove seeds by running a knife across it. Set aside.
- Place anise seed in a coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of sand. Set aside.
- Heat milk and cream in a pot. Add sugar, vanilla bean and ground anise. Continue cooking on medium heat and stirring for about 10 minutes. Do not let milk boil.
- Remove pot from heat. Allow contents to reach room temperature before transferring to another container and placing in fridge until cold. Once cold, transfer to ice cream maker and follow directions per your machine.