We are in prime time citrus season right now, and you’d better take advantage of it if you haven’t already. Oranges are so ripe and mouth watering right now that we really wanted to feature a flavor that made the orange pop. We wanted to get a concentrated orange flavor into the ice cream naturally, and after much thought, we decided our best route would be to candy the rind.
One the other side of the spectrum, we needed a good pairing. We’ve been toiling over making a Fennel flavored base ever since we dropped our Almond Green Anise with Figs flavor last Fall. This seemed like the opportune time to showcase a fennel based ice cream paired with seasonal oranges.
Organic Navel Oranges and Fennel. Everyone knows oranges, but fennel is a mystery to a lot of people. It can be eaten raw or cooked. In its raw form, fennel has a sweetness with a subtle anise flavor. When cooked, the anise flavor becomes even more tenuous, to the point that if you are not a fan of anise flavor, you wouldn’t hardly know it was there. For this batch, we cook the fennel.
One of my favorite ways to prepare Fennel is to braised it in butter, stock and lemon juice. It then gets finished with a glaze of the braising liquid and grated Parmesan.
For the ice cream, we chopped up our Fennel bulb and toss it in our cream. We did a short braise, allowed the mixture to cool, and then strained out the Fennel chunkers.
The final product is a complex Fennel cream base that becomes the backbone to this flavor.
Next, we peel the rind off of the oranges, chop ’em, cover with water, bring to a boil, strain, and repeat a few more times. This process slowly reduces the bitterness of the rind. They then get simmered down with a simple syrup of sugar and water, then strained and tossed with sugar. In the end we are left with natural candied orange that we throw into the ice cream at the end of the churn.
This is it folks – Fennel with Candied Orange. The sweet fennel cream with a chewy orange punch is something you won’t find at another ice cream shop. You saw it here first.
Like to try some? As we do every week, we’ll be giving away two pints of this flavor. Just leave a comment on our facebook page to be entered into the drawing. If you don’t have a facebook account, leave a comment right here on the blog. We’ll draw two winners on Friday afternoon (2/17/2012) at 4pm and will announce them on our facebook page. Our only conditions are you must be able to pick it up here in Minneapolis, and be willing to give us a little feedback that can be shared with everyone else. Good luck!