Monday, January 27, 2014

Jasmine Orange Ice Cream

Jasmine Orange Ice Cream
I have made at least 6 different ice creams, but this is the first time I have blogged about one. That's because this one is really, really, really good.

A perfect example of what I wrote about previously, this recipe was created because a bunch of beautiful local oranges fell into my lap, so to speak. We were at our good friends' house this past weekend, and they had this amazing orange tree, loaded with oranges. And they asked me what the heck they should do with all those oranges ...

So I googled how to use oranges, because, well, I'd had a glass or two of wine, and we were watching football, and I wasn't feeling particularly creative at that moment. I found this, and this, and then I found this recipe for jasmine orange cupcakes. Jasmine and orange is a brilliant combination, and not only because the smell of jasmine reminds me a lot of the scent of orange blossoms. 
Orange blossoms and jasmine blossom. Images available at:
While researching these ingredients, I learned that jasmines are in the same family as olive trees, Oleaceae. That was an "of course!" moment for me since we use both in many culinary applications. I also must admit a sentimental attachment to jasmine (I wore jasmine flowers in my hair on our wedding day). So, if you don't love this as much as I do, I will totally understand.

I let that jasmine-orange idea sit in my head overnight. And then I thought . . . ice cream! Aside from emotional chemistry, there is quiet a bit of actual chemistry involved in this (and all) ice cream making. Frankly, ice cream is a rather fantastic structure of air, ice, fat, and sugar.

Ice cream under the microscope
 (From Clarke, 2012, “The Science of Ice Cream” Physics Education 38 (3))
The scientific concept of freezing-point depression is what governs much of texture of the ice cream. Freezing-point depression is when the freezing point of a liquid (here, the milk and cream) is lowered by the presence of other molecules (the sugar). The sugar molecules get in the way of liquid freezing. If you have too little sugar, the ice cream will end up too hard and icy. Too much, and the result is slushy. Just the right amount helps you achieve soft, scoop-able ice cream.

There is a fun article on the science of ice cream at Ice Cream Nation if you'd like to read more. And if you'd rather just eat ice cream instead . . .

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