A few years ago, my brother Will and I were both at home in Maine for the summer. He had just finished his freshman year of college, and I was on an extended layover after a winter in Barcelona, while making a plan for returning to L.A. It had been four or five years since my brother and I had lived in the same house. I was no longer angsty teen and he had grown from being what I considered a “kid” but we were quick to observe our mutual enjoyment of many things. We took to running, hiking, and cooking together. We watched the entire series of “Arrested Development” in two days, and found fun in returning to places we remembered from earlier years.
One such spot was a farm-stand of sorts on the outskirts of the town we grew up in. It’s a little market that sells fresh produce, homemade jams, bread, sauces, and salad, cheese, local brews, good wine, and live lobsters. I remember going as a child and always being asked by one of the two sisters who own it if I’d like to hold a lobster. I never did. Too scary!
It was funny to me that the sisters recognized Will and I immediately even though we hadn’t been there in ages. We weren’t really looking for anything in particular but simultaneously honed in on a freezer containing homemade ice cream. Will pulled out a carton labeled “Curry Cashew.” Our eyes got wide in a “this looks amazing” kind of way. One of the sisters saw this. “You need to get that ice cream! You need to take it home, and fry up some nectarines to eat on top of it.” We were sold.
The combination of sweetness and spice in this ice cream is perfect. I used a mixture of graham masala and curry powder because I was too afraid that if I used just curry that the ice cream would be too “hot.” The combination of spices is good but I suspect that using curry powder alone would actually be fine. Also in the mix is coconut milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, and roasted cashews.
The fried nectarine is perfect accompaniment. Like I said about banana, if you’ve never sautéed a nectarine, the time is now. Skillet + butter + nectarine = mind blown. Just halve the fruit, remove the pit and cook, cut-side down in a skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of butter until well browned. Turn the fruit over and cook for a minute or so more with the rounded side down, then eat it with this ice cream!
In general, I do my cooking with my laptop perched somewhere in or immediately near the kitchen. Whenever I make something kind of amazing I immediately skype my brother to tell him about it. I had hardly finished pouring the curry cashew mix into the ice cream maker when I logged on.
Me: I just made THE ice cream!
Will: Curry Cashew?
Curry Cashew Ice Cream
Inspired by The Green Spot
2 14 oz Cans Light Coconut Milk
1 C Brown Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Ground Curry Powder
2 tsp Graham Masala
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 C Roasted (Unsalted) Cashew Pieces
Directions: In a 2 or 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, warm coconut milk and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks together. When coconut milk is warm, slowly pour 1/3 of the milk over the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Add warmed egg yolks to saucepan. Lower heat to medium-low and add spices and vanilla. Whisk constantly until mixture is thick like custard. Remove from heat and refrigerate in a covered bowl until thoroughly chilled. When mixture is cold, stir in cashew pieces and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.