Date and Roasted Almond Ice Cream

I fell in love with dates after slurping down the most amazing date shake at Shields Date Farm in California's Coachella Valley. After that, the search was on for a date ice cream recipe.

My favorite is from Kajal Tejsinghani's Aapplemint blog. I've adjusted the ingredient quantities for a 1-qt ice cream maker and provided alternate amounts of sugar depending on the date variety you're using. After making this several times using Medjool and Deglet Noor dates, I've found the latter requires a little more sugar, being not as sweet as the Medjools. Just a couple more tweaks, adding vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, makes it perfect for my tastebuds!

Date and Roasted Almond Ice Cream
Adapted from Aapplemint
Makes about 1 quart

In a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat, combine and heat until steaming, but not boiling:
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (50g) for Medjool dates OR 1/3 cup sugar (67g) for Deglet Noor dates
pinch of salt

Take one cup of the steaming milk/cream mixture and in a blender, puree with:
1 cup firmly packed pitted dates (180g), chopped finely
Before revving up the blender, remember to remove the small center cap. Otherwise, you could end up with a scalding explosion! A kitchen towel over the hole will allow steam to escape while preventing any liquid from spraying out. Set aside the puree.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat until well-combined and smooth:
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar (50g) for Medjool dates OR 1/3 cup sugar (67g) for Deglet Noor dates

Slowly pour the remaining warm milk/cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Heat over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until mixture has thickened and coats the spatula; do not boil. Remove from heat and strain thru a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a clean, medium-sized bowl. Add the date puree and mix thoroughly.

Place a paper towel over the bowl (to absorb any water vapor) and then cover with plastic wrap. Use a rubber band if necessary to hold the paper towel and plastic wrap in place. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare the almonds by melting in a medium-size skillet over low heat:
1/2 tablespoon butter

Add to skillet and toast until golden and aromatic:
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Let cool, then store roasted almonds in an air-tight container.

When the ice cream base is sufficiently chilled, freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. 

Add roasted almonds at the end of churning to mix them in.

Transfer ice cream to a freezer-proof container. Cover ice cream with a sheet of parchment paper before putting the lid on. Harden in freezer for 4 hours before serving.

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