Charoset Ice Cream

Adapted from Stella Parks’ No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

This ice cream is a warm-spring-day homage to charoset, specifically the first ever recorded recipe, from an Ancient Babylonian prayer book. The recipe, which was known as “halek” called for mixing walnuts and sesame with softened dates. We love the combo of rich tahini ice cream,  the caramel-like date syrup swirl, and toasted walnut chunks. 

Tahini is not technically kosher-for-Passover for Ashkenazi Jews as it is made with sesame seeds, and is therefore kitniyot. If you are observing these dietary rules, you can replace the tahini with ½ tsp of cinnamon, which will produce a different but still delicious flavour. While not an element of “halek”, cinnamon references the tradition of incorporating “long” spices into charoset, to evoke the straw included in the bricks the Israelites used to build the pyramids.

Ingredients

¾ cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
3 Tbsp tahini
¾ cup toasted walnuts, lightly chopped
3 Tbsp date syrup, divided

directions

Whip the cream until you have stiff peaks. You can do this in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer or whisk. Transfer the cream to a large non-reactive container that will be used to hold the ice cream later on (this means a bowl or container made of stainless steel, ceramic, or glass that won’t react with the alkaline or acid foods being put in it), then cover and refrigerate until needed. Rinse the bowl and whisk, then wipe dry before re-using in step 2.

Choose a large pot that will comfortably balance your whisking bowl and fill with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Place eggs, sugar, and salt in your whisking bowl, and stir with a flexible spatula to combine. Set the bowl over the steaming pot, using a crumpled strip of foil formed into a ring to act as a booster seat so that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pot, if needed. Cook, stirring and scraping constantly, until warmed to 160°F (71°C), about 5 minutes. 

Once the egg mixture has reached the desired temperature, remove from heat and whip on high speed until the mixture is foamy, more than quadrupled in size, and thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk.

Carefully fold in the tahini and walnut pieces, doing your best not to deflate the whipped eggs. Once the mix-ins are incorporated, fold in the prepared whipped cream, again being careful to not deflate or overmix. 

Scrape ⅓ of the mixture back to the now-chilled container and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the date syrup. Top with ½ of the remaining mixture and drizzle again with 1 Tbsp of the date syrup. Scrape the rest of the mixture into the container and top with the last Tbsp of date syrup. If you would like your swirl to be further incorporated throughout the ice cream, you can take a chopstick, or the back of a long wooden spoon and swirl it carefully through the mixture.

Cover and freeze for 6 to 8 hours, until it reaches the texture of hard ice cream. Scoop and serve!

About 1 litre
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