Issue 03

Recipes

Sweets

Recipe by The Communal TablePhotography by Leela Cyd
Directions

Drain the wheat berries and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with about an inch of water, and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until the wheat berries are tender but still have a chewy bite. This should take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the grain you started with and how long you soaked it. When it’s the right texture, remove from the heat, drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the cream and milk in a large saucepan. Add about ½ cup (56 grams) walnuts and bring to a gentle simmer. As soon as you see bubbles forming at the edges, turn the heat off, cover, and let steep for as long as you can. If you think of this the night before, the walnut flavor will really come alive, but even as much as a half hour is good.

Brown the butter by plopping it in a sauté pan over medium heat. Swirl it around so that it heats evenly. When it’s fully melted, keep moving the pan and keep a close eye on the butter. You’re looking for a golden chestnut color and the moment that it gets there, remove from the heat and transfer to another bowl to stop the cooking. This all happens fast, like a good love affair, and it’s easy to get swept up, but pay attention. Brown butter is absolutely irresistible, so trust your instincts. When it’s a gorgeous color and the smell is making you swoon, act with confidence. As soon as you pull it from the heat and transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the chopped walnuts. They’ll help stop the cooking and also reabsorb some of the butter, which will ehnance your finished ice cream.

Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt.

Strain the cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks until it’s creamy and homogeneous. You have just made a custard base. Set the soaked walnuts aside; they have done their job for this ice cream, but let them dry out and they will still make a fabulous addition to your next granola mixture. Place the custard base back into the large saucepan and cook over medium heat until it’s thick and creamy and coats the back of a spoon. If you want to pull out a thermometer, you’ll cook this mixture until it’s 170°F, which is the perfect temperature for crème anglaise, aka ice cream custard extraordinaire. When it’s perfectly cooked, remove from the heat. Now all you have to do is let it cool. You can do this in an ice-bath situation, or you can do what many home cooks do and just leave it at room temperature for about an hour, then transfer to the refrigerator overnight to finish in the ice cream machine tomorrow (or sometime in the next 2 to 3 days).

Once you’re ready to process, place the ice cream base in your cold machine and process according to the manufacturers instructions. It will take about 40 minutes to reach the right consistency. About halfway through processing, when it’s starting to look thickened, stop the machine and add your buttered walnuts and chewy wheat berries. Turn it back on to thicken all the way.

I love this ice cream served when just processed, a little soft and creamy at the edges. Of course, you can also transfer the mixture into a freezer container and keep it cold for scooping later. Savor with delight and gratitude.

 

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