In my part of the world it’s the season for rain, rain and more rain from June through August, and a bit of September. It means frequently getting drenched because sometimes umbrellas or rainwear just cannot keep the rain out. Wading through ankle-deep water puddles, trying to drive through a deluge which makes just about everything invisible and laundry that feels damp and cold even though it is dry is not fun. Grey, overcast skies through which the sun doesn’t even peek sometimes can be depressing.
Yet, I love the monsoons. Not only is the rain so welcome after the unbearable heat of the summer, I can feel the magic that it brings with it.
Have you smelt the first rains on parched earth or felt the joy of getting wet in the sudden rain just when you thought you couldn’t take the summer anymore?
Have you seen the rains approaching you from the sea slowly, like a misty curtain across the expanse of blue-grey water?
Have you watched the rain outside, from the warmth and comfort of your favourite chair, with a book and cup of piping hot spiced tea for company?
So now you all know I love the rains!
The one thing that the rain is giving me grief with these days is when I need light for my photography. I have just about got the hang of taking pictures in natural light and as you can see, I have a long way to go with low light photography!
Now one thing I’m guessing most people do not do during the rains, is eating ice-cream. We enjoy eating ice-cream at anytime of the year, monsoons included, and I am one of those unusual people (you could call me weird too!) who sometimes also makes ice-cream during the rains.
My home-made ice-creams (or gelatos) are always eggless and mostly low fat because I do not usually add any cream either. Of all the flavours I have made, one I never have is vanilla.
When we were kids, and I don’t know why, ice-cream somehow didn’t figure very much in our lives. It was an occasional treat and the only flavours that do come to my mind from back then are vanilla and chocolate.
Once I was older, vanilla was that brown liquid in a small bottle which we used to flavour cake batter with! So the idea of vanilla ice-cream paled in comparison with more exotic or unusual flavours.
Then I discovered vanilla beans and the yawning difference between the vanilla in a pod and that brown stuff in a little bottle. Yet it has taken me all this while to make that vanilla ice-cream. When I finally did, I still couldn’t get over my prejudice and wanted to add a little “something” to make it better!
I turned to our resident vanilla ice-cream expert and Akshaya came up with the idea of cookies in ice-cream after some Oreo cookies in vanilla ice-cream she remembered eating at Baskin & Robbins.
The store nearest to didn’t have any Oreos in stock but he had Pure Magic Vanilla Crème cookies (much better than Oreos, in my opinion), so I used those to make my Cookie Crunch Vanilla ice-cream.
Eggless Cookie Crunch Vanilla Ice-cream
3/4 litre milk (3%)
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 tbsp cornstarch
100ml cream (25%)
6 chocolate-vanilla cream cookies
(I used Pure Magic Vanilla Crème)
Take about 1/4 cup of the milk and keep it aside.
Put the remaining milk and sugar in a thick walled pan and slowly bring it to boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat down and allow the milk to simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Slit open the vanilla bean and scrape the pulp inside and add to the milk. Chop the beans into pieces and also add to the milk. Take the milk off the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse into the milk for about an hour.
Strain the vanilla infused milk, to remove the vanilla bean pieces. Return the milk to the thick walled pan and just bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium.
Now dissolve the cornstarch in the 1/4 cup milk and add it to the simmering milk, stirring constantly to make sure no lumps form.
Cook just till the milk thickens into a custard and coats the back of the spoon. Take it off the stove and allow it to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.
Add the cream to the thickened milk and whisk by hand till smooth. Pour the ice cream into a flat container and freeze till set.
Take the ice-cream out and break up the crystals by mixing it with a fork or hand held blender till mushy. Freeze till set. Repeat this process of breaking up crystals two more times fro a creamy ice-cream.
After the last time you do this, break the crème cookies into pieces and add this to the ice-cream. Fold it just enough to uniformly distribute the cookie pieces.
Freeze till ready to serve. Serve with chocolate cake or brownies, caramel or chocolate sauce, just by itself or any way you wish.
This recipe makes enough ice-cream for 6.