In 2009, I was asked to make an ice cream to sell at the Art Car Boot Fair in London’s Bethnal Green. The theme that year was “recession special.” There were a lot of “credit crunchy” kind of flavors going on among cake bakers, but I wanted to try to make a cheap milk ice out of pea pods (pods are popping with sweet fresh flavor but are usually thrown away, and that seems a shame). I billed it as 100p ice cream and sold scoops for a pound a pop. It went down a storm, and I still make it now in the summer—albeit a slightly more costly custard version. It’s delightful served with fresh strawberries or Garriguette Strawberry ice cream on the side, plus a sprinkle of sea salt flakes.
- To prepare the ice cream: Wash the peas in their pods and then pod them, reserving the pods. Blanch the fresh podded peas in boiling water for 30 seconds and then refresh them in iced water to preserve their color; drain and put them in the fridge, covered.
- Heat the milk, cream and salt together, stirring occasionally. As soon as the liquid reaches simmering point, add the pea pods and simmer them for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and blitz the pods and liquid with a stick blender for a minute. Strain the mixture through a sieve, squeezing hard on the pods to extract as much flavor from them as possible. Discard the blitzed pea pods.
- Wash the pan and pour the fragrant milk-and-cream mixture back into it. Bring to a simmer. Stir often using a whisk or silicone spatula to prevent it catching. Once the liquid is hot and steaming, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a separate bowl until combined.
- Pour the hot liquid over the yolks in a thin stream, whisking continuously. Return all the mix to the pan and cook over a low heat until it reaches 82°C. Stir constantly to avoid curdling the eggs, and keep a close eye on it so as not to let it boil. As soon as your digital thermometer says 82°C, place the pan into a sink of ice water to cool. Speed up the cooling process by stirring the mix every so often. Once the custard is at room temperature, scrape it into a clean container, cover with cling film, and chill in the fridge overnight.
- To make the ice cream: The following day, add the blanched peas to the custard and liquefy with a stick blender for 2 minutes, or until it turns froggy green. Use a small ladle to push the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure it is perfectly smooth.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream machine. Churn according to the machine's instructions, usually about 20-25 minutes, or until frozen and the texture of whipped cream.
- Scrape the ice cream into a suitable lidded container. Top with a piece of waxed paper to limit exposure to air, cover, and freeze until ready to serve. Eat within a week.