Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Low Carb Orange Szechwan Pepper Ice Cream

I’ve had this recipe from “The Perfect Scoop” in my back pocket for months. David Lebovitz has this to say about this flavor:
After a big meal, when I feel like I can’t eat another bite, I like a dessert that’s been infused with an intriguing flavor, like Szechwan pepper, to coax my taste buds back to life. This ice cream starts off comfortably, with the familiar flavor of orange, and then comes alive with a kick from the Szechwan peppercorns.
The original recipe uses the zest from four oranges. Oranges aren’t low carb so even though I ordered Szechwan peppercorns a while ago, but I never had the opportunity to try this recipe. I tried using McCormick Gourmet Valencia Orange Peel instead, but I had better success with orange extract. There’s a bitterness that zest imparts to this ice cream that’s not unexpected. An extract doesn’t have this problem. I didn’t particularly like the flavor from the peppercorns. Maybe the ones I bought were subpar, but I didn’t get a “kick” from them at all. In fact, I had to use five times as much as David did in his original recipe. He also crushes his peppercorns, but doing that leaves little hard bits in the ice cream. I made a second batch without crushing them, but some little pieces made it through the fine mesh strainer.

Full disclaimer: I didn’t care for this recipe. Perhaps you’ll have better luck than me.


8 tablespoons (52 g) Szechwan peppercorns
2 cups (484 g) unsweetened almond milk or equivalent
2 tablespoons Truvia
Big pinch salt
1 level scoop (36 g) unflavored whey protein isolate
1 level scoop (28 g) unflavored micellar casein
28 drops EZ-Sweetz
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ teaspoon Dixie Diner’s Thick It Up Low Carb Thickener
2 tablespoons (38 g) vegetable glycerin
1 cup (238 g) heavy cream
1 teaspoon orange extract


  1. Heat the almond milk, Truvia and salt with the crushed Szechwan peppercorns in a medium (preferably non-stick) saucepan. Once warm (close to boiling), cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Rewarm the Szechwan pepper–infused mixture. Put a strainer on top of a 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Pour the mix through the strainer.

    Strained peppercorns.

    Add the rest of the ingredients except the heavy cream. Beat with an electric mixer at maximum speed for approximately one minute.
  3. Add the heavy cream and stir with a silicone spatula gently. Do not use an electric mixer while the heavy cream is cold.
  4. Transfer mix back to the medium pot and heat on medium to medium-high while constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot using a heat resistant silicone spatula. Monitor the temperature. When it reaches 161 °F, lower the heat, start a cooking timer, and keep stirring for five more minutes. Do not allow the temperature get much hotter or cooler. Remove pot from the heat source temporarily while stirring, if needed.
  5. Transfer mix to a 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup and beat with an electric mixer at maximum speed for approximately five minutes.
  6. Add orange extract. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in a refrigerator for 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight.
  7. Remove from the refrigerator. The mix will be thick and slightly gelatinous. Add whatever flavoring is desired like vanilla extract, and mix by hand with a silicone spatula or whisk before transferring to the ice cream maker. The mix should be homogeneous.
Scoops of ice cream.

Scoops of ice cream.


Orange-Cardamom Ice Cream: substitute 2 teaspoons cardamom seeds, crushed, for the Szechwan pepper.

Orange-Clove Ice Cream: substitute 10 to 15 crushed whole cloves (depending on how clovey you want your ice cream) for the Szechwan pepper.

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