Saturday, October 12, 2019

Green Crab Ice Cream

The best part about making my own ice cream is that I can control the amount of sugar that goes in it and I can add just about anything that I want...including green crab roe! Most commercial ice cream here in the US is way too sweet for me, making it difficult for me to enjoy. 

When I was a child living in the hot humid weather of Vietnam I remember that it was a real treat to be driven to the nearby city for ice cream. Each of us would get 3 tiny balls of durian ice cream about an inch in diameter. This may seem child size but that was the only size! Even to this day the size of that ice cream scoop remains the same in that part of Vietnam. I remember the ice cream was not overly sweet but was very creamy with the right balance of durian. If you do not like durian then you are out of luck because that was the only flavor!

This may be the first green crab ice cream recipe in print since these destructive species invaded the US back in the 1800s! As with all of my recipes feel free to adjust the ingredients. You may use either cooked salted green crab roe or unsalted. However, I think the salted roe is tastier and it enhances the overall flavors of the sweet ice cream! If you prefer more roe then add more. The idea to use salted roe came from the Teochew (Chinese) sweet pastry known as "pia". Many of them are made with salted duck egg yolks. For less fat content you may use 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream. I mixed the chopped roe in during the processing and that resulted in having scattered orange specks with a subtle salty flavor in the ice cream. I prefer to use vanilla beans over the extract but you can use what is affordable and available. I wish I had access to fresh pandan leaves (sometimes known as the vanilla of Southeast Asia) but I have to make do with what I have.

green crab ice cream ready for the freezer

Green Crab Ice Cream (makes about 2 1/2 pints or 5 cups)


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean pod or tsp vanilla extract
1 oz chopped cooked salted green crab roe, cooled


Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise if using and scrape out the tiny black beans. Add the beans and pod halves to the heavy cream, milk, and sugar in a medium sized pot and turn the heat to medium high. Stir occasionally until just boiling, then turn down heat to a simmer and stir occasionally (to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning) for about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl, and temper this with the heated liquid. Add vanilla extract if you are not using the bean.

Let the contents cool completely, cover and chill in a refrigerator. Best if chilled overnight. Remove the bean pod halves.

Stir the chilled liquid and salted crab roe and process in your ice cream maker for 30 minutes or according to your manufacturer's instructions.

Pour the ice cream into a container and place in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours or overnight to firm up. Once firm you can start eating.

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