Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Nutmeg, and Cardomom are all spices that make up this cold and tasty dessert. In Guyana (a hot and humid country in South America), we call this dessert “Ice block” or “Custard block” and the reason is because of the texture of the finished product. It is not a soft ice cream, but has more of a texture like Indian kulfi (Indian ice cream) or the type of Italian ice that you use a wooden scraper for. The outstanding flavor comes from boiling custard powder, milk, and eggs till its thick and creamy, seasoned with indulgent spices, poured into a pan then put into the freezer. What results is a hard “block” like iced treat!
Custard block was adapted from the British, probably because Birds Custard powder, which is used in this recipe, is a British product. However, over time the look and taste of the dessert has changed as people added their own flavors and spices to really make it their own. I wouldn’t say this dessert is healthy, but it perhaps is a better choice than your regular grocery store ice cream because it doesn’t contain the same stabilizers and emulsifiers that your typical Haagen Dazs or Ben&Jerry’s would. The custard powder used here has some emulsifiers but no where near as many chemical compounds that you would find in the above mentioned ice creams. I am sure though that once you try this recipe, it will either bring you back to your youth growing up in the Caribbean or make its way onto your list of favorite sweet things!
2 Cups Heavy cream
1 Tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp Birds Custard Powder
1/4 Tsp Flour
1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon or 3 sticks (but you will have to remove sticks later)
1/4 Tsp ground cardomom (optional if you don’t have it)
1 Whole clove (optional)
1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp White Sugar (adjust to your liking)
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1. Do not turn on stove as yet. In a medium to large size saucepan, pour in heavy cream and all the other ingredients except egg. Slowly whisk all the ingredients till mixed in and you cannot see lumps of the custard powder anymore. Slow whisking is important b/c if you whisk to fast you will create air bubbles and we don’t want that! Taste mixture now to see if it has enough sugar for your liking.
2. Whisk egg in a separate bowl then add to the liquid mixture of heavy cream and spices. Whisk together slowly.
3. Now turn the stove to low heat. Really low heat!! This is something you do not want to burn! You will have to stir this continuously and keep an eye on it. When it gets thick almost like a drippy watery yogurt- you know its done. Now is the time to remove the cinnamon stick and whole clove from the pot.
4. You can pour the hot mixture into any pan/molds that you want. I used a trapezoid looking dish and poured the rest into an ice cube tray. Ice cube trays are great b/c you can control how many of these you eat! Let this freeze for 5+ hours then enjoy!
***To garnish*** I simply just put my dish in another bowl of warm water to get the ice cream to get a little soft then I flipped in onto a white plate. I drizzled honey on it and stuck little sliced almonds around the bottom edges after it was on the plate.