This is the most delicate and exquisite of desserts. You may sprinkle it with a few curls of bitter chocolate to provide contrast in color and flavor with the light ice cream and surround it with mint leaves. Keep the leftover whites for soupirs aux amandes.
Scald the milk. In a heavy saucepan, beat the egg yolks and sugar until very thick and lemon-colored. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the hot milk. Put over a moderately low flame and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Let the custard cool at room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator. Stir in the orange blossom water and vanilla. Taste to see if the mixture is sweet enough and flavored enough (freezing diminishes the taste so it should be fairly strong). Place the mixture in an ice cream freezer and turn until smooth and thick. Pack in a mold, cover with foil, and place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
Put a piece of chocolate on a sheet of waxed paper on the top of the stove near the pilot light. When it has softened somewhat, shave off little curls of chocolate with a potato peeler or a sharp knife. Decorate a large platter with mint leaves. Run the mold quickly under hot water and invert on the platter. Sprinkle the chocolate curls on top and serve with a sweet wine (vin cuit or vin à l’orange) and Soupirs aux Amandes.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.