I was so delighted when I heard that absinthe had been made legal once again. Not that we really need one more vehicle for alcohol in the world, but the romance surrounding this particular spirit has tremendous appeal to my bohemian alter ego, having been the drug of choice for many brilliant turn-of-the-century artists.
Among my favorites of Pablo Picasso’s works is “Glass of Absinthe,” a series of painted bronze sculptures, each with an actual silver absinthe spoon--a unique triangular device placed over the glass, on which a sugar cube would sit, slowly dissolving as water was poured over it, onto the absinthe below, diluting it and turning it milky-opaque. The "glasses" themselves are bizarrely distorted, reflecting the legendary bleary hallucinogenic effect associated with overindulging in "the Green Fairy."
I admit I borrowed the idea of using absinthe with truffle bits as an ice cream flavor from David Lebowitz, although the non-dairy composition and background flavor of pistachio are all mine. I made a base of cashew cream, pistachio cream, and almond milk, to which I added evaporated cane juice, a pinch of salt, and, of course, a healthy slug of absinthe. The truffles I used for this first run were incomplete--they weren't dipped, so they're missing that thin crunchy shell--and I'm not quite finished working on the new formula, but the ice cream is still awfully good. Definitely one for my next book.
The insanely high alcohol content of absinthe keeps the ice cream from freezing completely, so it's always ready for scooping, fresh from the freezer. An unabashedly adult indulgence, to be sure.