Friday, December 17, 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Caramelized Almonds

For my twenty-third birthday, my parents bought me my first ever ice-cream maker! :-) Ever since, I have been staying up late into the night concocting my own ice cream creations.

The vanilla ice cream recipe I used for this was from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. Every single recipe I have tried out of Lebovitz's book has been a success; he is the god of ice cream!

For the dark chocolate, I melted some bittersweet dark chocolate over a double broiler, and drizzled it into the ice cream during the last few minutes of churning.

For the caramelized almonds, I melted sugar in a saucepan, added the almonds, and then spread them out on a cookie sheet to cool. You then want to break them into small pieces using your weapon of choice (knife, pie roller...) or by putting them in a ziploc bag and smashing the shit out of it. As with the chocolate, the almonds should be added with the last few minutes of churning.

Vanilla Ice Cream

About 1 quart (1l)

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

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