Monday, November 11, 2013

Irish Whiskey Ice Cream with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble

This was not the ice cream inspired by the pretty (but inedible) brie and cranberry ice cream, but a different one entirely, that I made almost a month ago around the same time I baked the chocolate everything cookies.

The sight of homemade ice cream, rich with brown sugar, pecans, and the starring ingredient, whiskey, melting over warm chocolate cookies makes my taste buds want to do a little happy dance, but fortunately, the whiskey in the ice cream kept me from over-indulging since I only appreciate it in small amounts.

Were it not for Jamie, I may to this day have never tasted bourbon or whiskey and learned that, while I don't enjoy drinking them on their own, I do love the flavor they add to desserts, and the velvety smooth texture they contribute to ice cream.

Since alcohol doesn't freeze, it makes sense that when it's added to ice cream, it lowers the freezing point of the ice cream, giving it an even creamier texture that doesn't freeze as hard as homemade ice cream tends to do.  Overly hard ice cream frustrates Jamie to no end, who, when he wants to scoop ice cream straight from the freezer, doesn't have the patience to wait 10-15 minutes for it to soften, or to dip the ice cream scooper into warm water to coax the ice cream into a creamy little ball.

When I made this recipe, I didn't reduce the whiskey first, and the only cooking time I allowed it was the few minutes needed to thicken the custard, so the alcohol level was high.  Too high, really, to the point that we thought the alcohol overpowered the flavors, and so I recommend reducing the whiskey by half - as noted in the recipe below - to cook off the alcohol first.  Unless, of course, you're looking to get a little buzz from your dessert.

Or, you can just light a match to it if you're feeling brave, but that's something I wouldn't suggest in a small kitchen with overhead cupboards.  Trust me.  We've Jamie's done it - much to my fright - and we're lucky our cupboards survived un-scorched.  And that Jamie still has all his hair.

One Year Ago:   Spiced Buttermilk Waffles with Apple Cider Compote
Two Years AgoCinnamon Roll Cookies

Irish Whiskey Ice Cream
  • 1/2 cup Irish whiskey (such as Jameson)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pour the whiskey into a saucepan.  Over medium low heat, simmer the whiskey until reduced to 1/4 cup.  Let the whiskey cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then whisk in the cream and milk and return to a gentle simmer.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with the egg yolks.  Slowly drizzle one cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly, then scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook the custard over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened enough to coat a spoon.  Stir in the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt; pour through a mesh strainer (to remove any bits of cooked egg) into a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap resting right against the custard and cool overnight in the refrigerator until well chilled.

Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 300 for 5 minutes.  Chop the toasted pecans and place in a bowl; drizzle with the melted butter and molasses and add the nutmeg,  remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Stir until the pecans are coated; cool in the refrigerator until needed.

Churn the custard according to the instructions of your ice cream maker, then stir in the pecans.  Transfer to a container and freeze until firm, about 4-6 hours.

Yields about 1 1/2 quarts

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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