September 2, 2016
This is really, really good stuff – we liked it so much I made it twice in three weeks. But you have to have some time on your hands. The recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated (warning – pay site). There are two parts to making this treat so delicious. First, it’s based on a custard base (using eggs). I’ve never made ice cream with eggs before.
The second key is to reduce the chance for ice crystals to form which would interfere with a rich creamy dessert. To accomplish that we use some corn syrup and keep things cold before, during, and after churning.
Here are the game changing ingredients. I took this picture with my new Sony A7Rii camera and a 90mm macro lens. I wanted to see how shallow I could get my depth of field. Pretty shallow it turns out. The front corner of the egg carton and the “Heath” on the package are in focus – everything else fades into the background. You can click on the photo to get a full size version to see better. Fun!
We don’t use coffee extract or brewed coffee; rather, we toss fresh coarse ground coffee into the mixture while it cooks. Be sure to use coarse coffee grounds. On my first attempt used fine ground coffee and had little bits of coffee grounds in the finished product. It didn’t taste bad but the coarse grind does better.
This was the first time I tempered anything while cooking. Way back when the boys were in college Carla and I tried to make some candy of some sort to send them. It involved adding eggs to a hot chocolate mixture. We ended up with scrambled eggs mixed with hot chocolate. As Alton Brown would say: not good eats. We get around that problem here by tempering the egg mixture. We whisk the egg yolks with some sugar, then slowly drizzle in one cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs while whisking. This allows the ingredients to incorporate without reaching the curdling temperature for the eggs. Once the ingredients are combined, it all goes back in the pan with the remaining heated cream mixture.
Normally, I’d just cool the mixture for a couple of hours then churn it up. Nope, we need it to be cold, cold, cold to keep those nasty ice crystals at bay. So we separate the custard into two groups. One cup goes in a glass container to freeze overnight and the rest goes into the refrigerator. While we are at it, put an empty 9×9 metal baking pan in the freezer – we’ll use that the next day as well.
Now it’s tomorrow! We mix the frozen custard in with the cold custard mixing until the frozen part is just melted. Now it’s all much colder than it would get just in the refrigerator overnight. We don’t want to eat coffee grounds, so pass the custard through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to get the creamy goodness while leaving the gross coffee ground behind.
Take a little taste of the custard. OMG, this is rich and delicious; should we just get some straws and drink it like a thick milkshake? Nah, it will get even better. Put the custard in your ice cream mixer and let it spin for 20-25 minutes until the temperature reaches about 21° F.
During the last minute or two toss in the Heat Bar chunks. The Cooks Illustrated recipe calls for chocolate-covered cocoa nibs. Good luck finding that (later I found them at Trader Joes). I like Heath Bar chunks so I used that instead.
Now pour the ice cream into that frozen baking pan, spreading it out evenly; then put it back in the freezer for about an hour. Why? to freeze it solid quickly eliminating ice crystals.
We are almost ready. After an hour scoop the ice cream from the baking pan into a container, put plastic wrap down on the surface to keep out the air (air means ice crystals!) and let it freeze a while longer.
Finally! It’s time to eat.
You can see in the image above that it wants to melt pretty quickly – that’s because there are no yucky stabilizers. Serving in a cold bowl would be awesome.
I told you it was a lot of work, but totally worth it! We attend yoga at our local 24 Hour Fitness Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings. Afterward a group of us go over to get coffee and discuss the topics of the day. Janet organized our first-ever pot luck dinner in early August. I made this for dessert and it got rave reviews. You can find a copy of the recipe here.