Monday, April 7, 2008

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream

If you have a problem with ice cream, then you have a problem with me. That's no joke.

You'll be hard pressed to find anyone who enjoys ice cream as much as I do. I'm not prejudiced. Chocolate or vanilla, with tasty morsels or luscious caramel ripples, in a bowl or atop a cone; I love it all. Portion control can sometimes be a problem, but I won't rest until the FDA responds to my demand to increase the amount of a single serving. A half of a cup? Who are they kidding? A half of a quart is more realistic. That equals a pint for all of you non-baking/not concerned with measurement folks, which is convenient when you're sitting down with a full container of Haagen Dazs.

Last Christmas I received an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. It's the gift that keeps on giving, both for me and for the giver, who likes ice cream almost as much as I do. It works just as well as some other freestanding models I've tried, but requires a lot less cabinet space.

I had a hankering for butter pecan. I don't usually crave that particular flavor, but it seemed that with top notch ingredients like Plugra butter and gray sea salt, that a home version might yield amazing results. My intuition was correct.

The magical ice cream freezer bowl has been hanging out in the freezer overnight, getting good and frozen, and ready for action. Commence ice cream making!

The first thing to do is get the pecans good and toasty. Put them in a pan over low heat for a few minutes, giving them a good shake once in a while. They'll get a bit darker and will smell nuttier. Remove from the heat and douse them with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Leave them to cool and soak up all of that goodness.

Before it's ice cream, it's custard. It's eggs, sugar, cream, and milk, tempered together and cooked until slightly thickened, then strained out and cooled.

The straining part is really important, unless you like scrambled egg curds in your hot fudge sundae.

After allowing the custard to chill, transfer it to your maker and follow the instructions that came with it. You still have the manual right?

Somewhere between twelve and fifteen minutes, my KitchenAid transformed that cream sauce into velvety soft serve. The paddle is made of plastic, and I'm seriously afraid of breaking it. The nuts could lodge between the paddle and bowl and wreak some serious havoc, so I manually stirred in the butter-drunk pecans rather than tossing them into the mixer. Resist the urge to stick a straw in it and drink it milkshake style. Again, the nuts could lodge in the straw and cause some serious havoc. Just get it into a sealed container and into the freezer. Give it time.(you can do this - just sit on your hands, rock back and forth, and hum for 7 hours while it firms up).

The next day pretty much rules.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
1 cups pecan pieces
2 tablespoons Plugra
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream


the agnostic servant said...

huh? i've never once see you eat ice cream! let alone talk about it.

what else are you hiding from me???

Beth said...

"if you don't know me by now, you will never never never know me"

Come on! You've never noticed that any dessert we order that includes an ice cream component gets it's plate licked clean? Well, I guess that's most dessert plates, regardless of it's components.