If there is one sweet my husband truly loves, it's ice cream, and I try to have some in the freezer at all times. He never tires of it, so I figured a special ice cream recipe would be a fun Valentine's day treat to make for him.
- You can find the James Beard recipe here.
- Seriously, you've gotta love this recipe's simple directions for making ice cream base: "combine all ingredients and stir!" I wasn't sure that the sugar or the instant coffee would dissolve when mixed with a bunch of cream from the fridge.
- I made half a recipe of this ice cream because a full recipe calls for a cup of cognac and that's an awful lot of Henne$$y to use in one recipe!- I'm pretty used to ice cream recipes that call for the sugar to be combined with some of the liquid and heated, and that's what I did here. I warmed 1 cup of the cream with the sugar and coffee until they both dissolved. Then I added this heated mixture to the rest of the cream in an ice bath. I used half and half in place of the recipe's light cream.
- Alcohol is a useful addition to homemade ice cream because it keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard. In cases where you don't want the flavor to stand out, vodka is a good choice. For fruit-based ice creams, David Lebovitz, my ice cream guru, recommends kirsch.
- When it came time to add the cognac, I got cold feet. David Lebovitz's rule of thumb is that 3 tablespoons is about the upper limit of alcohol to use for each quart of ice cream. And yet this recipe calls for a whopping half cup, which comes out to 4 ounces - 8 tablespoons! - for less than a quart of ice cream! As I was pouring the cognac into the ice cream base, it was looking like a ton of cognac. I didn't want the ice cream to be a slushy, non-freezing mess, so I stopped at 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) for the half recipe.- Luckily the ice cream froze despite the large amount of alcohol, but once out of the freezer it melted at lightning speed. I seriously doubt that the ice cream would have frozen if it had the full amount of cognac.
I'm used to ice cream with alcohol; I routinely add rum to our everyday vanilla ice cream and I've made an assortment of alcohol-flavored ice creams (for example, here and here) I've also churned several different coffee ice creams, but I've never combined the coffee with alcohol in ice cream, so I was curious to sample Beard's recipe. The taste of the cognac was front and center - this ice cream is quite boozy - but the coffee provided a nice supporting flavor. In fact, the ice cream was a little bit like a frozen Irish coffee.
My husband enjoyed this ice cream flavor quite a bit. When I told him he couldn't polish off the carton of ice cream quite yet because I needed to photograph it, his comment was, "Why? all ice cream looks the same." I have to admit that he has a point, especially given all the tan and white ice creams that we eat! Luckily I could placate him with cookies and saved the ice cream to photograph the next day in daylight.
Because this ice cream was not custard based it tasted a little "thin" when I ate it on its own. But with a brownie on the side, this ice cream was an amazing complement to the chocolate. A perfect Valentine's dessert.
Happy Valentine's Day!