Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Beer Ice Cream

I've been tinkering around with beer ice cream for a while. How incredibly rude to not have shared this goodness until now.

One of my favorite beers to use is a Belgian dubbel ...rich and malty with hints of toffee, figs, and plums coupled with those intoxicating yeasty esters and phenolics of banana and clove. In this instance I opted for one of our lovely local breweries in Minneapolis, Boom Island Brewing Company, and their Hoodoo Dubbel.

But don't let my recommended favorite prevent you from playing around. Any malt forward beer will work. Think stouts and porters, Scottish ales, browns, bocks, and milds. Moderate alcohol levels are preferred. Too low and the ice cream can freeze rock solid. Too much and you have soft serve on your hands (not necessarily a bad thing). An ABV in the 6%-9% range is ideal. Don't let that prevent you from using your favorite barleywine, wee heavy, Russian imperial stout or old ale though...but plan reducing the full amount of beer down, or using less beer overall to ensure the ice cream firms up.

Avoid hoppy beers...the bitterness is intensified when the beer is reduced. But rest assured, I am working on a way to turn your favorite IPA into a frozen treat. It may or may not involve actual hops in addition to the beer...

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

yields about 1 quart

The Ingredients:
12 oz malt forward beer, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream

The Process:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add 10 oz of the beer, reserving the remaining 2 oz. Reduce to about half, stirring to prevent the beer from foaming up. Combine the reduced beer to the reserved 2 oz. Add the vanilla and set aside to cool.

Set up an ice bath of cold water and ice in a large bowl. Set fine mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl and position into the ice bath. Set aside.

In a clean, medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth. Whisk in the cream until well combined. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard begins to thicken. Keep the stovetop low and continue gently stirring to avoid inadvertently making scrambled eggs. Bring the custard up to 180 F and promptly remove from heat.

Carefully strain the custard through the fine mesh strainer into the bowl set over the ice bath. Pour slowly...you don't want to capsize the custard into the ice bath below. Whisk in the reduced beer. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, stirring periodically. Remove from the ice bath, cover, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Using an ice cream maker, freeze the chilled base according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer the ice cream to a 1.5 qt container and allow to set in the freezer for an additional 24 hours.

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