On the face of it, beer and ice cream make for an unlikely combination. Like steak and kidney muffins, or Sandra Bullock and Oscar statuettes, these are pairings that would never occur naturally but every once in a while, fate throws these things together and the end result can be pleasantly surprising (or just surprising).
In the case of my stout ice cream, it worked splendidly! I was initially dubious about the idea but on paper it seemed to make sense; stout is packed with so much body and flavour - toffee, chocolate and coffee notes - incorporate that into ice cream and you should have the recipe for a delicious bowl of "win". So, it was off to the Kai Lab to give it a go.
The recipe comprises two parts: making a reduction with the beer which provides the flavour component, and making the actual ice cream itself. Unlike traditional ice creams, this is not creme anglaise-based (cooked off yolks, sugar and cream); neither does it require an ice cream maker. The recipe lends itself to all manner of flavours too, so feel free to experiment with it later. Now, off to work:
Stout Ice Cream (makes over a litre)
x ml bottles of stout
Empty your stout (I used local brewer, Hawke's Bay Independent Brewery's Black Duck Porter) into a pot. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer vigiorously until reduced to a runny syrup - keep an eye on it towards the end though, otherwise it will reduce too much and burn. After about minutes, I was left with a thin syrup which upon cooling, became quite thick and treacly. The smell was amazing - rich, nutty and yeasty and surprisingly sweet. Leave to cool, or hasten the process by placing the pot over ice. Starting off with L of liquid, I was left with a little under ml of reduction.
Combine all the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and using a balloon whisk attachment (essential because we're trying to incorporate as much air as possible into the mix), beat until pale and the mixture has doubled in volume.
In another bowl, whip together the cream and stout reduction until soft but stop before it forms peaks.
Temper the yolk mix with a little of the cream mix, then add the remainder - fold, combining thoroughly, but don't work it too much because we don't want to lose the volume we've gone to the trouble of creating.
Pour into a container and freeze overnight.
So how did it taste? Bloody amazing! Caramel, golden syrup, faintly bread/yeasty/nutty - very, very flavoursome - I was well impressed. This is going to be made again over winter and would go well with bread puddings or sticky date puddings. If you make some, tell me what kind of stout you used and how it turned out.
Now, time to keep my cardiologist in work - I'm off for seconds (and by seconds, I mean fourths).
A big sabre-rattling "huzzah" to two people: Millie Mirepoix for inspiring me - this actually started out as a post on making a beershake! She twittered about encountering one while exploring the USA and it kinda intrigued me, but I got sidetracked, so I'll do it later. Follow her on t'twitter here. And much thanks to Kyla for the use of her grunty Kenwood mixer - I have all manner of gadgets in my kitchen (modded candy floss maker? wasabi grater, anyone?) except a half decent benchtop mixer. Ice cream coming your way, Mrs Grant...