Ice cream may just be my favourite dessert. It’s certainly not the most glamorous. You don’t serve it to impress at parties. But it’s always there, dependably tasty, waiting in the freezer, an old friend who knows you, doesn’t judge and just wants you to be happy. There is a stunning variety of ice creams, so it was only a matter of time before I started making them. Only, what to make?
Luckily, through a serendipitous series of unrelated Google searches and clicked links, I came upon David Lebovitz’s blog, where I saw this book, The Perfect Scoop. It was a no-brainer. None of the recipes from the book are on his site, but he does have some good ones, nevertheless. Throughout the spring and summer, I’ve been making various ice creams, sherbets and sorbets from this book. And just like everything else, homemade ice cream beats anything bought in a store.
There are some truly great recipes in this book. The chocolate ice creams went down as the best the missus has ever tasted. Except for that one time I made Aztec “Hot” chocolate with 2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder instead of 2 teaspoons. Whoopsie!1 The strawberry sorbet, with just 3 ingredients and made with fresh picked berries, was so, so good, it was hard to believe it was natural.
It was only a matter of time that I’d branch out and try my own recipe. I’m a fan of Dr Pepper (who isn’t?), and I find it absolutely fascinating that beer and amaretto together tastes the same (It goes great in barbecue sauce). Hence, my first ice cream. Did it work out?
Before I get to that, let me tell you how to make it. There are two different styles of ice cream: French and Philly. French style uses eggs to make a custard as the base of the batter. These ice creams taste and feel like the store-bought ice cream. They freeze better, I find. Philly style, while easier to make since they’re not made with egg yolks, freeze harder. I chose French style for this. No particular reason.
If you have made ice cream before, you’ll see that this is remarkably similar to all other ice creams. Among the things I’ve learned by making all these ice creams is that once you make one ice cream, making them all is very similar, the only thing that differs is ingredients. One of the goals of this ice cream was to remind one of Dr Pepper. To do that, a bitter beer is better; other, lighter beers just get lost. (So even though, Stock Ale from Mill St Brewery is pictured, it’s a lousy beer for this ice cream. Choose their Tankhouse Ale if you have access.) An India Pale Ale provides the right bitterness.
So did it work? I’m not sure. I liked it. It did accomplish the job of tasting like Dr Pepper, but a cleaner version, with the parts slightly more separated into top, middle and finish. It’s really hard to talk about tastes without sounding like a total douchebag, so maybe I won’t try to clarify that. Everyone that tried it was vaguely enthusiastic, more like they were happy for me for making my own ice cream, rather than the actual ice cream.
Certainly understandable: there’s a reason for all the chocolate and vanilla variations you see in the stores.
Makes 1 quart
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups cream
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup beer, India Pale Ale or similar
- 1/4 cup Amaretto
Get your standard ice cream making equipment set up: a bowl full of ice and water; place 1 cup of cream in a bowl and place a sieve over top. Get your whisk and spatula at the ready.
In a medium saucepan, heat up the sugar, 1 cup of the cream and the salt until the sugar dissolves.
Place the egg yolks in a bowl.
Once the sugar dissolves, pick up the pan for a few seconds. Whisk the eggs and add a little of the heated cream mixture. Whisk whisk whisk. Slowly add the rest. Keep whisking. Put the pan back on the heat and add the cream and egg mixture.
Using the spatula, stir the mixture, playing close attention to how thick it gets. It doesn’t take long; you’re looking for a sticky feeling at the bottom of the pan and it should be thick enough that the path of a finger dragged across the back of a spoon will stay in place. Once that’s ready, take it off the heat, pour the batter into the remaining cream through the sieve. Stir to combine. Add the beer and Amaretto. Place the bowl into your ice water bowl and swish the batter around to cool it quickly.
Once it’s reached room temperature or close to it, cover it and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours, overnight is best.
Add to your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- My little one tried it – she would slap the sides of her head and shake it side to side. But she kept asking for more. [↩]