First, I must thank Pim, "queen of food bloggers" at Chez Pim and now also author of The Foodie Handbook.
It's her Brown Butter Ice Cream recipe that brings us to this monumental moment in my food biography.
Kids, I have made the perfect ice cream to mix the bacon into.
I made Brown Butter and Bacon Pasta back in the early days of HmmFoodGood, and have been in love with the flavor combination since. Naturally, when I read about Pim's ice cream, the first thought that came to mind was, "Hmm...I wonder if we could put bacon in it..."
Off I went, following all the steps listed in Pim's recipe down to the tee...well, except for the chilling in the fridge part.
There are TWO trickiest points in this recipe you must take heed.
First, browning the butter. Too brown and you'll have to strain off the burned chunks. Too light and you won't have the nutty buttery goodness. Once the pot started to foam up, I watched that thing like that Ice Age rat watches an acorn. I had to keep picking up the pot and swirl the foams away to check on the color since I can't see through the foams. This is when your nose comes into play. The moment the butter smells nutty, you know you're there.
I did have all the little brown bits and I kept them in. Not only they looked pretty, they tasted really frakkin' good.
Second and lastly, the sugar. When you're done with the custard and you taste it before sticking it in the fridge to chill, you would feel like it needs a little bit more sugar.
DON'T. ADD. MORE. SUGAR. Pim has configured this out to perfection. Trust me on this one. As a matter of fact, trust HER. It doesn't taste too sweet now but when everything mellows out in the freezer, you will find that it is perfect exactly where it is.
Now, the chilling before churning. I learned the metal-bowl-in-iced-water trick from my first ice cream experience. Almost instant gratification, I like! So, after blending, I poured the custard in a metal pot partly submerged in iced water and whisked it about until the mixture is chilled.
My one mistake was in the churning. I think I might have taken the mixture off the machine a bit too soon. Patience surely is not one of my virtues. Haha!
But deep down, my real fear is that I would keep "tasting" the mixture and there wouldn't be any left to freeze.
Instead of the creamy, scoop-able goodness I should've gotten, my ice cream is rock solid out of the freezer. However, after leaving it out, it's totally easy to scoop and as smooth and creamy as it was supposed to be.
If this somehow happens to you, I'd suggest about 10 minutes before you're ready for dessert, put the ice cream in the fridge. It'll be ready for scooping then.
Hence, a wee bit issue with photographing them. I have to let it soften enough to scoop. But then it starts to melt REALLY fast. So please, pardon the melt in these photos.
First up. THE reason why we make this ice cream in the first place: apple wood smoked bacon. Crispy fried and chopped to sprinkle-able perfection.
The sweet. The salty. The buttery. The nuttiness. The smokiness. The cold. The warm. The custard. The crunch. The melt. The chewiness.
This has everything you'd ever want in food in texture and flavors. It was perfect. PERFECT!
Someone call Saint Peter and tell him that I am now ready for those Pearly Gates.
The bacon topping got me concern about actually adding the bacon bits into the ice cream mixture itself. If we do that, we would lose that crunch.
I must experiment with making the bacon cups for this... OOOOHHHH...
Topping #2 is for the less adventurous. Since I didn't have any Fleur de Sel to use per Pim's suggestion--and nor did my local Bristol Farms--I went with Murray River pink flake salt from Australia. Oh, and the pink flaky salt melts so fast I couldn't even catch a picture of it.
The salt cuts the sweet just right. And even if it melted off, the mildly saltiness lingered on the bite when you get to it still. It was wonderful.
And finally, topping #3 for the "normal" people: turbinado sugar. It provides the wee bit of crunch and the extra sweet kick. And it looks pretty on a plate.
Two ice creams under my belt now. I think I'm feeling a wee little bit cocky. Hahah!
So, go ahead. Make a suggestion for my next ice cream adventure!