Monday, June 20, 2011

Maple-Bacon Ice Cream

Getting into why I decided to make bacon ice cream is a rather involved tale, but I've had bacon in chocolate--Vosges, which doesn't use particularly fine chocolate, and doesn't contain very much bacon, but is quite expensive--and while I wasn't impressed with it for the reasons stated, I liked the idea.  I've always liked the combination of sweet and salty (chocolate dipped potato chips/crisps are awesome), and since I wanted to try something different, ice cream came to mind.  As a note, the recipe below is a good maple ice cream on it's own, without the bacon.

I heavily modified Betty Crocker's vanilla ice cream recipe, and I don't have an ice cream maker, so the texture isn't as smooth as one would like.  For people without ice cream makers, I'll post the "entertain and occupy the kiddies" version, as well as the "it works but isn't a smooth texture because I got tired of stirring and went to bed" version.

Maple-Bacon Ice Cream
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup (a generous half cup, up to 3/4 of a cup) real maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup half n' half
1 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (the fake stuff is an abomination, just like turkey or soy bacon)
Streaky bacon (regular bacon in the States), fried crispy and crumbled.  However much you'd like.
In a sufficiently large saucepan, heat the egg yolks, maple syrup, milk, half n' half, and cream to just below the boil.  Whisk constantly, and don't let it boil (Betty Crocker adds the cream later, and uses 2 cups of cream instead of some half n' half, but I find the mouthfeel is a bit greasy that way).  Pull off the heat, and keep whisking for a bit to cool it down slightly.  Add your pinch of salt (I suggest kosher or fine ground Alaea red clay) and vanilla extract and whisk a bit more.  Pour into chilled bowl (or the container you'll freeze it in, if you don't have an ice cream maker) and put in fridge.  Stir every 15 minutes or so until somewhere below room temp.  Stir bacon through, then pour into ice cream maker and follow the directions on it.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can try it this way (not something I had the containers to do).  Take a 3 pound coffee can with lid and find a second, smaller container that fits inside and won't break.  Put some/all of the ice cream mixture in the smaller container and seal it very very well (duct tape might be in order here, provided you can get it off).  Throw some ice and rock salt into the bigger container, put the container with the ice cream goo in it, and pack more ice and rock salt around it.  Put the lid on, seal that tightly (definitely use duct tape here), and find some small kids to roll it around on the floor for about 30-45 minutes.  Pull the ice cream out and finish freezing it in the freezer.  Note that I've never done this, just seen it done and understand the concept.  I've heard that the ice cream isn't particularly smooth doing this.

Or, if you don't have that option, after you add the bacon, put it all in the freezer.  Every 15-30 minutes whisk the crap out of it.  It'll take forever to freeze, but you're trying to break up the ice crystals to get a smoother texture.  I failed at this because I was seriously tired and wanted to go to bed.  The flavor isn't particularly altered by the presence of large ice crystals, but the texture isn't that beautifully smooth ice cream you get when it's properly churned.

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