Saturday, August 8, 2009

Coffee Ice Cream

I know it's difficult to tell from the picture, but this is the smoothest, creamiest, most flavorful ice cream I have made to date. We are currently under contract on a condo, so in preparation for moving, I'm trying to empty out some things in the freezer and pantry. We had bought some whole-bean decaf coffee for a dinner party, and since we rarely drink coffee, it just sat in the freezer taking up space. And then I came upon this ice cream recipe. It was my first time making a custard-based recipe, and I was a little scared I would scramble the eggs or not cook it long enough, but it was a lot easier than I thought it might be. I made some breakfast tacos with the leftover egg whites.

The coffee flavor in this ice cream is pretty strong, so if you're not a fan of that flavor, this is not for you. The whole beans infuse the cream mixture deliciously, and I loved seeing the white cream slowly turn a hint of brown. By no means low-calorie, you'll only need a small scoop to be satisfied because it's so rich.

Coffee Ice Cream
source: Annie's Eats

1½ cups whole milk (I used 2%)
¾ cup sugar
1½ cups whole coffee beans
Pinch of salt
1½ cups heavy cream, divided
5 large egg yolks
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. finely ground coffee or espresso powder

Combine the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt and ½ cup of the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

After steeping, return the saucepan with the coffee mixture to the burner over medium heat. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Once the coffee mixture has become warm again, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Return the egg-coffee bean mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.

Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F.) Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer with a can or heavy-bottomed glass to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and ground coffee or espresso powder. Chill the batter over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.