I know, I know. February isn’t over, the Snowpocalypse aftermath has yet to totally melt, and here I am posting ice cream. No, i didn’t lose track of my calendar. I know the middle of winter isn’t the most popular time of year to be perusing ice cream recipes, but let’s be honest. There’s always a birthday cake that needs an ice cream accompaniment. There’s always a best friend that needs some cheering up. And there’s never a bad excuse to cozy up with a pint of your favorite flavor, put on your favorite movie and enjoy some me time. Ice cream knows no seasonal boundaries and it’s just as acceptable to enjoy a bowl in January as it is in June. And bonus – it won’t melt as fast!
This recipe was actually inspired by a Valentine’s Day gift and a breakfast trip. My Chief Culinary Consultant loves espresso and so for the holiday, I got him a hand-press espresso maker and all the other goodies needed to make some great espresso. It so happened that the next morning we went out to breakfast and on the table there was an ad for one of the restaurant’s newer desserts – espresso ice cream. I don’t remember now what it was paired with but we noticed it and my CCC mentioned how it would be great to have espresso ice cream with freshly brewed espresso poured over it. Never afraid of caffeine overload, I set out to make the ice cream.
You may call me weird (again), but I really love the flavor of coffee but rarely enjoy actually drinking it. Occasionally I will have a cup after dinner with something sweet, but more often than not I will pass when offered a cup. However, I absolutely love the flavor! Mocha frappuccino’s, espresso cheesecakes,cappuccino cinnamon squares, and now espresso ice cream… I love them all and anything else I can find coffee-flavored. How weird is it that I don’t actually drink coffee? I can’t figure it out. In any case, if you like coffee in any form, you will absolutely love this ice cream. Eat it plain, eat it in a cone, eat it drenched in espresso, or eat it atop a fudgy brownie and drizzle it with caramel. Enjoy! :)
1. Warm the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and ½ cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Rewarm the coffee-infused milk mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (and registers 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and the finely ground espresso and stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.