While I know there are vast parts of the world covered in hideous amounts of snow right now, I have been working on ice cream. But it’s a whiskey ice cream so maybe that helps just a tiny bit to ease the chill.
This is a pretty simple ice cream so use your best and favored whiskey. I add a little nut crunch for some contrast and texture, choosing hazelnuts for their earthy complement to the whiskey. Both the ice cream and crumble have a bit of dark brown sugar to soften the flavors.
I say bundle up, get cozy and have a little nip in a bowl. Cool comfort awaits you.
- Cook the ice cream base over medium low to medium heat and stir constantly. You do not want the custard to boil, so the stirring is necessary to keep the custard moving, preventing it from heating too fast and turning into scrambled eggs. I use a heatproof rubber spatula when I’m cooking ice cream bases. It’s perfect for making sure you're scraping the bottom of the pan continuously in wide strokes. If it looks like the custard is heating up too fast, lower the heat and lift the pan off the burner until it cools down.
- Salt is really important in this mix. It makes the flavor pop. Keep adding a few sprinkles until you get it right. You’ll know as soon as it happens.
- I like this best without the addition of vanilla but it can be added along with the whiskey at the end of cooking if you prefer.
- To toast hazelnuts, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Rub them in a towel to remove most of the skins.
- If you'd like to warm your serving up a bit, I think this ice cream would also make a great affogato (Italian for "drowned"), which is a couple of scoops of ice cream with a shot of espresso or strong coffee poured over it.
Whiskey Ice Cream with Hazelnut Crumble
Makes about 1 quart
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) milk
1 3/4 cups (14 oz) heavy cream
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) whiskey or bourbon
1/3 cup (47 grams) flour
2 tablespoons (26 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (26 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) unsalted cold butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (2 oz) hazelnuts, toasted
Combine the milk, cream, both sugars and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer over low heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly add the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and medium low to medium heat. Cook, stirring and constantly scraping the bottom of the pan, until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spatula. A clean track should hold its shape when you draw a line with your finger across the spatula. Take off heat and immediately pour the custard through a strainer into a clean airtight container. Stir in the whiskey. Taste and adjust for salt. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to instructions. Pour into a clean airtight container, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.
For the hazelnut crumble, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt until thoroughly combined. Cut the butter into small pieces and place on top of the dry ingredients. Toss the mixture, thoroughly coating the butter with flour. Rub the mixture together between thumb and fingers of both hands until all the butter is worked into the dry ingredients, pinching it here and there until it collects and resembles coarse crumbles. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and mix them in. Chill for about an hour or so.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Spread the crumble in an even layer and lightly pat into a rectangle about 10” by 7”.
Bake the crumble until browned, about 10 - 12 minutes. The mixture will look like a sheet of cookie crumbles. Let it cool completely to set up. Break into small pieces and store in an airtight container.