It’s day 4 of Ice Cream Week, and today’s theme is Nuts for Ice Cream. I knew I wanted to make either butter pecan or praline ice cream for today, and when I started looking at recipes I found this one for Blackstrap Praline Ice Cream on my Pinterest board, so I figured it was a good time to try it.
The original recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and was published in Saveur magazine and on their website. Jeni has an interesting method for making ice cream in which she boils out some of the water from the milk and cream and uses cornstarch and cream cheese to bind the ingredients and increase the fat content. Several of my friends swear by her recipes, so I was excited to try this one to see how it came out.
I made a few changes to the recipe, based on what was in my cupboard the day I made it. I didn’t have blackstrap molasses, so I used Brer Rabbit Mild Molasses. My ice cream was much lighter in color than the picture on Saveur, but the molasses flavor still really came through. And I used almonds for the praline (a sin, I know) because that’s what I had on hand.
The base had a pudding-like consistency. In fact, after refrigerating it overnight, that’s exactly what it looked like. It churned up beautifully. My wife and I tried it as soon as it was done churning, and it was amazing. Rich, smooth, velvety, and the praline was outstanding, with its nutty, caramel-like flavor.
But what really blew my socks off, and finally made me realize what all the fuss over Jeni’s recipes was about, was when I tried it the next day. After freezing, a lot of homemade ice cream is too solid and looses that creamy consistency.
But this ice cream was as smooth and creamy as any double-churned gourmet ice cream I’ve ever tasted. And the overnight rest in the freezer actually improved the flavor, too.
OK, so I’m sold on Jeni’s ice cream. I won’t go so far as to say I’ll never make any other kind (I still like egg-based custard ice creams), but I will definitely try more of her recipes. And we might just venture to Chagrin Falls to try some at one of her stores.
Margaret forgave me for using almonds in praline. Hopefully, her Greek friends will give her a pass, too, for making Baklava Ice Cream! And no forgiveness is needed for Rebecce, who made Nutella Gelato.
Ice Cream Week caps off tomorrow with an original recipe, Guinness Stout Ice Cream.