Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

I adore vanilla ice cream, I’m almost brave enough to admit that it is my favourite. What’s that? I think I can hear you snoring… I can also hear the Simpsons episode when Flanders says “It’s a popsicle in my favorite flavor–plain!”.

So I love vanilla ice cream and I quote the Simpsons. I realize I just double-dorked my image.

But let me clarify that my love does not apply to the freezer-burnt rendition that comes in a tub and is filled with “Modified Milk Ingredients, Sugar, Glucose, Mono and Diglycerides, Locust Bean Gum, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavour”. Yes, I copied that off a popular ice cream brand’s ingredient list. Mmmmm locust bean gum. Love when my food reminds me of nasty swarming horned insects.

No, I covet the real stuff – made with fresh whipping cream, egg yolks, sugar and plump vanilla beans. If you’ve never had home made ice cream, your world will be changed. The store bought stuff might be ruined for you. I’m sorry for that.

Did you … sniff… know that spring… sniff sniff… has finally arrived …. ACHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! With it the shrubs and trees and all manners of plant life are springing forth with beautiful blossoms (teeming with horrible pollen).

I swiped these flowers from a shrub along the seawall. I only took a few. And since they are now immortalized on the internet, I think it’s justified, right?

Bourbon and vanilla are amazing together. I served this ice cream with a sour cherry almond torte. I can imagine it would make a peach pie swoon.

As if you need a reason other than deliciousness to add bourbon to your ice cream – it also serves the very practical purpose of improving the texture. Booze doesn’t freeze, so it keeps the ice cream softer. Homemade ice cream freezes firmer than storebought (for lack of additive emulsifiers and stabilizers..), and the addition of alcohol to ice cream can in part make up for that. Even so be sure to remove ice cream that’s been frozen hard from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving for optimal creamy texture and scoopability.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph ice cream? I let it sit out to soften for a bit while I arranged my props. It softened all right. It was swiftly rediscovering it’s origins as a custard. The whole affair was a messy whirlwind of snapping quick shots and simultaneously licking off the ice cream that was running down my arms. Not that unpleasant, really. The entire photo shoot went down in a record 5 minutes, and then I had to eat my project. It’s a hard life.

Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

  • Ice, for ice bath
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole, but not skim)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

1. Prepare ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water, then setting a smaller bowl inside.

2. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla, sugar, salt, vanilla seeds and the pod in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

2. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture. In a gentle steady stream, whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches custard consistency (you’ll know when it coats the back of the spoon, and you can leave a trail with your finger).

3. Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into the smaller bowl set in the ice bath. Discard the vanilla pod, and stir in vanilla extract and bourbon. Continue to stir until custard cools to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled – at least 2 hours, or overnight.

4. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker until it is thick, and about the texture of soft serve ice cream. Transfer to a conatiner and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 2 hours. Remove ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes prior to serving to soften slightly for a perfect creamy texture.

Last Updated on March 29, 2012 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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