Monday, December 8, 2008
I love eggnog. I love it straight up, or as a quick bread, bundt cake, or ice cream flavor. But it's a heart attack in a glass so I probably have it just once a year. Since I'm on an ice cream kick (just you wait, I have at least three more flavors currently in my freezer to reveal to you), I thought I'd see how hard it could possibly be to make eggnog ice cream. Answer: hard...or should I say soft, since that's what the problem was.
I spent some time sifting through recipes on the internet, comparing ingredients, measurements, and methods. I read reviews by users who had tested the recipes, too. In the end, I decided to go with Alton Brown's version, though I did add vanilla and increase the amount of nutmeg. But when I put the mixture in my ice cream machine to churn it, it never fully thickened to soft ice cream consistency like my past ice creams have. I poured the goopy attempt at ice cream into a container and threw it in the freezer; I'll eat it even if it remains eggnog soup. Fortunately, it did successfully freeze after a couple of hours.
Looking back at my method and what could have gone wrong, I can think of only one thing: maybe there is too much alcohol in this recipe. 3 ounces of bourbon! A little alcohol in ice cream can be great for making the texture smooth, but too much and it will never freeze. Or maybe I was just asleep at the wheel this time. We'll never know...
Eggnog Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces bourbon
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and bourbon, pour through a medium-holed mesh strainer into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 40 degrees F, approximately 4 to 6 hours.
Once chilled, process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve as is for soft-serve, or place in an airtight container and put in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours for traditional ice cream.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Make the custard and then pour the vanilla and bourbon in...
Pour the mixture through a medium-holed mesh strainer, then refrigerate overnight...
It will look like this when it's ready to churn...
Eggnog Ice Cream churning...
When it's done churning, scoop into a container and freeze...