Dave and I have developed a little whiskey collection. The first bottle I bought for cooking, and one Dave wanted because it’s what Dirk Pitt drinks. Then I bought a bottle of Scotch for my dad for Father’s Day last year, but right before I was going to give it to him, he said he didn’t like Scotch so I ran out and bought some bourbon for him and kept the Scotch for myself. And then I bought another bottle of bourbon for my dad for Father’s Day this year (I’m very creative with my Father’s Day gifts, obviously), but then decided to get him something else.
So Dave and I decided we should do a whiskey tasting with our collection. But somehow time got away from us over the weekend, and we didn’t get to it until Sunday night. And let me give you a piece of advice: Sunday night is not a good time for a whiskey tasting, assuming you have to go to work Monday morning. Which we did. Grudgingly.
Dave and I apparently agree with my dad in his whiskey preferences, in that we both liked the bourbons better than the Scotch. I enjoy both, but the bourbon is so sweet and caramelly that it’s no wonder it’s my favorite. And doesn’t the sweet and caramelly description make it seem like bourbon is a perfect flavor for ice cream?
Like all desserts, it’s difficult to get the flavor of the alcohol to shine through the creamy custard base. I even increased the amount of bourbon, at the risk of ice cream that would never freeze, and still the bourbon was a subtle overtone. Dave thought it was just right; he thinks bourbon ice cream should be ice cream first with just a taste of bourbon, which was exactly what this was. Me? I thought I liked my bourbon on ice, but now I think it’s even better on ice cream.
I had never seen powdered milk used in ice cream before, but if it’s what caused this batch to be so perfectly smooth and creamy, I’m sold.
Erin and a number of epicurious reviewers warn that this ice cream stays rather soft, but even with using an extra tablespoon or two of bourbon, my ice cream set up just fine.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half-and-half
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
6 large egg yolks
½ cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
¼ cup (1.75 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Bring the cream, half-and-half, and milk powder to a simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the milk powder dissolves completely. Remove from heat.
2. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, brown sugar, and coarse salt in large bowl; whisk until thick and blended. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the same saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until the custard just simmers and the temperature registers 175°F to 178°F, about 3 minutes. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Mix in the bourbon and vanilla extract. Refrigerate the custard, uncovered, until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours. (Custard can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
3. Once the custard is completely chilled, churn according to the directions of your ice cream maker. When the custard has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (usually after about 20 minutes of churning), transfer it to a chilled container, press plastic wrap directly on the surface, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.