It is in fact very normal tasting ice cream. Almost bordering-on-disappointingly normal for someone like me, but for the less liberally buttery of you, perhaps a relief. The intensity is muffled somewhat once frozen. What you get this roundly rich, deeply creamy golden ice cream which gives you vividly toffeed caramel flavours and a lingering buttery nuttiness. It just tastes like amazing ice cream.
Be assured, it’s not like dragging a spoon across a cold block of butter. Nice as that is.
Be further assured, you don’t need an ice cream maker machine thing for this. I don’t have one myself, and my love for ice cream is way too river deep, mountain high for me to want to make it all exclusive or anything. All you have to do to this is freeze it.
It’s a while since I’ve made an old-timey custard-based ice cream. Custard ice cream is the patient person’s game. This is probably why I’ve avoided it for a while. But all that’s involved is a lot of stirring. As En Vogue said, don’t let go – just stand there by the pan stirring and stirring till the mixture finally rewards you by ambiguously thickening slightly. I for one recommend putting on a podcast (like mine, way-hey?) or an audiobook (I had Wuthering Heights) to distract the mind.
Burnt Butter Ice Cream
A recipe by myself.
I did dither over whether to call this browned butter, or just butter, but I like the total un-vagueness of ‘burnt’, because that’s what it is.
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
(Note: New Zealand butter is always salted – if you’re using unsalted, add a generous pinch of salt when you add the butter at the end)
First, gather ye a saucepan, a good-sized bowl, and a freezer-proof container (as you can see I just used a glass loaf tin. The kind you might bake a loaf in.) Melt the butter over a decent heat in the saucepan, allowing it to carry on cooking beyond your usual sensibilities. As you can see above, it will start bubbling vigorously and separate out into layers of sorts. Once it’s all foamy and bubbly and darkened remove it from the heat and spatula it into a bowl while you get on with everything else.
In that same pan, gently heat up the milk and cream. While this is happening whisk together the yolks and sugars, it doesn’t have to be thick, just incorporated. Once the milk/cream has heated sufficiently – you don’t want it to boil, just get very hot – turn off the heat and carefully whisk about 1/2 a cup of the milk/cream into the egg/sugar mixture, then another 1/2 cup and another – continually whisking so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
Then pour all that back into the pan and stir over a low heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t cook too fast. I warn you, this could take around 20 minutes. The texture will thicken to that of a good quality milkshake (if not thickshake) and the bubbles on the surface should minimise. The more egg yolks in your custard the thicker it will get so don’t stress too much about it.
Finally, whisk in the butter, which will likely have solidified by this point. Pour everything into your freezerproof container and freeze, without stirring, till it is, unsurprisingly, frozen.
Luckily this ice cream is air-punchingly awesome, because I have been seriously lacking in lustre while writing about it. I am tired. The week started mighty promisingly – seeing the movie version of the Broadway show Rock of Ages with my dear friend Kim, and the subsequent marveling over how disturbingly HAWT Tom Cruise was in it and how much we love Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand’s characters and how excellent Mary J Blige’s pantsuits are. And how I am ever more in hot pursuit of bigger hair. But since then I haven’t slept so well, a good wedge of my brain has been given over to working out details of my upcoming cookbook (obligatory mention!) and financial concerns, general stresses and what’s-the-deal-with-my-body annoyances (I mean like, not feeling well, nothing else) and I’ve been catching feelings like you wouldn’t believe.
On the up-and-up, there are Tony Award clips to watch, photos from Jo’s Double Super Sweet Sixteenth birthday party and memories of intense bedroom dance parties therein to reminisce over, our October trip to America to plan, a new podcast episode to edit, and this ice cream to eat. Just got to get through June…and everything will be cool.
While I’m generally a bit suspish of over-dressed food photography, I have no defensiveness for this. I’d held onto the jaunty flag decorations from the quadruple layer birthday cake my friends made me for me a few months ago and this one seemed just right plunged possessively on an angle into the ice cream. Also a long-distance hug to my god-parents and their family for the equally jaunty ice cream cups. All the better to eat ice cream out of, hey?
Rockin Back Inside My Heart, a cover by She’s So Rad. As I’ve said constantly, I’m very obsessed with Julee Cruise’s song, but this cover is glorious – the voice is more present and definite than Cruise’s, without losing a shred of the song’s deliciously dreamy nature.
Fiona Apple Every Single Night. I love this song. Beautiful. Watched the first frame of the music video and decided it wasn’t for me though (spoiler: there’s an octopus! I like my octopi at a distance!)
Next time: I promise, something non-buttery. I am super aware of how painfully expensive it is. I’m just slightly more super aware of how delicious it is.