It’s true, vanilla ice cream remains the most popular flavor there is. But don’t you just want to veer off course every once in a while and try something different?
With that in mind, we offer three ice creams that would fit the Monty Python billing: And now for something completely different …
We’re talking a whole new ABCs: avocado, beets and candied bacon.
And we’re not joking. They come from three celebrated chefs: TV star Alton Brown, French Laundry mastermind Thomas Keller and pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz. So, if you’re adventurous, give them a try and enjoy.
Avocado Ice Cream
Avocados are a fruit, something that we in San Antonio often forget. But in the Philippines, avocados are only served sweet. With that in mind, try this Alton Brown recipe, which celebrates the creamy, fruity nature of avocados.
12 ounces avocado meat, approximately 3 small to medium
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Peel and pit the avocados. Add the avocados, lemon juice, milk, and sugar to a blender and purée. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and chill until it reaches 40 degrees or below, approximately 4 to 6 hours.
Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. However, this mixture sets up very fast, so count on it taking only 5 to 10 minutes to process. For soft ice cream, serve immediately. If desired, place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours for firmer texture.
Makes 1 quart.
From Alton Brown/Food Network
Candied Bacon Ice Cream
Pastry chef and blogger David Lebovitz, author of “The Perfect Scoop,” offers this whimsical ice cream, perfect for all of us who cannot get enough bacon in our diet. He offers a few variations on his website: “Like my butcher, I loved the salty taste of bacon with brown sugar, but I’m also going to be folding bits of (candied) bacon into Coffee Ice Cream in the future. Or maybe get really crazy and try little bits in a batch of Avocado Ice Cream.”
For the candied bacon:
5 strips bacon
About 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons salted butter
¾ cup (packed) brown sugar, light or dark (you can use either)
2 ¾ cups half-and-half, divided use
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.
Sprinkle 1 ½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.
Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice. (Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)
To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.
From David Lebovitz
Red Beet Ice Cream
French Laundry chef Thomas Keller serves this ice cream with chocolate cakes and walnut sauce.
2 pounds red beets, peeled and quartered
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided use
8 large egg yolks
Put the beets through a vegetable juicer, reserving the pulp. You should have about 2 cups of juice. Place the juice in a saucepan and reduce over low heat, skimming, as necessary, to about 1/4 cup. Strain the liquid into a container, cover and place in the refrigerator.
In a saucepan, combine the reserved beet pulp with the cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, cover and remove from the heat for 30 minutes.
Strain the liquid and measure out 3 cups (discard the rest). Return it to the saucepan, add half the sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
[amazon-product]1579651267[/amazon-product]Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until they have thickened slightly and lightened in color. Gradually whisk about one third of the hot liquid into the yolks to temper them. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Pour the custard into a bowl and set in an ice-water bath and let cool.
Strain the cooled custard into a container, cover and refrigerate for a few hours until cold, or overnight (for the creamiest texture).
Stir the reduced beet juice into the custard and freeze in an ice cream machine. Remove the ice cream to a covered container and store in the freezer for about 2 hours or up to 2 days.
From “The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller