Maybe it’s the fact I’m going on holiday next week, or maybe because I’ve been trying on shorts all week, but I am feeling decidedly summery this week, well until I look outside that is. Regardless of whether the rain has dampened your mood this week, I think we can all agree on the fact that ice cream doesn’t really have a season. With that in mind let make some ice cream.
The idea for this recipe came from a recent trip to Rome (a common recent theme here at The Boy Who Bakes) as an attempt to recreate my boyfriends favourite peanut gelato, which was devoured whilst at Fatormorgana, the gelato he genuinely looks wistful about when he talks about it. The gelato definitely wasn’t called peanut butter so whilst I thought about taking the easy route and just adding some to my go-to ice cream base, after talking with my ice cream maker friend Richard, I was dissuaded as ice cream or gelato made with peanut butter is notoriously difficult as it has a tendency to go grainy. So, I stuck with my initial thought of using infusion to get the flavour into the recipe. The resulting ice cream was really close to the original in flavour, a nice hit of peanut in a wonderfully creamy texture. But this is me, I couldn’t simply do a peanut flavour, I had to take it one step further. I had to add caramel. I had to. really I did. I originally thought adding a swirl of caramel sauce but at the last minute remembered David Lebovitz’s idea of adding little nuggets of hard caramel once the ice cream has been churned. When in the freezer the chunks slightly soften and some will liquify leaving these little bites of bitter caramel that really ups the flavour and creates something delightful.
Peanut and Caramel Ice Cream
Ice Cream Base
700ml whole milk
350ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
125g salted peanuts
6 large egg yolks
125g caster sugar
Salted Caramel Pieces
100g caster sugar
large pinch flaked sea salt
To make the ice cream start with the infusion. Place the peanuts into a small, dry, frying pan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light browned and fragrant. Tip into a bowl and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile place the milk, cream and vanilla into a medium sized saucepan. Tip the peanuts into a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush into smaller pieces then add to the milk mixture. Place the pan on medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove from the heat and cover, setting aside to infuse for at least two hours, more if you have the time.
Place the pan back on the heat and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the peanuts. Add the yolks and sugar to a large bowl and whisk until lightened, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the infused milk mixture, whisking as you do to prevent the yolks from cooking. Pour the custard mixture back into the pan and cook on low/medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches between 75-80C or it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove and pour into a clean bowl. At this stage we need to cool the custard down, the most effective way is to set the bowl over an ice bath and stir until it cools. I often simply cover the custard with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge and refrigerate until ready to churn.
Once thoroughly chilled, around 4-5C, use an ice cream machine to churn, following the manufacturers. instructions. Meanwhile add the sugar for the caramel to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted and caramelised, to a rich dark brown, almost like an old copper coin. Remember this is being mixed into a sweet ice cream so I take this caramel quite far so it really stands up to the ice cream. Add the salt and swirl to combine. Immediately pour the caramel onto a silicon baking sheet or parchment lined baking tray and spread into a thin layer. Set aside until the ice cream has almost finished churning.
Once the ice cream is almost at the desired texture, looking like soft serve ice cream, use the back of a spoon to break up the big piece of caramel into lots of little pieces. Once the ice cream has finished churning, add in the caramel pieces and allow the ice cream machine to run for another minute or two or until mixed in. Scrape the ice cream into a container, I use a loaf pan, cover with a lid or clingfilm and freeze for at least four hours before serving.
Homemade ice cream is best within a couple weeks, really the first week is the best window to enjoy it, and thankfully this ice cream is scoop able straight from the freezer.
Make sure you check back next week as I have a recipe to take this ice cream to another level entirely.