Thursday, December 04, 2008

Prune Armagnac Ice Cream (Page 858)


  • Date: Monday, November 25, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Mike M, and Teresa
  • Recipe Rating: B-

Admit it: this doesn't sound that good. The words "prune" and "ice cream" just don't go together the way "chocolate" and "ice cream" or "butter pecan" and "ice cream" do. But it's in The Book and I am in this project to make them all, so I made this ice cream. And actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, it was pretty ok. I started by macerating prunes in Armagnac (a brandy from France) for a day. Then I heated some cream, half and half, and vanilla bean just to a boil. In a separate bowl I whisked together egg yolks and sugar. I tempered in the hot cream mixture and cooked the custard on the stove top to 170 degrees. I strained the custard and chilled it until cold. At that point, this was no different than the ice cream base for a typical vanilla ice cream. And like any good ice cream base for vanilla ice cream, it was delicious! Then I ground up my macerated prunes in the food processor and mixed it in to the custard base. I finished the ice cream by freezing it in my ice cream maker. The end result was pretty decent. To be completely honest, if I had just frozen the vanilla ice cream base before adding in the prunes, I certainly would have liked the end result better. So, why add the prune and Armagnac bit? (Especially since it turns out that Armagnac costs a pretty penny!) But if you are determined to make prune ice cream, this certainly wasn't bad. One thing I appreciated about the recipe was that the alcohol flavor from the Armagnac was present, but it didn't dominate the ice cream. Some of the alcoholic ice creams in The Book are incredibly boozy, and this one was more balanced. I only had a small bit of this myself before bringing it over to Mike and Teresa's house for them to enjoy (they appreciate ice cream much more than me and my special gentleman -- and it makes me happy to find a good home for the food I make!). I think they ate it, but Mike's comment after first tasting it stuck with me, "Have you ever considered making chocolate ice cream?" Ha ha ha... Someday I will make regular ice cream flavors again. When this project is done.... Someday...

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except the one in The Book calls for Armagnac instead of Tequila, and 1/2 cup sugar.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I was once a vegetarian. For ten years. Right now, as I type this, I have a 7 pound piece of lamb braising in the oven. In case you don't have a sense of how big that is: it's big! I have another 4 pounds of beef marinating in the fridge. When I went to the butcher to buy all this meat, the guy looked at me and said, "You're not going to cook this all at once, are you?" I just laughed and said, "Probably not." He also tried to dissuade me from buying such a big piece of meat by telling me, "You would have to cook that for, like, 6 hours." To which I responded, "That is exactly what I am planning to do!" He just stared at me like I was a little off my rocker. And, frankly, maybe I am. Because that 7 pound piece of lamb in the oven: it's just for me! I'm not having a dinner party. I'm not preparing a big meal to share. I'm just doing my usual daily cooking. So after it finishes up its 6+ hours in the oven, I will package that braised lamb in various tupperware containers, some of which I will freeze, and the rest of which I will stick in the fridge for my own consumption. Mmmmm.... I love meat! The funny thing is, when I was a vegetarian meat didn't appeal to me at all. I didn't miss it. And even when I started eating meat again, I didn't actually ever eat it. My friends called me a "theoretical meat eater" because the only time I would ever eat meat was if I was at someone's house and they served it to me. I didn't want to be rude, but I really didn't find it appealing. It wasn't until I went to culinary school a few years ago that I started to discover the wonder of meat. And now, looking back, I think of those vegetarian years as dark ages! That's not to say that I don't love vegetarian food -- I do! But I love meat too! That reminds me, time to peak at my huge hunk of lamb...


Sue said...

That is real dedication to proceed with prune ice cream when you instincts tell you it's probably not going to be your favorite ice cream ever.
Regarding the lamb. It's the one meat that no matter how much I try I don't love it. I'll have to search through your archives and catch up on your lamb recipes and the outcomes. I'll stay posted to hear about the lamb you have in the works.

Teena said...

Yeah a lot of people don't like lamb (including my parents and my special gentleman's parents). In some cases I think people have just never had really good lamb -- because in my opinion lamb can be amazing! That lamb I was working on the other day was not amazing though (sadly!). A post is coming up about that soon.