Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream

buttermilk espresso ice cream - last of it
The last little bit.

That lonely, single, skimpy scoop was all that survived of this ice cream before I managed to snap a shot of it to share with you. I didn't intend for it to happen that way, it just sort of did. After the first bowl of this ice cream, I had already made up my mind: I would be making another batch of this ASAP. As luck would have it, life had other plans. Is that code for "Actually I'm just lazy"? Perhaps. Jury is still out on that one.

I can't really chalk it up to my own laziness, but due to many uncontrollable factors, it just didn't happen. And that, you see, is why there is only that one lowly little scoop I have to show you. This stuff is good. I mean, really good. It's unique. It's different. It's difficult to describe. It's probably not for every one, just thought I'd throw that in too.

buttermilk espresso ice cream - sucrebuttermilk espresso ice cream - espresso powder
sugar | espresso powder

The buttermilk gives the ice cream this truly unique tangy flavor. At first I thought it was too much. I was worried I wouldn't like it. But as you swirl it on your tongue, the tangy flavor gives way to the espresso flavor and then, towards the end, you're left with the slightest hint of....cheesecake. I know, it's odd. But like buttermilk, cheesecake can be tangy too. Once I was hit with that cheescake-y flavor I was hooked. I couldn't stop going for just one more spoonful. Then another. And another. And...I think you get my drift.

Despite vowing to make more, I didn't. The weather cooled down quite a bit (boo!) and my mind and hunger turned towards fall flavors and warmer treats. But I wasn't going to wait to share this incredible ice cream.

buttermilk espresso ice cream - eggsbuttermilk espresso ice cream - vanilla bean
half a dozen yolks | vanilla bean

My interest was piqued last year when I read Deb's post on Smitten Kitchen for buttermilk ice cream. I had filed the thought away in my (not so reliable) memory bank and promptly forgot all about it. Then, not long ago I was browsing around and came across a recipe for espresso buttermilk ice cream over at Elle's New England Kitchen. Espresso? Yes please! I decided to borrow the idea of adding espresso from Elle's recipe and use Deb's recipe as the base. I much prefer custard based ice cream recipes, which is why I went that route.The result: nothing short of fabulous!

Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream
adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Elle's New England Kitchen

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 cups buttermilk
half a vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2-3 tablespoons Kahlua liquor (I used vanilla flavored)
pinch salt

In a saucepan, combine the cream and 1 cup of the sugar. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add them to the cream, along with the vanilla bean pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat immediately and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until pale yellow. Add a couple tablespoons of the warmed cream mixture to the yolks to temper them. Gradually add more warm cream into the yolks to warm them and then pour the yolks into the saucepan of warmed cream, whisking all the while.

Cook over low-medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and mix in the buttermilk, espresso powder, Kahlua and salt (if using vanilla extract, add that now too).

Cool the mixture overnight and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.