You’ve read about Humphry Slocombe’s ice cream book here before. Foodforfun has also detailed the purchase of my new ice cream maker as well as the adventures that followed. Today I’ll further those adventures and offer up a tale of combining two rock-star consumables: beer and ice cream.
I’ve enjoyed mixing stout and other dark beers with vanilla ice cream as a float, both in restaurants and at home. The caramel, chocolate, and coffee notes in a dark beer play off the creamy, cold chill of vanilla ice cream to make a fantastically fun adult dessert. (Though don’t even think about combining ice cream with high-hop beers such as pale ales. This can only end with a “yuck” and subsequent dump down the drain.)
Always up for pushing the culinary envelope, I wondered what would happen if beer was an ice cream ingredient, rather than just a pour-over. HS came through for me with multiple beer-flavored ice creams in its above-mentioned cookbook. Butter Beer intrigued me most (though Guinness Gingerbread might be next on my list), so I gave it a whirl. Introducing it as “a simple flavor that combines two of our most popular flavors, Brown Butter and Stout,” HS offers this as one of many wildly amazing flavors sold in its San Francisco shop. And because I was
obsessed smart enough to buy the book, I can enjoy it in my Minnesota kitchen as well.
The Butter Beer verdict? Still swooning as I write. Flavors of oatmeal stout, cream, and browned butter played off each other well, melding to make a rich and creamy and not-too-sweet batch of ice cream. While “yeasty” seems more of a thumbs-down sort of descriptor for ice cream, it was a plus in this case, as the slightly sour and yeasty notes balanced the deep earthy sweetness offered up by the molasses and brown sugar. (In the Did You Know category: brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses mixed in. Make your own by stirring together 2 tablespoons molasses for every cup of white sugar. After picking this tip up over two years ago, I’ve yet to buy packaged brown sugar.) But back to Butter Beer ice cream–amazing solo, it would also pair well with chocolate syrup or blend with malt powder for a killer malted milk.
While I’m nuts about this discovery and thrilled to have answered my question of how beer-flavored ice cream would taste, I’ll note that my husband and parents–willing taste-testers, all–turned up their noses at it. Butter Beer is not a flavor for everyone. But anyone who loves a culinary adventure and loads of complex flavor will enjoy very much.
Butter Beer Ice Cream
from Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle oatmeal stout
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
In large heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, tilting pan back and forth to cook evenly, 5 minutes or until butter starts to brown lightly. (As the recipe wisely notes: “careful! brown is good, black is burnt”)
Immediately add stout and brown sugar to saucepan; stir to dissolve. Cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced by half and is slightly sticky to touch. Add molasses; stir until well blended. Add cream, milk, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling.
Fill large bowl or pan with ice and water. Place large, clean bowl in ice bath and fit bowl with fine-mesh strainer.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and granulated sugar until well blended. Remove cream mixture from heat. Slowly pour about half of hot cream mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer yolk mixture back to saucepan with remaining cream mixture; return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with rubber spatula scraping bottom of saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid begins to steam and you can feel spatula scrape against bottom of pan.
Remove custard from heat; immediately pour through strainer into clean bowl set up in ice bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally. When custard has cooled, cover bowl tightly. Refrigerate 1 hour or preferably overnight. When ready to freeze custard, transfer to ice cream maker; churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Can be stored frozen up to 1 week. Makes 1 quart.