Welcome to another edition of Ice Cream Fridays. Every Friday during the next few months (or until I get tired of it) you can look forward to a new ice cream recipe which will hopefully inspire you to break out your old dust covered ice cream maker that is hiding somewhere in a closet (yes, I'm talking about you). Since I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas, feel free to leave me a comment here on my blog or on my facebook page, and let me know what ice cream flavor you would like to see. Who knows, you might just get lucky and it will be featured the following week.
This week's featured flavor was solely inspired by my love of rum. Now, please let me clarify, since I don't want you to think I'm knocking back rum and cokes every night, and that is what prompted this post. No, in fact, I don't even like drinking it, but for some reason, something magically happens when you add dark rum to desserts. It transforms anything from cakes, pies and ice creams into something I can't resist. The flavor and scent of rum get me every time. It makes me extremely happy that two of my favorite cookbooks "Baking, from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan, along with David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop", seem to be having a love affair with the dark "gold" as much as I do.
At first glance, many people might skip over today's flavor in the book, but I'm telling you, it would be a big mistake. Dates in an ice cream might not be your ideal dessert, but with the addition of rum and pecans, the ice cream is transformed into something dreams are made of. This ice cream is custard based with dried dates that are macerated in rum prior to adding them to the mixture, then to take it one step further, pecans are thrown into the mix. David gives you a few options of what kind of pecans. You can either toast them, add spiced pecans, or you can add "Wet Pecans" which is what I chose. They are toasted pecans which are added to boiling maple syrup for a few seconds before cooling the mixture again. All of these different components make this ice cream irresistible.
My husband and I loved this flavor. It is reminiscent of rum raisin, but to me it had more depth, perhaps because of the maple nuts. This is most definitely an ice cream that is "adult only". My children did not care for this one at all, which prompted me to mix up a different kid friendly ice cream which will be featured soon. So, if rum floats your boat, or makes your skirt fly up, this flavor is for you!
Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream
(adapted from The Perfect Scoop)
12 dates (4 ounces, 115 g) pitted
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark rum
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
Big pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (310 ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup Wet Pecans (recipe to follow)
To prepare the dates, chop them into 1/2 -inch pieces. Combine the date pieces with the rum in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir. Cover and let macerate at room temperature for at least 4 hours (this can be done up to 1 day ahead).
To make the ice cream, warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warm egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and rum, then stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the nuts and date pieces.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 ml) dark amber maple syrup
3/4 cup (75 g) pecans, toasted and very coarsely chopped
Big pinch of salt
Heat the maple syrup in a small skillet or saucepan until it just begins to come to a full boil. Stir in the pecans and the pinch of salt, then cook until the liquid comes to a full boil once again. Stir the nuts for 10 seconds, then remove them from the heat and let cool completely. The nuts will still be wet and sticky when cooled.