“Christina,” said Mr. McMc after taking the first bite of the dessert I’d lovingly served up on Christmas Day. “Just how much Baileys in this ice cream?” “Oh, just 250ml,” I said nonchalantly. “Why, is that a problem?” It turns out that I had put half a pint of rich, creamy booze in my frozen treat. As you do. Well, after all, it *was* Christmas.
I’ll level with you. This is not the type of ice cream which you should think about making and consuming if you’re planning on dieting next year. It contains two different types of chocolate, crunchy smokey-sweet pecans coated in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and smoked paprika, and enough Baileys to fell a horse. Rich, boozy and decadent, it’s a fairly ridiculous concoction devised after one too many sherries in the run-up to the festive season. It’s also my entry for December’s booze-themed Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge – a delicious last gasp of Christmas indulgence.
In some ways, this ice cream is the perfect emblem of my year of excess. After all, 2012 was the year I got married, turned 30, visited Berlin and New York and somehow only managed to lose my shit about all of this three times along the way (a perfect example of this being the Monday before my wedding where I ran laps around the outside of my office in a vain attempt to calm myself down.) While I wouldn’t change any of these experiences for the world, there’s a part of me that would like my 2013 to be slightly more sedate. I’m a firm believer in New Year’s Resolutions (although most of them tend to be broken by 6th January), and my ones for the next year mainly involve building upon the happiness and wonderful experiences which I was so lucky to have last year. If 2013 is even half as great as 2012, I’ll be a very happy person indeed.
But for now, enough self indulgence. There’s still ten hours left of 2012, and there’s baths to be had and booze to drink. For now, I wish you all a very happy New Year. Here’s to 2013 and whatever excitement and new experiences it holds.
CHOCOLATE-BAILEYS ICE CREAM WITH SPICED PECANS
For the Chocolate-Baileys ice cream (based loosely on David Lebovitz’s recipe for Chocolate ice cream in The Perfect Scoop)
You will need:
- 500ml double cream
- 150g high quality dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- 150g high quality milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- 250ml Baileys (If you’re not a raging boozehound like me, feel free to reduce this to 200ml)
- 150g granulated white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the spiced pecans (recipe based loosely on this one from Smitten Kitchen)
- 20g Muscovado sugar
- 60g white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 150g pecans
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- First, place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer and chill for 24 hours. (I know this sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve forgotten to do this and wept for all the delicious ice cream I could have made).
- While your bowl is chilling, make your custard. Warm 250ml of the double cream and the chopped dark chocolate together in a medium saucepan, whisking thoroughly to ensure that the two are thoroughly blended together. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped milk chocolate, stirring rapidly until the mixture turns smooth and glossy. Then stir in the remaining 250ml of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a large sieve on top of the bowl.
- Warm the Baileys, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until they turn light and fluffy. Slowly pour the warm Baileys mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over a medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom while you stir so the mixture doesn’t stick. The custard is ready once it has thickened and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the chocolate mixture until it turns smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Cover the bowl with a piece of greaseproof paper and leave it to cool for half an hour – this will prevent a skin forming. Them, pop it in the fridge overnight until it’s ready to churn.
- To make the spiced pecans: While your custard is chilling, make your spiced pecans. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add the pecans, and stir to coat evenly.
- Sprinkle your nuts with the sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet which has been covered with baking paper. Bake your pecans for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.
- Once you’re ready to make your ice cream, add the spiced pecans to the chocolate-baileys custard (the custard will be quite thick), and churn it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- Serve either on its own, or with a simple cake – this Almond & Cinnamon Cake from BBC Food complements it nicely.