Whenever I get a new cookbook I get a little crazy. I feel obligated to cook as many things from it as possible and as a result my grocery trips are a complete mess. “Well I may as well pick this up now and save a trip” vs. “There is no possible way I can make all of these things in a week” is an ongoing mental battle, usually with the former winning out.
I picked up the excellent Ideas in Food recently and have been completely enamored with the way authors Alex and Aki not only push boundaries in flavor, but also seek to improve the way we cook everyday things. Parcook risotto rice in a water bath for 30 minutes, keep it in the fridge, and for the next three days you can have risotto on the table in under 10 minutes. Roast pasta to deepen the flavor, throw it in some water for a few hours, and it cooks, literally, in one minute.
This ice cream recipe caught my attention because a.) I always gravitate toward the sweets recipes and b.) because the flavor potential suggested by the unorthodox procedure seemed too high to pass up.
Brown Butter Ice Cream
Brown butter is a butter that has been heated so that the water evaporates and the milk solids caramelize and turn brown. Its nutty and savory qualities make it a (now) obvious candidate for dessert. Seriously, why didn’t I think of this?
The one shortcoming of the traditional preparation is that butter only has a limited amount of milk solids (butter is about 80% fat, 15% milk solids, and 5% water) so to boost the flavor without using a metric ton of butter, Alex and Aki cook it with nonfat dry milk.
I can’t remember why I bought this, but I’m glad I had it on hand
this beautiful block of butter was about to get ugly
When combined, the butter and dry milk look pretty unappetizing.
cottage cheese anyone?
After about twenty minutes of cooking, the mixture turned to a deep caramel brown, at which point I put it into a container and threw it in the fridge to meld overnight.
mmm…overexposed milk solids
The ice cream base consisted of half-and-half, liquid glucose (which may very well be the stickiest ingredient I’ve ever used), agave syrup and the browned milk solids. Once that chilled overnight, it was ready to churn.
watching ice cream churn is hypnotic. not that I stood there watching for 15 minutes…
grab a spoon
The “problem” with the overnight chill is that the first thing I want to do in the morning is make ice cream, which inevitably leads to having ice cream for breakfast. I was feeling rather butter-deficient that day, so it worked out for the best. The hardships I endure for my work.
As if I needed to explain, this was delicious. It’s not so much buttery as it is sweet and nutty. It’s a comforting, warming flavor, perfect for a winter day. That is, if you’re the type to eat ice cream in the winter.