Thursday, May 30, 2013

We All Scream

One of the major items on my must-do list for our recent trip to Nashville was a visit to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.

Mercy sakes people.

While Jeni's only has storefronts in Ohio and Tennessee, I had enjoyed some Jeni's once before right here in the comfort of my very own home. It's sold locally at Hubble and Hudson, and after that first glorious taste I was determined to make a trip there someday. Kind of like needing to see Mt. Rushmore or The Blarney Stone or something.

This is special ice cream y'all, and I'm a Blue Bell lover from way back. Not everyone's bucket list looks the same.

I'd heard stories of the long, long lines of Jeni's devotees who frequently wait hours just to taste flavors like Brambleberry Crisp, Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Goat Cheese and Red Cherries, Juniper and Lemon Curd, and so many more.

Reisling Poached Pear Sorbet


                                                   Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts

                                                          Queen City Cayenne

Why yes, I believe those are the flavors they serve in heaven.

Several times during the trip we wound our way over to the shop just to find the line of people out the front door, down the steps, and spilling out into the street. It was graduation weekend and evidently a scoop or two of Jeni's was on more than a couple of must-do lists. Finally, we showed up one time and there was no one (I mean no one) in line.

It was a miracle.
An ice cream miracle.

I learned that one of the things that makes the line so long most days is that the friendly staff actually encourages you to taste almost every flavor before deciding on what you're going to order. And I did people do. Taste almost every flavor, that is.

Isn't that what all those tiny spoons are for?

Anyway after we all ended up in a Jeni's induced dairy coma of the most wonderful sort, I decided that I just had to start making my own ice cream. I'd been on a crusade to buy my own ice cream maker for a while and the minute I returned home I did just that.

For my very first batch of ice cream I used a base recipe similar to the one that Jeni's uses. It's quite rich and creamy thanks to the addition of a little cream cheese, and freezes to a beautiful, smooth consistency. Just before it was completely done I added some strawberry preserves which gave it a little tartness and cut the creaminess somewhat. But really, what's the point in that?

For my next experiment I got substantially more creative. First, I made some of the crunchiest, sweetest, candied pecans ever.

Then I substituted 2 tablespoons of whiskey for some of the cream in the base recipe. (Don't worry, the base mixture is boiled, so the alcohol burns off leaving just the richest and most decadent flavor.) And then I added some maple syrup.

Yes I did.


Tipsy Pecan Brittle was born. (Cue trumpets blowing)

I really can't describe how good it is. Rich. Creamy. Buttery. Crunchy.

In all the right places. At all the right times.

I wish I could just spoon some into your mouth right now.
If you can't run by and grab a scoop out of my freezer, you can make some for yourself.

Here's how:

Tipsy Pecan Brittle
Ice Cream

1 ¾ c. milk (I used 2%)
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (minus 2 tablespoons!)
2 tablespoons whiskey
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup (I used Aunt Jemima’s)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
3 cups chopped candied pecans (see recipe below)

In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside. In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, whiskey, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture. Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. In the last 5 minutes, add the candied pecans.
Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set.
*For the candied pecans:  Stir together one cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Set aside. Then stir together one egg white and one tablespoon water, whisking until frothy. Pour the egg/water mixture over 1 pound of pecan halves and stir to coat evenly. Then pour the sugar mixture over the pecans and use your hands to coat evenly.
Spread pecans evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

**This will make lots more than you need for this recipe, but the leftovers won't last long.

I know, all the cream.

Please call a tow truck.

1 comment:

Lisa Williams said...

I have never heard of Jeni's but then again I have never been to Tenneesee. I want to go...NOW!