Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I know, it's almost the Autumn Equinox, and I'm posting another ice cream recipe.  But, it's peanut butter!  Gooey, rich, comforting, and that's what we look for in fall food.  I came across this recipe in The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook, written by Peggy Fallon.  This ice cream is a rich custard based dessert.  Custard bases have eggs, but they are cooked, giving it a creamy, rich texture.  The taste is very reminiscent of those peanut butter balls your grandmother makes at Christmas, or if you've ever enjoyed a peanut butter shake down at Sonic. 

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 packed cup creamy peanut butter
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  Begin by combining the cream, milk, and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, about 6-8 minutes.

  Add the peanut butter in large spoonfuls, mixing well after each spoonful, until the peanut butter is melted and everything is smooth.

  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by slowly whisking in 1 cup of the peanut butter mix. Add the egg mixture back into the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook and stir until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take around 5 to 10 minutes. Take care not to boil or the egg will curdle.

  Strain the custard base into a bowl and let it cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract, cover, and refrigerated for at least 6 hours. (The base will keep for 3 days in the fridge.)

  Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and freeze according to your maker's directions. Transfer to a covered container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.  This additional freeze time is called ripening and does a lot for the flavor and texture.

Notes: This recipe is very forgiving.  Usually for homemade ice cream, you'll want to use whole milk for the fat content.  But this recipe, I used skim milk since I was already using heavy cream, and I forgot to pick up whole milk while I was at the store.  (Hey, at least I'm honest.)  The peanut butter was another total happy accident.  I grabbed whipped creamy peanut butter, which was 1/3 less sugar, and it still came out exquisitely rich with no adjustments to the sugar.  But you should know that Ms. Fallon says to use only commercial peanut butter and not the natural kind you can grind yourself, because it will separate in your ice cream.

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