I kept this recipe unpublished for so long because it’s a part of my favorite party trick. I let my guests taste the ice cream and ask them to name four its ingredients. I hear all kind of answers — caramel, toffee, some say vanilla bean seeds because they see tiny brown dots, etc. Everybody is genuinely surprised when I name milk, sugar, eggs, and butter.
I learned this recipe at school years ago.
After making it the original way, I realized without churning in a professional ice maker it melts too fast at a room temperature. To make it a bullet-proof recipe for a home kitchen, I modified the steps.
Step 1. Make Beurre Noisette.
Step 2. Make Creme Anglaise.
Step 3. Emulsify them while keeping the bowl in an ice bath.
Step 4. Refrigerate for 8 hours to stabilize, whip, portion, and freeze.
Don’t be intimidated by the terms Beurre Noisette, Creme Anglaise, Emulsify. These beautiful words mean simple things.
Beurre Noisette is brown butter. Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat. First, you melt it. Second, you let all the water evaporate from the butter — the loud noise you hear is water turning into the steam. Butter contains 13-17% of water. Third, watch milk proteins become dark brown — it’s the same reaction as when you brown any other proteins like meat, fish, poultry, cheese. That’s it! If you have a kitchen thermometer, the temperature of cooked brown butter is 275-280F/135-138C, no higher than 284F/140C.
Creme Anglaise is a cooked mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar. Whisk them combined in a saucepan over medium heat and cook whisking until thick and fluffy. That’s it! If you have a kitchen thermometer, the temperature of cooked Creme Anglaise is 167-180F/75-82C, depending on milk fat contents and milk to eggs ratio.
Emulsifying here is blending/whisking brown butter into the Creme Anglaise. For an experienced cook, everything can be done with a whisk, but using a blender makes this step much easier. Blend the emulsion first using a blender, then transfer it into the bowl, which floats in the ice bath, and then whisk it until cold (~40F) and thick.
All you need to have in your kitchen is measuring cups, saucepans, bowls, blender, and a good whisk. A kitchen thermometer is a bonus.
Use it as a cream for cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, etc. Fill your eclairs or choux pastries with it. Pair it with poached or macerated apples and pears and sprinkle with chopped toasted hazelnut, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate pearls. Hot black coffee and scotch are the best drinks to accompany.