Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

For years, I've complained about the disappearance of rum raisin ice cream (along with tutti-frutti, butter brickle, and the like) from stores, and yesterday I resolved to try making some. I wasn't working from a recipe, but I figured rum, raisins and a rich custard based ice cream would do it-oh did it ever! Why didn't I make more? I need to make more-quickly!

Really, I'm not fanatical about ice cream as I rarely eat it. I make it often enough as the boys are rather fond of the stuff, but personally I prefer sorbet. Well that's all changed since I tasted my latest ice cream experiment. How could something this delicious fall out of favour with consumers? What the hell is wrong with Americans? (OK, I didn't put that out as an invitation to actually begin listing what's wrong with Americans because anyone who has looked at a newspaper of late, knows exactly what's wrong with Americans-and it isn't the collective taste in ice cream.) Could you make this with rum extract rather than rum? Probably. I can't encourage you to do so, but I'd be interested to hear how it works if you try. I used a very small amount of rum, and most of it was drained from the raisins and used to baste my stored Christmas cakes. If alcohol is an issue for you, there might be acceptable alcohol-free extracts to use, but I don't know of any from my own experience.

I used the cheap rum for this. Cruzcan, I think it is called. It was under ten dollars a bottle. Good enough for ice cream and feeding Christmas cakes anyway. Mr. ETB says it is acceptable, and he's more of a rum connoisseur than I, so let's go ahead and take his word for it. I wouldn't use the white rum (for anything actually, that stuff is disgusting) or the spiced stuff for this.

One last point-I read people grumbling on their blogs about the time consuming nature of making a custard due to cooling before processing it. I have two words for you-Ice Bath. You can stick the whole damned thing in the fridge to hurry the process along. It rarely takes more than fifteen minutes to cool a custard enough for making ice cream-so really I don't know what everyone is on about. If you have a temperamental ice cream maker, perhaps letting it cool longer helps, but I never found that to be the case. I no longer use the maker preferring the texture I get from a freezing tray, but it still does not take forever to cool a custard base. Ice cubes-what will they think of next?

You Will Need:

3 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (I've been using 2% milkfat without anyone noticing)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup raisins
Enough rum to cover raisins

Soak the raisins in the rum for at least three hours, then drain. You don't stir them in until the end, so you have plenty of time while the ice cream is freezing, but if you plan ahead they can keep overnight.

Heat the milk and cream until steaming. In a heat-proof bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Slowly whisk the milk/cream into the eggs/sugar. Return to pan and cook, whisking one in a while until it reaches 175 degrees f. Strain into a heatproof bowl through a fine sieve to catch any bits of cooked egg. Place bowl in an ice bath and stir occasionally. You can add a bit of vanilla extract if you like at this point.

Process either in an ice cream maker or a freezer tray. When ready, stir in the raisins. The alcohol will keep the raisins soft in the ice cream.

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