Kitchen Witch - All thanks to Mr. Ice Cream

Bill Addison’s Vanilla-Bourbon Ice Cream

Blood orange and burnt caramel, crème fraiche and Meyer lemon, brandy-macerated peach. These were the ice cream flavors I had come to hear about over the phone with my friend, the former pastry chef-turned-restaurant critic (and my former editor). He’d rattle them off nonchalantly, as if I knew what he was talking about, and surely he was referring to something off the menu at a hot new restaurant, right?

Think again. The man whose refrigerator housed little more than a jar of mustard was the most detail-oriented, flavor-specific ice cream maker I had ever met. Friends stopping by for a Sunday afternoon catch-up session? Depending on the season, they might get cardamom-infused persimmon, blackberry-lime or a chili-heated watermelon sorbet.

He would go to any length to make the most lavish ice cream, and for that alone, I admired him. In spite of all my culinary training, I had never made ice cream and was in awe of his imaginative ice-creamy spirit. But, I rationalized, Mr. Ice Cream (as I’ve come to think of him) owned a fancy Italian machine that produced Maserati-style gelato.

The recent market trend of lower-end electric machines designed for the kitchen plebe got me thinking that perhaps I should plunk down the 50 bucks and attempt to say “I love you” with ice cream, just like Mr. Ice Cream.

So I called him, announcing my plans. He assigned me a batch of vanilla (laced with bourbon, of course) so that I could get a handle on the basics of ice cream custard. Put that freezer bowl in the freezer 24 hours ahead, he advised, and let that custard get good and cold.

Dutifully, I prepared my first batch of custard, and when chilled, poured it into my new machine for a 35-minute churn. Then, the moment I had been waiting for arrived. I stuck my spoon in, and it seemed like time (or my heart) had stopped. It was a flavor-cream bomb, without the supermarket “air cream” we’ve become accustomed to.

I think even Mr. Ice Cream would have been proud.

Bill Addison’s Vanilla-Bourbon Ice Cream

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/2 vanilla bean

7 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup bourbon

• Place cream and half-and-half in a saucepan. Slice vanilla bean in half, scraping seeds into cream mixture. Add bean and bring mixture to just under a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 20 minutes.

• Separate eggs. Combine egg yolks with sugar and salt in a bowl, whisking until mixture lightens. Slowly whisk in a small amount (approximately 1/4 cup) of the warm cream mixture to temper the eggs. Transfer egg mixture into saucepan and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon without running (about 165 degrees).

• Remove from heat. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, removing vanilla bean. Add vanilla extract and bourbon. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and water.

• When cooled, pour custard into an airtight container and chill completely. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

• Makes 1 quart.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.