Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Homemade Life: Vanilla Black Pepper Ice Cream

October 2011 was THE month to have babies.  I noticed that when we first enrolled Thatkid in daycare there were 4 others in his class born within those few weeks. 

When he started at his new school, he made some more friends with October 2011 birthdays.  Which of course means our already full October weekends have gotten even more full!  This past weekend we had a birthday party on Saturday AND Sunday.

Saturday was a princess party.  Because while 3 year old boys love super heroes, 3 year old girls love princesses.

This particular girl loves Ariel.    Who happened to show up at the party.

While the little girls stood in awe of the mermaid, singing with her and adoring her, the boys were a little....unsure of how to react.

Luckily there was a table of goodies which kept the boys occupied.

Because dressing up isn't just for girls.

Because we had the race, we had to leave the party early.  I can only ask you to imagine the abject sadness expressed by Thatkid when he realized we were leaving before having any cake.  Poor kid.  I feel for him.  I mean, it's really not a birthday without cake, right?

Ice cream isn't a fair substitute, but it will have to do.  Especially since we're still dealing with summer heat around these parts.  The parents huddled under the shelter at the party, watching the kids play on the playground and commenting that it is far too hot for October. 

Vanilla gets a bad rap as far as flavors go, but in a lot of ways it's more complex than chocolate.  Done right, vanilla has intricacies and depth.  Paired with black pepper in this recipe helps to heighten the sweetness.  I know that sounds weird, because how can pepper make something sweeter?  That's the beauty of contrast.  Just like how these hot summer days inevitably will make the winter weather feel even colder - if that weather ever comes.

Vanilla-Black Pepper Ice Cream (From A Homemade Life)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper

  1. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup of the cream, sugar, and salt.  Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and steaming.
  2. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and fill it about a third full with ice cubes.
  3. Add about 1 cup of cold water, so the ice cubes float.
  4. When the milk mixture is hot, remove it from the heat.  
  5. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then gradually, slowly pour about half into the yolks, whisking constantly.
  6. Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the milk mixture.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan slowly and constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to very lightly coat the spatula.
  7. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer, and stir well to combine with cream.  Place the bowl carefully in the ice bath.  Let cool, stirring occasionally.  Then remove the bowl from the ice bath, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill it completely.
  8. When you're ready to churn the ice cream, stir in the vanilla and the black pepper.
  9. Pour the custard into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions.  Transfer the finished ice cream to a container with a lid and put in the freezer to harden  for at least 2 hours.

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