Honey Ice Cream report (and using egg whites in ice cream)
I haven't made much ice cream all year, so it's a bit ironic that I'm doing so when the weather's cooling down, but hey, ice cream is a year-round treat in my life! Honey ice cream seems just right for this time of year and would make a great accompaniment to poached figs or pears or even an apple crisp.
Thanks to ghbrooklyn in the linked post, I decided to use his/her recipe as a springboard for my own:
What I did: Combine 1.5 c. whole milk and 1.5 c. heavy cream (or 3 c. half and half) w/ 3/4 c. honey. Heat on med. heat til small bubbles form along edge. In bowl, whisk 2 XL eggs til frothy. Slowly add some of the hot honey mixture to temper the eggs and add back to honey mixture in pot.
Over very LOW heat, heat up mixture til it reaches about 175F, making sure to stir once in a while and turn down heat to prevent curdling. Take off heat and strain. Stir in a splash of vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Taste and add more honey or pinch of sugar if necessary. Chill overnight and churn.
Note: ghbrooklyn's recipe uses 1 whole egg w/o cooking, but I wanted to heat up since I thought that would help w/ texture. I like the idea of using the entire egg because I'm getting sick of all the whites I've amassed in my freezer. I'm scared to check, but I think there must be about 40 whites that I haven't gotten around to using and probably never will. Don't even bother suggesting uses for them since I've read the threads but have no desire to implement. Anyone else use whole eggs in their standard ice cream recipes? I'm going to try this more and more.
The result was phenomenal! First off, the texture is amazing. The honey keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard such that it's ready to eat w/o the usual 15-min. thaw or quick zap in the microwave. Scooped out of the container like a dream. The honey also gives the ice cream nice body and "chew". The appearance was really striking...a pale yellow w/ a matte finish. The flavor was exactly as if I was eating the honey...sweet, slightly caramely, a little nutty, a little citrusy w/ a rosemary pine finish. Sort of tickled the back of the throat at times.
I was worried that applying heat to the honey would mar the flavor, but it seemed fine. I may try adding the honey at different times to see difference in flavor. I was also worried that the egg whites would do something funky, but it worked out fine. In fact, the flavor seemed more direct than might have been if weighed down by yolks. All speculations that I hope will generate discussion...
I think this is one of my and def. one of husband's favorite ice creams I've ever made. As I was eating it, I thought that any artisanal shop would be proud to serve this and that I would feel right about charging $ for this batch. I did think that it would be enhanced by some nuts (salted pistachios or smoked almonds) added at the last minute of churning.
Here's one photo:
Close up photo:
You have inspired me, CarbLover! I need to haul out the Deni and try this. FYI, at the Minnesota State Fair the local honey producers have a booth that sells honey ice cream, and they add (hulled!) sunflower seeds to theirs. That provides a nice bit of crunch/saltiness/nuttiness without overwhelming the delicacy of the ice cream.
Wow, carblover, that looks and sounds delicious. Totally agree with you on the appropriateness of that with some poached figs.
As to the egg white issue (and i know what you mean about a freezer full of the things and zero interest in implementing a major meringue bake-off or what have you)--I've heard that it's the whites that really lead to an eggy flavor to ice cream. I know that there is also the issue of overheating the milk/egg mixture. But, the dislike of too-eggy tasting ice cream has been what has kept me out of the egg white in ice cream business. (Mind you this theory has been untested by me.) It sounds as though you didn't have a problem, but it also sounds as though you didn't use a lot of eggs in this recipe. More whole eggs would obviously equal more egg whites, which might up the eggy flavor? Only empirical research can answer these burning questions!
Thanks for your comments, Smokey! Yes, the eggy issue. I was worried about that. For instance, the whites can give off a sulphuric odor. I noticed a really faint one during heating, but it didn't affect the final flavor at all. I also noticed that the warmed custard had a slightly "powdery" finish on the tongue, which I attributed to the whites. Again, didn't come through after churning. I also think that whites can increase the chances of curdling, so monitoring heat is imperative. I think adamclyde has mentioned that heating up to around 175F can minimize eggy flavor, and I always use a thermometer now.
I don't like many yolks in my ice cream (about 1 per cup of dairy). I usually like about 4 yolks in a qt. of ice cream, so I may substitute 2 whole eggs to see what happens. Will try using a vanilla ice cream that I've made before. This was a brand new recipe, so I wasn't sure what I could attribute to honey vs. the whites.
Edit: Husband polished off the ice cream last night and texture was exactly the same as on the first day. Looking forward to trying other honey-based ice creams!
re: Carb Lover
I'm really curious about the right temperature for heating custard. Mark Bittman also says 175F, and admittedly, Iwas using an instant-read thermometer and not a candy thermometer, but I definitely over-cooked my custard and my ice cream had a grainy texture. What kind of thermometer do you use?
I use an instant read as well since I don't own a candy thermometer. I insert it right in the middle of the liquid but make sure to not touch the bottom of the pot. I do this when I can see the custard thickening and just starting to foam on top. I usually take off heat around 170F to account for carryover and then strain.
The key is to heat up very, very slowly. On my gas stove, that means that the flame is very low. If the heat is too high, I'm guessing that it can still curdle even before it reaches 175F.
re: Ernie Diamond
I've been using my trusty Deni for the past 7 yrs. It's similar to the $35-50 machines out there (Krups, Cuisinart) w/ a canister that you pre-freeze. Other hounds have purchased the newer model for cheap on Ebay or other sites. I think it's now affiliated w/ Cook's Essentials so I'm not sure if there's been a change or decline in quality. How are Deni/Cook's Essentials owners liking their machines?
Here's an old post w/ more info and a photo of my older model: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...