raspberry swirl and brownie ice cream
I hope that everyone had a wonderful National Ice Cream Day last Sunday! If you missed it and didn’t have any ice cream (shame on you!), don’t panic, July is National Ice Cream Month. You’ve got the rest of the month fulfill your duty to dig your spoon into that bowl or get your fingers sticky with an ice cream cone. If you’re inclined to make your own (and I believe everyone should give it a shot!) I strongly suggest you celebrate with this raspberry swirl and brownie ice cream.
About a week and a half after my knee surgery, my boss e-mailed me and, knowing we don’t have air conditioning in this sweltering heat, said she hoped I was making lots of ice cream. Eating it, sure, but making it? No. I was pretty darn lucky that Joseph had made that strawberry basil sorbet (which is so wonderful and so easy!) but making sweets isn’t really his domain and I was confined to the couch. But the more I thought about it, it just seemed critical that we make our own ice cream for National Ice Cream Day because anything less would be a downright disrespect to this oh so important day (yes, this is how my mind works). Luckily Joseph was game, so we plunked a chair for me in the kitchen and got to work armed with crutches (me) and a great attitude (Joseph).
We wanted to highlight fresh seasonal fruit and decided on raspberries and turned to ice cream icon David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. The raspberry ice cream looked good, but it calls for 6 cups of raspberries. They may be cheaper now that they’re in season, but they’re not that cheap! Luckily the recipe right before that one was for raspberry swirl ice cream, which sounded pretty awesome and only calls for 1½ cups of raspberries.
One of the first things that I learned about Joseph is that he loves, loves, loves chocolate and raspberries together. I also think it’s a pretty amazing combo and while raspberry swirl ice cream sounded good, I couldn’t help but think it would be even more fantastic with some chocolate. My first thought was ice cream sandwiches with chocolate cookies. But that was too much work. Then I thought hot fudge sauce. That would be pretty amazing, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the chocolate in the ice cream. And then it hit me. Brownies.
Luckily the book also has a great recipe for brownies that, while sinfully good on their own, are also ideal for going into ice cream. The dense, chewy brownies hold up well to freezing so that when you bite into them in the ice cream, you get soft, chewy brownies instead of rock hard frozen or soggy, mushy chocolate. Perfect, no? Between the surprisingly bright and refreshing raspberry swirl (with small chunks of real raspberries!), the rich, chewy brownies, and the cold creamy vanilla ice cream this ice cream is pure heaven.
For those of you who have never made ice cream at home, never fear! It’s not that hard! I’ve done my best to lay out the process clearly below and please don’t hesitate to post a comment with any questions you have. And for those of you who don’t have an ice cream machine, we love our Cuisinart and it’s not that expensive. There are even churning attachments you can get for your Kitchenaid! It’s incredibly fun and rewarding to make (and eat!) your own ice cream and come up with your own creations and variations.
I’m thinking our next ice cream might be a straight up chocolate or maybe an darjeeling tea. Or strawberry. Or bourbon with cocoa nibs. Or…. What are you going to make?
Raspberry Swirl and Brownie Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
You’re working with ice cream here, so you want your ingredients to be cold when you’re using them. That means you’ll want to plan ahead so that you don’t bake your brownies, take them out of the oven, and then throw them into the ice cream. We made the custard and the brownies the evening before (the bonus here is that your oven and stove aren’t on in the middle of the hot day), and then the next morning we made the raspberry swirl, waited an hour (so the raspberry sauce has plenty of time to chill) and then churned the ice cream. Make sure to chill whatever you’ll be storing the ice cream in and it’s also not a bad idea to freeze the brownie crumbles too so that they’re cold when you put them in the ice cream.
I recommend using a saucier pan to make the custard if you have one. My All-Clad saucier is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. It slopes down much more gradually than a regular saucepan so it’s easier to stir and keep everything moving without worrying about what’s getting stuck in the crease where the sides and the bottom of the pan meet. No problem if you don’t have one, just use a flexible heatproof spatula and remember to reach into the crevices often to keep everything moving.
The brownie recipe here is for David Lebovitz’s Chewy-Dense Brownies. They’re fantastic on their own and are the ideal brownies to add to ice cream because they’re still chewy even after freezing. You can add as many brownie pieces as you’d like, but I recommend about 1 1/2 to 2 cups or so. This leaves plenty of brownies left over for brownies a la mode, brownie crumbles to top off the ice cream, or just plain ol’ brownie eating.
The vodka in the raspberry sauce is not optional – the alcohol prevents it from freezing all the way. It’s a small amount and is spread throughout the ice cream, so I think it’s fine to serve to kids, but what do I know?
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
- 2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups brownie pieces (optional)
- Raspberry Swirl
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups (160 g) raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoons vodka
Make the ice cream:
- Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan (preferably a saucier if you have one).
- Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. Place this bowl inside an ice bath (a larger bowl with ice and water).
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks in ¼ cup installments, whisking constantly. This will gradually temper the egg mixture (raise the temperature) so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. Pour the warm egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, making sure that you are scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a saucier, don’t forget the corners where the bottom and the sides of the pan meet! Heat the mixture until it has thickened and begins to steam. The custard should coat the back of your spatula and leave a defined streak if you run your finger across it. If you want to be extra sure you’ve got it at the right spot, check with an instant read thermometer, which should read between 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Immediately pour the warm custard through the strainer into the cream and add the vanilla extract (I always add a little extra). Stir frequently to help it cool quickly.
- Once the custard is cool, cover it leaving the lid ajar, and chill thoroughly in the fridge (at least 8 hours).
- Once the custard has chilled, freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make the brownies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Line an 8-inch square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides (use a second sheet placed perpendicularly to the first if necessary to cover all sides of the pan). Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with butter or nonstick spray (the latter being the much easier choice of course).
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the unsweetened chocolate pieces and stir constantly with a whisk over very low heat until the chocolate is melted.
- Remove the chocolate-butter mixture from the heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla. Stir in the flour and the salt. Beat the batter vigorously for 30 seconds, until it begins to form a smooth ball. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the center feels just about set. Remove from the oven and let cool. To mix brownies into ice cream, chop or crumble them into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2 inch square pieces (if you want a more pristine vanilla ice cream you’d probably be better off chopping the brownies. We crumbled them and had lots of little tiny crumbs that are peppered throughout the ice cream).
Make the raspberry swirl:
- An hour before churning the ice cream, prepare the raspberry swirl. Mash the raspberries together with the sugar and the vodka with a fork, leaving some raspberry pieces intact. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
Put it all together:
- When your ice cream is done churning, fold in your brownie crumbles (if using). Then, as you are putting the ice cream into the container that you’re going to store it in, layer it with spoonfuls of the raspberry mixture. DO NOT STIR. Throw it in the freezer for a couple of hours to harden up a bit and enjoy!
Yield: 1.5 quarts