This was dessert for my Burns Night supper, and I originally intended to post it before then so you could enjoy it too – it made a fine, boozy end to a fine boozy meal. Apologies for that, then; but you shouldn’t need such an excuse to eat this. Winter is made for such small indulgences, and this is definitely a winter icecream, perfect for a warm house and a slightly over-full stomach. I prefer my summer ices a little less alcoholic.
A good, rich icecream made from scratch is one of the finest of simple luxuries, and – as with most things – is immeasurably improved by two fingers of whisky. Leave out the extras, though, and you have a very lovely basic recipe that is ripe for experimentation. If you make the custard carefully, you shouldn’t even need an icecream maker – the old whisk-and-freeze will do well, although it does take significantly longer. A word of warning – you might think ‘the more booze the better’, but too much and your mixture will not freeze. A double per pint is about the sensible limit, as in life.
WHISKY ICECREAM WITH SALT OAT PRALINE
Makes about 800ml
300ml whole milk
4 large egg yolks
130g caster sugar
300ml double cream
50g jumbo oats
A pinch of Maldon salt
50ml single malt (I used Macallan 10)
Gently warm the milk and cream to just below boiling. Meanwhile, beat the yolks with 100g of the sugar until thick and very pale. This is perhaps the most important part of the whole process – use an electric whisk, or you’ll get bored too quickly. When you’re done, the mixture should have doubled or even tripled in volume, and will be the kind of pastel yellow that gets called something like ‘chantrelle’ on colour charts. If in doubt, whisk a bit more. When you’re happy, whisk in the warm dairy.
Scrape the mix into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat very gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. (A lot of recipes recommend a bain-marie for custard, but it takes forever. Just be careful). As soon as it thickens, take off the heat and strain into a clean bowl. If you can be bothered, place in a sink of cold water or ice and stir until it cools down. You don’t want scrambled eggs, although a certain amount of curdling can be strained out. Leave to cool, and preferably refrigerate overnight.
For the praline, toast the oats in a dry pan until they’ve darkened a shade (you could get that colour chart out again here), then add the remaining 30g of sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir and toss until nicely treacle-toffeeish, then pour onto a sheet of greaseproof. When cold, smash up.
Ok. Either churn the custard in an icecream-maker, adding the whisky and praline when it’s frozen, OR pour it into a large tub and freeze, uncovered, for an hour. Take out, whisk the edges into the middle, and freeze again; repeat until nearly done, then stir in booze and oats. Either way, a spell in the freezer overnight will finish it off nicely. Some shortbread and the rest of the Macallan would do very well here.