St. Patrick’s Day is long gone, but I’m posting this one anyway. 🙂
Want to get an extra dose of love and admiration from the Guinness drinkers in your life (or anyone who appreciates gourmet ice cream, for that matter)? Make them Emeril’s Guinness Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate-Honey Sauce. It’s simple, delicious, and actually doesn’t taste overwhelmingly like beer. Here’s how I made it.
For starters, the recipe says to simmer 12 ounces (1 bottle) of Guinness stout (not draught) in a large saucepan over medium heat until it’s “reduced by 3/4 in volume.” The recipe also said this would take about 8 minutes. Since 3/4 is 75% and I started with a 12-ounce bottle, I interpreted this as reducing the beer to about 3 ounces. (Does anyone disagree?) I have to say this took way longer than 8 minutes; it was more like 20. Once the beer was reduced, I set it aside.
In a separate medium saucepan, I combined 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 cups of whole milk, and 3/4 cup of sugar. I split a vanilla bean down the center, scraped out the seeds with a knife, and then added both the seeds and the empty bean to the saucepan. I brought the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat and then set it aside.
In a medium bowl, I beat 6 egg yolks (room temperature) with a whisk and then whisked 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Whisking constantly, I gradually added the egg-cream mixture in a slow, steady stream back into the saucepan of hot cream. I put the saucepan back over medium-low heat and cooked it, stirring occasionally, until the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and about 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. (The recipe said this would take about 5 minutes; I was there at 4 minutes.) I removed the mixture from the heat, strained it through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container, covered the surface with plastic wrap (make sure the wrap is actually on the surface of the liquid to prevent a skin from forming), and chilled the mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
When the 2 hours had passed, I removed the chilled cream mixture from the refrigerator and whisked in the Guinness reduction. I poured the mixture into the bowl of my ice cream maker and ran it until the ice cream was thick and frozen (about 30 minutes). Then, I transferred it to an airtight container and froze it until I was ready to serve it.
Before serving, I whipped up a half-recipe of the Dark Chocolate-Honey Sauce to go on top. In a medium saucepan, I scalded 1 cup of heavy cream and 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) of honey. (See tip below if you’re not familiar with scalding.) Meanwhile, I placed 10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. (The recipe said to use finely chopped chocolate; I used Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.) Once the cream was scalded, I poured it over the bittersweet chocolate, let everything sit for 2 minutes, and then whisked the chocolate and cream until a smooth sauce formed. (Admittedly, my cream was not hot enough – perhaps because I used chips instead of finely chopped chocolate – to completely melt the chocolate. I had to microwave it on high for 30 seconds before I could effectively whisk it all together.) Once I had a smooth sauce, I whisked in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and let it stand until it was cool but not firm. I served the sauce over the Guinness ice cream.
The ice cream was really delicious, but here’s the deal: It’s much, much better when it’s fresh from the ice cream maker. When Dr. O and I tasted it before I placed it in the freezer, it was smooth, creamy, and very vanilla-y; you got a taste of the Guinness on the tail end of each bite. Mmmmm. After we froze it, though, it lost some of that creamy texture (this stuff froze hard, let me tell you) and ice crystals developed. I also felt like it was harder to taste the Guinness after the freeze.
The chocolate sauce was also delicious, but it wasn’t what I expected; it was super thick, like hot fudge sauce you might buy in a jar. The term “pourable” doesn’t really apply. There was some debate in the recipe reviews about how much chocolate was actually supposed to go into the sauce (20 ounces or 2 ounces?), but every version of the recipe I could find online said 20 ounces. I’m sure it would be pourable with 2 ounces. Plus, putting the chocolate sauce on top of the ice cream completely obscured the Guinness flavor, which isn’t a plus in my book.
SO, if I were to make this again (and I would), I would eat it straight from the ice cream maker. With the awful noise mine makes while it’s churning, this makes entertaining with the ice cream a near-impossibility, but it would still be fun to eat with Dr. O or with friends I feel absolutely no need to impress. (You know who you are!) I would also try the chocolate sauce again with 2 ounces of chocolate instead of 20, just to note the difference. The ice cream doesn’t really need it, though.
TIPS: To scald something means to heat it to just below the boiling point. When heating the cream and honey, wait until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edges of the liquid; this is the point when you should remove it from the heat source.
Recipe link: Guinness Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate-Honey Sauce