A few years ago, the milliner and I were doing some holiday groceries. The cart was pretty full, I’m thinking “gosh, do we really need that second jar of water chestnuts,” I’m building up a sweat from pushing the cart, looking forward to finally getting out of there. However, Ms. Milliner was making a bee-line for the freezer section, where she latched on to one of the last remaining containers of the chain’s Christmas Ice Cream.
I had never heard of it, but quickly discovered the succulent joy of crushed candy canes and chocolate bits in a vanilla ice cream. Yup, it went straight to my hips (actually, more like my stomach), it was expensive as all get-out, and we found out later that it went on sale a couple weeks after the holidays, albeit somewhat stale.
So, when I bought the ice-cream attachment for our mixer, my first thoughts was, “damn, we’re running out of room for all these attachments.” My second thought, however, was “gee, I wonder if there’s any hockey on the tube tonight.” But my third thought, finally, was, mmmm, christmas ice cream. So, we came up with the following recipe. Normally, this would be an all-cream recipe, but we’ve substituted half the cream for milk, meaning you can have a double serving at only half the calories. (That’s how it works, right?)
Christmas Ice Cream
- 2 cups 35% (heavy) cream
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean (you could use Tahitian vanilla, but it’s expensive and, because the emphasis here isn’t on the vanilla, buy a cheaper bean if you can find it.
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 candy canes crushed up in food processor
- 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet (70%) chocolate
Seed the vanilla bean, i.e. cut it along the seam, dig out the seeds with the tip of a knife, and add to a pan with the milk and cream. Heat the cream mixture just to under a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the eggs yolks become white.
Strain out the cream, and slowly add to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Refrigerate the custard overnight. The next day, place the custard in a sorbetière (ice cream maker), adding the candy canes and chocolate towards the end.
Finally, as always, enjoy! It’s probably the only thing that’s even marginally cold this winter.