One of the very few things I regret during our last trip to California was bad timing. We had read about Humphry Slocombe’s prosciutto ice cream (among many other unusual flavors) and it quickly made it to the top of our list. However the day we went, we were told -by the the friendly girl behind the counter- that it was in the making and would take another day – the day we’d already be on our way to Los Angeles. Of course we returned to the Mission District as soon as we returned to San Francisco, yet were out of luck again. We tried. But no prosciutto ice cream for us. Sure, the other flavors available gave their best shot at making up for this (tiny) letdown and their Secret Breakfast was especially successful. My favorite! And of course not to miss their Boccolone Lard Caramels. Come on, how can you not love an ice cream shop, where they offer you to sample almost all of their available flavors?
Back home, the idea of making my own pork based ice cream began to emerge, but the nasty spring weather had kept me from dusting my beloved ice cream maker for many more weeks. Until I was going through some stacks of business cards last week, when I stumbled onto a bright blue card from Humphry Slocombe. “Now’s the time!”, I thought to myself, my own bacon ice cream being the most appropriate way to kick of ice cream season in our kitchen. I used my standard recipe for the custard base and chopped a solid amount of bacon – combined with some Muscovado sugar it turned into a pretty challenging concoction. I wouldn’t dare to serve this to everybody, but my friends showed team spirit & were all adventurous enough to try a bite, most of them even liked it, ha! The flavor is actually pretty mild, the fried bacon flavor blends harmoniously with the maple and Muscovado sugar. Next time around I will take it one step further and serve the scoops with some caramelized apples.
And one last word of appreciation: To whoever coined the phrase “Everything tastes better with bacon!” – I’d love to thank you for your culinary wisdom. You are my personal hero.
Finely chop the bacon stripes. Heat a large pan, add the bacon pieces and cook until they have gained a nice color and turned crisp. You may want to add a teaspoon of butter (never hurts & always adds flavor). Take out about one forth of the bacon pieces with a skimmer and place them on kitchen paper to get rid of excessive fat and keep them for later. Add milk and heavy cream to the rest of the bacon and let simmer over low to medium heat for about ten minutes (this is the last moment to chicken out: you could use this base for a creamy bacon sauce for some pasta or a potato gratin, in the event that this funky ice cream idea sounds all too brave at once?!) Remove from stove and let cool for a minute or two, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl or beaker (these bacon pieces should be discarded – they have lost all their flavor).
Meanwhile mix together egg yolks and brown sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mix becomes shiny and creamy – this takes about four minutes with a KitchenAid (Level 4 to 6). Then pour the warm bacon cream over the egg and sugar concoction while constantly stirring (slowest level, if using a KitchenAid, otherwise you will end up with foam).
Reheat the custard mix slowly, again continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot until it has noticeably thickened and coats the back of your heatproof rubber spatula (thanks for the tip, David!), DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Let cool down and spice up the custard with some maple syrup (2-3 tbsp). Chill covered custard in the fridge for at least an hour (a few more hours won’t do any harm though).
Setup your ice cream machine according to the instructions and freeze your ice cream. When it’s almost done, add the saved bacon bites and get ready for a very special ice cream experience!
Bacon ice cream with maple syrup
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: 30min. plus chilling & freezing
Ingredients (~4 scoops):
1 tsp butter (optional)
200g heavy cream
4 egg yolks (M-L)
40g brown sugar (I used dark Muscovado)
2-3 tbsp maple syrup