Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bacon and egg ice cream

The always amazing Chef Heston Blumenthal (he of the fat duck restaurant in Bray, England) makes bacon and egg ice cream. I was watching one of his programs and he showed how it is done. It looked pretty straightforward - and by doing it table side it has a definite wow factor. Well it isn't actually done table side, but the final freezing is - using dry ice.
Now dry ice is cold and potentially nasty stuff. It is carbon dioxide (CO2), and so you don't want it in a confined/airtight space. It comes in a solid block. It goes straight from solid to gas without going through a liquid phase. That means if you seal it up, the gas pressure build up will cause it to explode/ It is incredibly cold. You will get frostbite if you handle it wrong. In other words consult an expert before trying this at home.
1 lb smoked bacon
1 1/4 pints (US pints or 1 Imperial pint) of WHOLE milk
10 large egg yolks - make meringues with the whites?
1/3 cup of maple syrup. (Chef Blumenthal's recipe uses sugar, but I wanted the maple flavor)
2T dried milk powder.
2 lbs dry ice
Cook the bacon - I did it in the oven for 15 minutes at 425F.

Drain the bacon on paper towels. Cut into small pieces and infuse into the milk. Let stand in the fridge for at least 12 hours - preferably 18.
When the time comes to make the ice cream base, heat the milk/bacon mixture + the milk powder in a saucier until almost boiling. Temper the egg yolks with a little of the hot milk. When the yolks are tempered, strain the hot milk onto the eggs, whisking it in.
Discard the bacon. return the custard base to the saucier and heat slowly until thick (175F), stirring continuously. It will thicken and coagulate. Don't worry if it looks a bit like scrambled eggs at this stage - but do not allow to become solid!
Strain into a bowl, and immediately cool in an ice water bath. 

Refrigerate until ready to do the theater.
This dish was served with melba toast triangles

and a little maple syrup garnish. To freeze the ice cream, pulverize the dry ice in a plastic bag until it is a very fine powder. take care to wear gloves and safety goggles. Dump the dry ice into the custard base and stir like crazy with a metal spoon. The ice cream will freeze instantly and be very smooth in texture.

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