The luck of the (hungry) Irish must have been with me this morning as I woke up to my inbox filled with delightful St. Patrick's Day recipes. The one that caught my eye seemed to have been sent by a particularly boozy leprechaun at Sur La Table, one who loves the magically delicious combination of chocolate, bacon and... Guinness?
Before you balk, Guinness
is one of the darkest, richest and creamiest libations around, perfect as the base to a St. Patty's Day frozen dessert. What makes it even better is pieces of applewood-smoked bacon, brushed with a coat of semisweet chocolate and sprinkled on top of the ice cream. So if you've got the time, inclination and company who can't resist a sweet and savory dessert, get out your ice cream maker and get moving!
Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate Bacon Bits
Serves: 1 quart ice cream, or about 8 servings
- 12 ounces Guinness Stout, or other dark stout beer
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
- 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
To prepare the ice cream, pour the Guinness in a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Simmer the stout until reduced to 4 ounces and reaches a syrupy consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
Combine cream, milk, and sugar in another large saucepan. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a lengthwise slit in the vanilla bean. Using the back edge of the knife, scrape the vanilla bean seeds out of the pod and into milk mixture, along with the pod itself. Heat milk mixture over medium heat until it boils, then remove immediately from heat.
Prepare a large mixing bowl with an ice-water bath. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow in color. Rapidly whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream back into the hot cream while whisking constantly. Cook egg mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the reduced stout to the thickened egg mixture, whisking well until to blend. Transfer the ice cream base to a heatproof medium mixing bowl and place inside ice-water bath. Stir ice cream base often and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate ice cream base for at least 4 hours or until cold.
Pour cold ice cream base into the bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Because of the stout, the ice cream will only reach a soft-serve consistency. Remove ice cream from machine, cover, and freeze until ready to use.
To prepare chocolate-covered bacon bits, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bacon strips on prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch of space around each piece. Place a second rimmed sheet directly on top of the bacon and weigh down baking sheet with a heavy ovenproof skillet. Transfer to preheated oven and cook bacon until well browned but still pliable, about 25 to 30 minutes.
While the bacon cooks, fill the bottom of a double boiler with 2 inches water and heat over medium-low heat until simmering. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set over the simmering water. Heat gently, stirring often, until completely melted. Keep warm over low heat.
Once the bacon is cooked, transfer the slices to a heatproof wire rack set over another rimmed baking sheet, spacing the bacon at least 1 inch apart on all sides. Using a silicone pastry brush, coat one side of each bacon piece with melted chocolate. Transfer pan with bacon to the refrigerator for 8 to 10 minutes to let chocolate set. Remove pan from refrigerator and carefully flip the bacon pieces. Coat the second side of the bacon with melted chocolate and return pan to refrigerator for another 8 to 10 minutes, until ready to use.
To serve, use a sharp chef’s knife to chop the coated bacon into ½-inch pieces. Scoop ice cream into chilled bowls, sprinkle chopped bacon over ice cream, and serve immediately.