The result of my inspiration this week was Butterscotch Bourbon Miso Ice Cream.
It was an off hand conversation that began this ice cream. I was discussing my theory on ice cream-it’s a great blank canvas on which to test out taste theories. I told stories of Sichuan Peppercorn flavor and spicy mango gelato with candied lime peel.
“Have you ever made one with miso?” Asked Soojin, who I had only met moments ago. I paused, the wheels already beginning to spin. Meanwhile, on the other side of my weekend, I had been watching the incredible Penny De Los Santos teach food photography online at CreativeLive. While I joke that I in fact have the worst food photography in the world, it was, if nothing else, interesting to see some of the reasons why the professionals are so much better.
So with miso on my mind and my mind on my camera, I set out to make a miso ice cream and photograph it in a way that did not totally suck. For some reason, when I thought about miso in a sweet way, the first thing that came to mind was not the bean paste style desserts that you see in so many Asian establishments, but rather butterscotch. It’s overly sweet flavors called for a complex, savory aspect.
The recipes I browsed for butterscotch all, unsurprisingly, called for the addition of scotch whiskey. For some reason, the earthy flavors of scotch didn’t agree with my mind’s palate and I swapped it out for some good ol’ American bourbon. I got that rush of knowing I had something good in the works. I used a David Lebovitz recipe from his book The Perfect Scoop to get an appropriate textured base, then subbed in my own touches.
Then came the photography. I used a number of lessons from Penny’s class:
1) I totally copped her overhead angle. I think it makes all my food look a little brooding. Just call this the Jordan Catalano of ice creams. Intriguing, perhaps, which is why it works.
2) It’s okay to be messy, she told us. This is good, as messy is my natural state. You can see drips of ice cream on the white plate in the orange background shot.
3) See the folded napkin in the first shot? I noticed this is something she added in a lot of shots, adding texture and color. I do not, in fact, own any cloth napkins, so what you see here is a folded shoe bag from my latest pair of shoes. It works though. Shoes, I do have.
B and I couldn’t agree on the best picture, so I thought I would post them both. Anyone care to take a guess about who liked which best?
- 5 Tbsp Butter
- .75 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1.5 tsp Miso (I used shiro)
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 Cups Cream (divided)
- 6 Egg Yolks
- .5 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1.5 Tbsp Bourbon
- In a pot big enough to fit all the ingredients, melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar and miso.
- You should now have a sort of thick liquid. To this, slowly add in the milk and 1 cup of the cream, keeping it all over the heat until it's quite warm.
- Next you need to temper the egg yolks. Beat them in a bowl, then add in a tablespoon or so at a time from the milk/sugar mix, stirring it in to the eggs.
- After a while, the eggs will be all warmed up, and you can very slowly add them into the big pot of milk mixture.
- Keep this over heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken-it took mine almost ten minutes, just be careful not to let the milk burn--I keep it over medium-low heat.
- Put the rest of the cream in a bowl and once the mixture is hot, strain it into the bowl. Straining will make sure that, in case you did scramble any eggs, it doesn't end up in the ice cream.
- Stir in the vanilla and bourbon (take a shot if you'd like).
- Leave the whole mixture in the fridge for 6-10 hours so that it's a little colder when you churn it.
- Churn in your ice cream maker.
- Freeze. Eat. Enjoy.