Thursday, April 2, 2015

Date Ice Cream

Last week, I was very proud of myself for choosing to have a few dates for dessert instead of a bowl of ice cream.  That quickly turned into "I bet I can make date ice cream".  I checked out a bunch of recipes online and chose to base mine on this one from Delicious Shots.  The unique factor was creating a date syrup of sorts so the pieces wouldn't freeze in the ice cream into inedible lumps.

My version is less sweet and intense than the other site's because I used more ice cream base than she did but only used the half pound of dates I had left from my trip to Hadley's and no more sugar.  I'm making this to have for dessert at Seder, and one of the guests always brings a heavy honey cake.  This ice cream is something lighter to have on the side.
For the heck of it, and to make the ice cream less likely to form a solid block, I added a tablespoon of rum (KLP) to the sugar syrup.  It isn't in the recipe, and totally up to you if you want to use any alcohol, or even more than I did.  Bear in mind, more than 2 tablespoons in a batch this size will keep it at soft-serve consistency and give it a shelf life of one week, even in the freezer.

2 C heavy cream
2 C milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 C water
1/2 C sugar
*8 oz pitted dates

1.  Set aside any dates you want to use as garnish.  Chop the rest coarsely.  If you use pre-chopped dates, pay attention to whether they're coated in sugar or starch, as you may want to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe.  Chopping allows the dates to absorb the syrup you're about to make, and so you can check for pits.

2.  Stir together water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in dates (and alcohol).  Allow to soak while you prep the custard.  I ran errands and they soaked for several hours.

3.  In another saucepan, combine milk and cream.  Slowly bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Beat the egg yolks lightly and add half a cup of the cream to them to temper the eggs.  Return to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to coat a metal spoon.  Do not boil, or the eggs will curdle.  Remove from heat.

4.  By now, the dates should be rehydrated in the simple syrup and not too hot.  Purée with a hand blender or in a food processor until only slightly chunky.  Stir into custard until smooth.  Place a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard and refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours.

5.  Once cooled, process in ice cream maker to soft-serve consistency.  Pour into serving container and freeze for 4 hours before serving.  You may have to let it sit at room temperature a few minutes to soften before scooping.  Garnish with reserved dates.

Makes about 1-1/2 quarts (6 cups)

Difficulty rating :-0

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