As a child, it took me a while to branch out from vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Maybe I was a little timid with new flavors, or perhaps those flavors were the only flavors in the freezer. When eating ice cream with other people, I remember eyeing other flavors with curiousity but refraining from trying anything new. My pop-pop would always get himself a scoop of butter pecan ice cream when we visited the ice cream shop near his home. The flavor sounded weird to me - butter? In ice cream? Eventually, with a little prodding, I tried his scoop and it soon became one of my favorite flavors. I now enjoy many butter and/or nut flavored ice creams (like my favorite - Gravel Road).
Recently I found out that my mother goes gaga over Butter Almond Ice Cream. Who knew? I thought thought she was always a Peach and Cherry Vanilla fan. Apparently she loves the flavor of the store bought version of this ice cream, but she loves the texture of the ice creams that I produce, so she requested that I make her the flavor.
During my last visit home, I tried version in the carton and it tasted like buttered almonds scattered throughout sweet cream ice cream. I stepped up my ice cream a little bit by taking a page from Jeni's play-book and adding butter solids to the ice cream base and then threw in some salted buttered almonds for added flavor. My mother has not tasted this ice cream yet (sadly she lives across the country) but I plan to make it for her as soon as I see her again. I love it! If you like Butter Pecan ice cream you will LOVE this flavor. Enjoy!
Butter Almond Ice Cream
Adapted from recipe in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoon (1.5 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/8 cup corn syrup (30 ml)
1/2 cup buttered almonds (see below)
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk together cream cheese and salt. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring butter to a boil and simmer until the foam subsides but butter has not yet browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes, allowing butter solids to settle to the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour clear butter oil into a storage container. When there is very little oil remaining, use a small spoon to remove as much melted butter as possible. There should be about 1 Tablespoon of butter solids and a small bit of melted butter left in the pan.
Add remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup to the butter solids. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes (must be exact for correct consistency). Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture through the sieve into the cream cheese, pressing the sieve with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible. Whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool, about 20 minutes.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place a small layer of buttered almonds on the bottom of a plastic ice cream container. Lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of almonds and ice cream until the container is full. Place a few remaining almonds on top. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
3/4 cup chopped and/or slivered almonds (I used a mix of both)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing to coat almonds. Spread mixutre evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until slightly toasted and aromatic. Let cool completely before adding to ice cream.