Serious Eats: Recipes
Scooped: Irish Coffee Ice Cream with Shaved Dark Chocolate and Candied Pecans
Polish-Jewish background aside, I was raised in a house of Irish coffee. Sunday nights a few family friends usually came over to share good laughs and gargantuan steaks—and, of course, some hooch. My father is a dedicated Scotch aficionado, and many of these dinners began and ended with a wee dram. Those meal-ending sips were more often than not stirred into Irish coffees, served in specially reserved glasses and topped with snow caps of freshly whipped cream. Irish coffee epitomized indulgent nightcaps for me, so it was only a matter of time before I set out to capture it in ice cream form.
It has buttery, smoky caramel, a dash of coffee grinds, and a generous helping of whisky for good measure. It's a bracing combination, but oh does it work. First you taste the coffee, roasted and rich, with the pleasant bitterness of an actual cup of joe. Then comes the caramel to sweeten things up just a tad, melting to sweet buttery goodness. Then the whisky: the more ice cream you eat, the more you taste it. I used a couple shots of Jameson: it's rich like caramel but surprisingly light and doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients.
The mix-ins here are like those plops of whipped cream: totally unnecessary, but totally delicious. Besides reinforcing the roasted, buttery notes of this ice cream, candied pecans and shaved dark chocolate help fight the good fight of sweetness in a custard with plenty of kick. How you do mix-ins is of course up to you. I kept the pecans whole and used them as a garnish, but you can just as well chop them up and add them to the ice cream while churning. Nuts not your thing? You could do a lot worse than chocolate-covered pretzels or coffee beans.
Full disclosure: The Jameson whisky used for this ice cream came from a free sample.
About the authors:
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He currently lives in London, where he really misses New York City tap water.
Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.