Why This Recipe Works
- Soaking raisins in dark rum for 2 days thoroughly infuses them and plumps them up.
- Adding rum to the ice cream base alters its freezing point, resulting in a softer, smoother texture.
- Letting the churned ice cream set up in the freezer for 24 hours gives the rum in the raisins time to migrate into the ice cream, which mellows the raisins considerably.
One thing a lot of people don't realize about professional pastry work is how much time really goes into things. Long-term planning is a significant part of almost everything I do, and I'm not just talking about things like breads that need to hydrate, rest, and rise.
For example, one of the signature desserts I concocted at a restaurant would take a minimum of three days to make from beginning to end: layers are baked, fillings are made and chilled overnight. The next day, the layers are trimmed and fillings are whipped, then stacked together in a large frame and placed in the freezer to set up solid overnight. The day after that, the frame is removed and the whole thing cut into slabs, then one-inch bars. After a final thorough chill in a freezer, they're glazed with a warm chocolatey glaze then finally set up in the fridge for service.
That may be a fairly extreme example, but in my part of the kitchen, even things like ice cream take at least a couple of days to properly make. Thoroughly chilling the base in the refrigerator overnight is a trick most ice cream hobbyists already know about—it thickens the base considerably which makes for a faster churn time and smoother final product, and helps to develop flavors as well.
One flavor I make requires three days to reach its full potential, but when it finally does, it's worth it. Rum raisin is a classic flavor incredibly popular in the Caribbean, but not so much in the States (too many irrational raisin-haters perhaps). I tasted it for the first time in Costa Rica and have had a soft spot for it ever since.
Raisins are soaked in dark rum for up to two days (the longer the soak time, the more they'll absorb) and are churned into a base that seems fairly bland at first, with faint accents of brown sugar and cinnamon. After setting up for a full 24 hours, though, the rum flavor leaches into the ice cream itself and the bite of pure rum in the raisins mellows out considerably. And all the extra sugar and alcohol keep the ice cream smooth and soft, ready to serve straight out of the freezer.
Rum Raisin Ice Cream Recipe
This boozy classic takes a few days to come together, but the soft, creamy, and flavorful results are worth the wait.
1 cup raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup dark rum
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place the raisins in a container with a tight-fitting lid and add rum. Cover and shake to evenly coat raisins in rum, let sit at room temperature at least overnight and up to 2 days. Drain excess rum from raisins, reserving 2 tablespoons. Set aside.
Combine milk, cream, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming and sugars are dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually whisk hot liquid into yolks, then scrape back into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
Add vanilla and reserved rum to base and process in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions, adding raisins when almost fully churned. Remove to freezer-safe container and seal tightly. Freeze at least 24 hours before serving.
Medium saucepan, whisk, fine-mesh strainer, ice cream maker
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||22%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||52%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 23g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|