Smoking heavy cream adds an incredible depth of flavor to frozen desserts like ice cream. Sweet and rich but also a little pungent, smoked ice cream here gets additional depth from minimally refined muscovado sugar and fragrant vanilla bean.
Why this recipe works:
- Smoking cream on its own allows you to easily determine the final smokiness of your ice cream.
- Molasses-like raw sugar and vanilla take the lead on flavor, using smoke as an accent ingredient.
- Though brown sugar is a suitable substitution for muscovado, the latter adds a deeper raw flavor to contrast the smoke.
Note: This recipe will make more smoked cream than you need, and the exact amount of smoked cream you use is up to you. Smoked cream will keep 7 to 10 days if refrigerated.
- For the Smoked Cream:
- 4 cups hickory or mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
- 1 quart heavy cream
- For the Ice Cream:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup muscovado sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Smoked Cream: Set up your smoker with 1/2 cup wood chips for low-temperature (about 150°F) smoking following the manufacturer's instructions.
Fill a shallow disposable aluminum baking pan with enough ice to come halfway up pan, and just enough water to nearly cover ice. Nest a smaller shallow disposable aluminum baking pan with at least 2-quart capacity into the ice bath. Set pans in smoker and add 1 quart of cream to smaller pan.
Close smoker, adjusting vents to maintain as low a temperature as possible, and smoke until cream develops a strong, but not overpowering, smoky flavor, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours; replenishing wood chips 1/2 cup at a time as needed, and stirring cream occasionally. Monitor temperature of cream: If an instant-read thermometer registers above 60°F, discard ice bath and replace with a fresh one. Pour cream into an airtight container and refrigerate.
For the Ice Cream: Blend smoked cream with fresh cream to taste, starting with 1/2 cup smoked cream and 1/2 cup fresh cream and adding more of each to taste, until volume totals 2 cups and smoky flavor is pleasant and not overpowering. Reserve additional smoked and fresh creams for another use.
Whisk together egg yolks and muscovado sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in diluted smoked cream and milk until fully combined, then place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid reaches 170°F or until a finger swiped across the back of the spoon leaves a clean line.
Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container, stir in vanilla and salt, and chill in an ice bath or refrigerator until it registers no more than 45°F on an instant-read thermometer, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 to 5 hours before serving.
Ice cream machine, smoker, disposable aluminum baking pans (one with at least a 2-quart capacity, the other larger)