Thursday, April 29, 2010

Absinthe Ice Cream

There is a bar in Houston called Absinthe. It has no sign, and you really have to know where it is. Even if you know where it is, you will drive past it several times. As one might expect, they specialize in absinthe cocktails, my favorite being Hemingway's Revenge, a combination of creme de cassis, champagne, and absinthe. So when our favorite wine store had a special on absinthe, Joe insisted on getting a bottle. And then David Lebovitz, ice cream deity, made absinthe ice cream. It was like the stars had aligned.

Most people describe absinthe has having a black licorice flavor. That's not false, but this ice cream brings out all of the herb flavors and even a hint of "vegetal bitterness" (I stole that phrase from a mixologist at Patterson House). The chocolate tempers it a bit. If you don't have absinthe, any absinthe-flavored liqueur would be a fine substitute. All you're missing is the wormwood oil. And note that the alcohol doesn't cook off, so be mindful of who you serve this too.

Absinthe Ice Cream
source: David Lebovitz

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

A pinch of salt

2/3 cup (130g) sugar

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream or half-and-half

5 large egg yolks

3-4 tablespoons absinthe

about 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate truffles, or chocolate chips


1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream or half-and-half into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the cream or half-and-half. Stir over the ice until cool, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Stir in 3 tablespoons of absinthe. Taste, and add another one if desired. 7. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once churned, stir in the chopped chocolate bits.


ErinsFoodFiles said...

WOW! This sounds incredible!

Lisa said...

This has got to be one of the most interesting ice cream flavors I've ever heard of. Leave it to David!

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