Guinness and Brown Bread Ice Cream for St Patrick’s Day

By Monica Shaw •


There are fewer beverages more associated with the Irish than Guinness and St Patrick’s Day presents a sound excuse for exploring this famous stout in all of its guises, both as a beverage and as an ingredient in cooking. Monica shares how it can be used to create a delicious ice cream.

 

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Last year I discovered that Guinness is an excellent addition to mushrooms on toast. This year, I’ve discovered that Guinness is equally adaptable to sweet recipes, too.

I found my inspiration in The Icecreamists: Vice Creams, Ice Cream Recipes & Other Guilty Pleasures by Matt O’Connor and his recipe for Brown Bread and Irish Stout Ice Cream. I’d never heard of “brown bread ice cream” before but it seems to be a “thing” in Ireland and Britain. It goes back to 18th-century Victorian times and has been a popular flavour in England and Ireland ever since. The premise is this: take ice cream, mix in crunchy caramelised bits of bread crumbs and devour it with gusto. Sounds good, right? And this version is a particular tribute to the Irish, made with brown Irish soda bread and our beloved Guinness.

The ice cream base is a basic custard, kicked up with cinnamon and nutmeg (a LOT of nutmeg, which I love). For the brown soda bread, I use the recipe in Bread: River Cottage Handbook No. 3 which includes dark treacle for a sweet, molassesy kick – basically perfect for this ice cream (you could also try Bryan Webb’s soda bread recipe available on Great British Chefs).

The recipe only calls for 50ml of Guinness, which leaves plenty left over for drinking, but also makes me think a little extra Guinness in the ice cream wouldn’t hurt, particularly with all the strong spices. Regardless, the final result is a total win. Caramelised bread crumbs in ice cream – or in anything for that matter – might be my new favourite thing.

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Guinness and Brown Bread Ice Cream

Adapted from The Icecreamists.

Ingredients

  • 250 ml (1 cup) full-fat milk
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) double cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 88 g (1/2 cup) dark brown (muscovado) sugar
  • 20 g (1/3 cup) brown Irish soda bread (or other brown bread)
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) Guinness or other stout
  • 30 g (1/2 cup) brown Irish soda bread
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) dark brown (muscovado) sugar

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk, spices and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until slightly fluffy. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.
  3. Add the crumbled soda bread and mix with a stick blender, then pour the mixture back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture straight into the fridge.
  4. Once cooled, boil the stout until it is reduced by about half and add to the custard. Cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally overnight but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4°C/40°F). Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (you can also make this without an ice cream maker).
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the caramelised crumbs. Combine the crumbled soda bread and sugar and spread over a shallow baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place under a medium-hot grill, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are softly caramelised. Allow to cool a little.
  6. Fold most of the toasted bread mixture into the ice cream, then use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).
  7. Decorate each portion with a few of the remaining caramelised bread crumbs before serving.

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Monica Shaw

Monica Shaw is web consultant working with chefs, restaurants & food producers, to help them make use of the internet to improve their businesses. She's also a freelance writer, her credits include The Daily Telegraph, Chef Magazine and food mag. Monica enjoys experimenting with vegetables & creating delicious & healthy dishes, a topic covered on her blog SmarterFitter.com. She is working on The Healthy Vegan Breakfast Book, due to be published in March 2013

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