Recipe: white russian ice cream
Wildflower season is exploding here in Crested Butte, and it’s not even peak yet! I know this because 1) I hike a couple times a day through fields of gorgeous wildflowers and 2) I’m sneezing constantly and my eyes are red and itchy. It’s not even the sheer quantity of the wildflowers, but the impressive variety that Crested Butte boasts. Right now we’re seeing larkspur, dwarf lupine, blue and crimson columbines, prairie smoke, cinquefoil, arnica, wild rose, sticky geranium, mule’s ear, wild iris, scarlet gilia, and so many more.
mammata overhead, scarlet gilia and lupine on the slopes of crested butte mountain
prairie smoke (pink) in fuzz mode
I’ve resigned myself to not shooting the wildflowers this summer and just enjoying our hikes with Neva with occasional snaps of the iphone. Neva has been on a regimen of hiking and swimming – kinda like puppy summer camp – to get her beans out each day (one of her nicknames is Nevabean). Not only do we have to socialize her with other dogs, people, and children around the neighborhood, but she needs to become familiar with dogs, wildlife, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers on the trails.
her checkup at the vet last week (she was super well-behaved)
she got up on this bench by herself and sat down to rest in the shade
discovering new trails together
keeping hydrated after a long walk
Shortly before leaving for Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the doorknob of our front door. We rang it before taking Neva outside to potty a couple of times, and then we taught her to ring it and sit down at the door when she wanted to go potty. She picked it up right away. When we got to Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the front door and she rang that to ask to be let out to potty. We were overjoyed! And then she started to ring the bell minutes after she had just gone outside to potty… because she just wanted to go outside. She still rings it to go out to potty, but she ALSO rings it when she’s bored and wants to hang out in the yard. Hrmmmm.
i wanna go outside, i wanna go outside, outside, outside, outside…
smelling of lavender after her (much needed) bath
It’s a gradual progression, the parts of our lives that we are able to reclaim after the shock of puppy’s arrival. Instead of waiting for her to fall asleep before we can even think of making dinner, I can now cook while she’s hanging out in the kitchen or happily playing with her toys in the living room. Best of all, Neva has been exposed to a lot of thunderstorms and they don’t faze her one bit. In fact, I was out shooting a storm as it lit up the mountains all around us the other evening and she was right there with me, playing with some neighborhood doggy friends and then calmly sitting next to Jeremy. We just want to raise her to have the happiest life possible. So far, so good.
mammata at sunset in nederland
my unicorn: sunset + rainbow + lightning (in crested butte)
lightning bolt over crested butte mountain
And for the past two weeks, Jeremy and I have been able to take shifts in the mornings so one of us can trail run while the other hikes the puppy. I had been on a 6 week hiatus because of the pup and my upper respiratory infection, so the first run felt awful, but in that good awful way. I felt free. And now I can enjoy the summer mountain views, watch deer bounding across the hillsides, make note of mushroom flushes, monitor the progress of the mountain huckleberries, and dream of the days when these slopes will be buried under feet of beautiful, skiable snow. I so love the mountains.
my morning trail run – who needs coffee? (jeremy does)
After all of that rambling, I do have a recipe. It’s appropriate for the summer season, too! Before Neva joined our ranks, I had the luxury to think of new recipes I wanted to try. I ran them past Jeremy and one in particular piqued his interest – White Russian ice cream. I did some research and immediately found White Russian ice cream floats which combine vanilla ice cream with booze. That’s not what I wanted. A little more digging brought me to the wonderful world of boozy ice creams and their paradoxical existence. You see, boozy ice creams require booze. I’m not talking about a tablespoon of liquor, but a cup or more. The problem is that alcohol doesn’t freeze, and yet ice cream is frozen. The solution is gelatin.
eggs, gelatin, kahlua, vodka, cream, sugar, milk, water, salt
According to the two ladies who tested and developed this recipe, the process can be a little finicky. So if you’re serious about your White Russian ice cream, then follow the instructions. It’s best to make the custard a day ahead so it can chill completely. While you’re chilling the custard in your refrigerator, you should also pop your vodka and Kahlua in there too – you want both of those liquids to be cold. I have a fancy vodka pictured here, but you can use cheap vodka since it’s getting frozen and mixed with sugary, creamy things.
heat the sugar, salt, cream, and milk in a pan
temper the egg yolks with some of the hot cream
strain the custard
chill the custard completely
Later in the day or the following day, you can resume your White Russian ice cream making session. Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling the powdered gelatin over cold water. Then heat the gelatin in a small saucepan over low heat. You don’t want to make it hot, you just want it to be warm enough that all of the gelatin has dissolved and become liquid. Next, whisk in the cold vodka and Kahlua. Don’t whisk lazily, but with gusto! Otherwise you might wind up with some solidified strands of gelatin. You want to avoid that because it means there’s less gelatin in your ice cream to keep it from being liquid. Do strain the gelatin-booze mixture, just in case there are tiny bits of chewy gelatin, then stir the mixture into the chilled custard.
bloom the gelatin
whisk in the chilled vodka and kahlua
strain the gelatin-booze mixture
stir the booze mixture into the chilled custard
The ice cream sets up pretty soft and I am wondering if perhaps it would benefit from more gelatin or perhaps some melted white chocolate added to the custard when it is warm? I don’t really like white chocolate, but it would definitely add some structure. You basically have to scoop and eat the White Russian ice cream immediately before it starts melting. It has the texture of soft serve – smooth, creamy, very nice. Also? It’s DELICIOUS. This is my conclusion as well as Jeremy’s. It’s got quite the boozy kick to it as ice creams go. That was the whole point of this exercise. It tastes like a frozen White Russian cocktail because it IS a frozen White Russian cocktail! So don’t be serving this to little kids because then you’ll have drunk little kids running around. The extra step with the gelatin is worth the effort because – BOOZY ICE CREAM! Hell yeah, AMERICA! Enjoy your Fourth of July festivities, folks!
soft, but scoopable
frozen white russian cocktail with a cherry on top
White Russian Ice Cream
from Ice Cream Happy Hour: 50 Boozy Treats That You Spike and Freeze at Home by Valerie Lum and Jenise Addison
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup cold vodka (refrigerated)
2/3 cup cold Kahlua (refrigerated)
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp (1 packet) powdered gelatin
Make the custard: Combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Heat until the cream mixture is steaming, but not boiling. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up. Whisk the egg yolks while slowly pouring a half cup of the hot cream into the yolks until incorporated. Whisk in another half cup of the hot cream. Now whisk the egg yolk-cream mixture back into the pan with the rest of the hot cream. Set the pan on medium-high heat and stir constantly (with a whisk or a spatula – just be sure to get the edges of the pan, too) until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Chill the custard over an ice bath and then refrigerate until completely chilled. Measure out the vodka and the Kahlua and refrigerate. Give these at least 8 hours in the refrigerator or overnight.
Booze up the custard: Pour the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let it bloom (sit) for 2 minutes. Scrape the bloomed gelatin into a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Make sure the gelatin is completely dissolved. Whisk the chilled vodka and Kahlua into the warm gelatin. Strain out any lumps. Stir the gelatin mixture into the custard. Churn the custard according to your ice cream machine’s instructions and then freeze the ice cream. Makes 1 quart.
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