Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mint julep ice cream

During the summer, I'd made, at separate times, fresh mint ice cream and bourbon ice cream, and on the first day of fall, I melded the two to make mint julep ice cream. Should I be invited to or have a Derby Day party next year, this will be as necessary a party accessory as a big hat.

Last time I made the recipes was back when I had that large cookbook library access and had borrowed the Chez Panisse desserts cookbook, which I love, especially for ice cream. But I'd long since returned the book, so I set out to find myself my very own copy. At Black Oak, I found a first-edition hardback copy for $75, but it's not for collecting, it's for coating in sugar and cream, so I kept looking. At Pendragon, they had a bunch of different Chez Panisse cookbooks, but not Desserts. I called over to Mrs. Dalloway's, but they didn't have it either. I looked on Amazon and found a copy, but I'm conflicted about buying from them, so instead I did a web search and found a Lindsey Shere vanilla ice cream recipe. I didn't add the vanilla bean, and after it had turned to that perfect custard consistency, steeped fresh mint leaves in it for 15 minutes, and then after chilling it added the bourbon. I had to add a lot more bourbon to meet the strong flavor of the mint than what I remember the original bourbon recipe calling for, but it didn't seem to impact the freezing process at all.

So how did it taste? Really good. The interesting thing about these two flavors together is that you can get them at the same time. It's almost as if they're playing at different taste octaves, so both can exist simultaneously. It's different than what I think of as complexity in flavor, because complexity builds on the relationship between flavors working towards a new taste. In this case, you got both distinct flavors as separate but very complementary. I think it's what they call harmony, and it tastes so right.
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