I regret that it has been over a month since I’ve introduced you to a new recipe that I’ve made. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to blog nor cook recently. In fact, the meals I made over the long Labor Day weekend are the first that I’ve made in two and a half weeks. During the past month, we’ve both changed residences and gone on vacation.
The apartment that we moved from had plenty of room for all my kitchenware (primarily because my kitchenware took over the hall closet), a decent pantry, and an uneven and unreliable oven that liked to bake hot (and liked to spike up to 550F if you set the temperature at 450F). A large kitchen is really what made the old place tolerable, and so I’m thrilled to have spent the weekend unpacking and organizing my kitchen (in a house). I look forward to cooking a lot here.
Until this weekend, the only thing I’d made was a batch of brownies – my go-to recipe to see how my oven bakes. I took full advantage of 3 days off; I made homemade cinnamon rolls, oven-baked ribs, and Alton Brown’s recipe for baked beans. My new oven is electric and runs a little warm, but I don’t know how much of that is just the result of how an electric oven cycles on and off. I still don’t have much inspiration, but it’s been a lot of fun cooking again.
I used the lure of homemade ice cream to entice our friends to help us move. With the heat this summer, ice cream is something I’ve been particularly excited about. (Did I tell you that at one point this year, I had 5 cartons of ice cream in my freezer?) I ordered David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop and promptly found a couple of great ice cream recipes to make.
I decided to make Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream since I had all of the ingredients for it – making ice cream with them meant not having to move them separately!
Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream
4 oz dates, chopped
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2/3 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup toasted pecans
As with most ice cream recipes, this one takes a little advance preparation. You gently heat the dates with the rum and let the fruit macerate overnight.
The ice cream mixture was a standard vanilla custard with the addition of rum. You heat the milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Whisk the warm milk into the beaten egg yolks gradually. Return the mixture to medium heat and stir constantly, scraping the bottom, until the custard thickens and coats a spoon. Pour the custard into the heavy cream; Lebovitz recommends pouring the custard through a strainer, which is a good idea if you’re concerned it might not be smooth. Add vanilla and rum. I skipped cooling the mixture over an ice bath, and just stored it in the fridge.
The next day, I churned the mixture in my ice cream maker. I added the pecans and dates right before spooning the mixture into a container and storing it in the freezer.
Since I used prechopped dates (rather than chopping my own), the date pieces became more of a date puree. I was afraid that the dates and pecans deflated the ice cream, but I found this wasn’t the case when I scooped the ice cream. The high alcohol content kept the ice cream easily scoopable, even after days in the freezer.
The ice cream was rummy but not too rummy. Honestly, with the rum and dates and pecans, it reminded me a little fruitcake, but was less cloying and heavy. I shared with Alex and our friends Jen and Mike. We all enjoyed it.
This is a great ice cream, and it’s something you can’t get in stores. It’s definitely worth trying!