Even though this ice cream has been around for some time, it might sound weird to some people. (But I'm willing to bet that those people also prefer their steak, duck, and tuna all to be cooked until they have the texture of some rather cheap leather. The kind that must be labelled "leatherette".) Indeed, this ice cream does take a little bit of an open mind. But, it has bacon in it, so you sort of see where this is going to end up: an empty ice cream bowl.
Most people credit Heston Blumenthal for first coming up with this idea. And I bet he deserves that credit. Many others have put their spin on this ice cream flavor as well. So what makes mine different? Honestly, not too much. But a few tiny tricks have snuck their way in. Let's see what they are:
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
7 slices of good quality bacon
6 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 small splash of rum
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with tin foil and place a cooling rack on top. In a bowl, combing vanilla extract and bacon and mix to coat the bacon well. Arrange bacon on the cooling rack, and roast for 20 minutes, or until nice and browned. Try to avoid burning the bacon. Allow to cool and chop six of the seven slices, reserving the seventh slice. (Of course, since bacon does not usually come in a 7-slice pack, you probably should have made a few more slices to keep you from eating the bacon meant for the ice cream.) In a bowl, add the remaining chopped bacon to the heavy cream and milk and refrigerate for eight hours. Overnight is even better.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until well combined (see above photo). Set aside. Make a double boiler out of a large metal mixing bowl placed over a wide pan in which an inch of water is being heated over medium low heat. In this double boiler, combine the egg and sugar mixture with bacon steeped cream and milk. Gently heat, whisking constantly.
The idea is to heat the mixture slowly as not to cook the egg. If the temperature rises to quickly, the eggs will scramble. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. If it is getting too hot too fast, remove from heat but continue whisking. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and remove from heat to cool.
As the mixture cools, take the reserved piece of bacon and chop it up into small pieces. In a small bowl, add the bacon and just enough rum for the bacon to soak up. This bacon is going to go in the ice cream and the alcohol will help these small bacon pieces remain a little chewy, instead of frozen solid. Pour off (or drink) any unabsorbed rum.
Strain the egg/dairy/bacon mixture to remove all solids. Pour into a bowl and add the rum soaked bacon. Freeze for several hours until the correct consistency is reached. (You may have to increase the power to your freezer to ensure proper freezing due to the high fat content). Feel free to use an ice cream maker. Consult your manual for use. Serve nice and cold.
PS: Two desserts back to back? I know it is odd to put two posts like that so close together (especially since the both happen to be ice cream). So, what gives? I recently noticed that there were not too many desserts on Six Course Dinner. And every good dinner should have something a little sweet at the end, right?