I recently justified buying an ice cream maker through the non-logic that I would eventually buy one anyway (I’ve been looking at them longingly for three summers now) and this way I’d pay half as much than if I waited. And while the amount of stuff I have in my kitchen almost beggars belief (especially since we recently moved and lost about 1/3 of a kitchen’s worth of storage space) I really needed this one, you guys. Really. We don’t need a toaster but we definitely do need an ice cream maker.
Actually, I can lay my nonlogical ice cream maker purchase squarely at the feet of Outrageous Food, which is a Food Network masterpiece that we have been watching while I knit and M hooks a huge GOD BLESS AMERICA flag-emblazoned rug. It has episode titles like “The 2-Foot Pancake” and “Rattlesnake Pierogies” and “The 72-Inch Burrito”. The entire premise is that the guy runs around with unflappable enthusiasm and joie de vivre, eating weird or grossly oversized food and cheerfully egging on competitive eating stunts. Given that he is one of the few television personalities I’ve seen without the joyless stink of irony, and given that I enjoyed a well-spent $1 on Horsemen of the Esophagus, this is pretty much failproof. The moment I realized that I needed an ice cream maker was the moment that he helped make pizza ice cream at an ice cream parlor with more than 5,000 flavors. Pizza. Ice. Cream.
Somehow M could see the glimmer of pizza ice cream in my eye as we queued to buy my ice cream maker and made me promise to inaugurate it with nectarine ice cream, which ended up such a frustrating mess that let’s never speak of it again. The second batch I made was also her idea, but ended up much better.
She suggested black tea and biscuits, the Anglo/Irish riff on coffee & doughnut ice cream. I based my attempt on this recipe, but with three changes: first, I swapped the Earl Grey tea for Twinings English Breakfast. I used the Twinings because it was already decaffeinated (which is a necessity for me) but I’ve found it brews up so weak, no matter how long you leave it, that I think next time I’d use a nice Assam instead. You want the tea to be strong, since it’ll get diluted with all the cream. Secondly, I mixed in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the custard while it was cooling, to make sure the ice cream tasted rich enough. Lastly, I cut up a dozen custard cream biscuits into largish chunks and folded them into the just-churned ice cream before packing it into the freezer to harden. M observed that the best part of cookies-and-cream is the combination of cookie and filling inherent in sandwich cookies and that custard creams therefore outweighed rich tea or shortbread biscuits. (Shortbread would still be very nice. Nice biscuits would probably be very nice too.)
It was good, really good. It was so tasty it wiped my frustration at the nectarine ice cream, which is the dessert pastry chefs have to make in hell. This tea ice cream is what very lucky people have instead of tea and biscuits or breakfast. In fact, since you want to let it sit in the freezer overnight to let the biscuits soak up some moisture and soften up a bit, it would be ideal for breakfast (or start a batch of coffee-and-doughnuts for breakfast and make the tea-and-biscuits for the afternoon).