It’s taken some time, but I feel like my brain has finally made it back to the land of the living. For the past two months, I have felt a little overwhelmed for various reasons and that has done a pretty successful job of sucking the life out of my creative thinking. Fortunately, it gave me a chance to focus on some more traditional recipes which helped me baby-step my way to what I have to share with you today.
I’ve said before that the best ideas are often accidents. This is no exception. It all started when I was asked to make some ice-cream. I knew I wanted it to be something different. None of this chocolate-vanilla-strawberry stuff. I was getting nowhere productive until I came home from running errands to find an order that I had made a few days ago had arrived! I opened the box and took out white miso paste, udon noodles, and yuzu marmalade.
OK, I can work with this. (Well, not the noodles…)
It took me two seconds to decide that I was going to make miso ice cream! Yes. This was a good idea (that could potentially flop, but let’s not encourage negative thinking).
I began taking out the necessary ingredients for my ice cream when…gasp!…there was no sugar!
OK, it’s fine, you can figure something else out.
*Silence…blank stare at the cupboard…*
Then there it was- my answer to the problem- brown sugar! I had heard of brown sugar ice cream before, so why not?
A little mixing, a little heating, a little churning, and about 2 hours later I was ready to taste this new creation.
I timidly took a spoon and scooped a small bite directly out of the ice cream maker. I smelled it and it reminded me of the topping for an upside down cake. Toasty, buttery, and warm.
The flavor was, as I told La Fuji Mama on twitter, like salted caramel on steroids. Since white miso has a relatively mild flavor, it melded perfectly with the nutty brown sugar to create a flavor reminiscent of salted caramel but with an added umami depth that can only come from miso. It was perfect.
So, I made another batch just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke! I’ve made 3 batches now and it is most definitely NOT a mistake.
All I have to say is this: if you are an ice cream lover, you must make this. It’s exciting and different and perfect to get yourself out of whatever rut you may find yourself swimming in.
Brown Sugar-Miso Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1 cup whole milk
1 cup light brown sugar (you can also use dark if that’s all you have)
2 tablespoons white miso paste
5 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
Combine the milk, brown sugar and white miso paste in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and break up the miso paste. If there are still chunks, don’t worry- they will break down when it is heated as long as you stir it well.
Pour the cream into a large metal or glass mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Separate the egg yolks and put them in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Take the milk, brown sugar and miso mixture and transfer to a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. You don’t want to heat the mixture too quickly, so this step may take a few minutes. The milk mixture should not come to a simmer, but you may see 2 or three bubbles come to the surface, which is fine. The sign that it is done heating is that the sugar is completely dissolved and steam is steadily rising from the top.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Gradually pour the hot liquid over the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid the eggs scrambling. Return the liquid and egg mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Use a spatula to stir the liquid constantly until it begins to thicken and coat the spatula. This can take about 10 minutes. Again, don’t heat it too fast! Patience, grasshopper…
Now, remove the pan from the heat and take the cream out of the refrigerator. Pour the hot liquid into the cream, stirring constantly until the mixture has cooled down. Cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Take your ice cream base and put it in an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
When the ice cream has reached a soft-serve type of thickness, transfer it to a separate container and freeze for about 1-2 hours before serving.