The first step in making this ice cream is candying the bacon and if that’s as far as you get, you’ll still be pretty happy. I candied an extra two strips knowing full well that I would eat them before they ever made it into the ice cream. And I did and it was awesome. This ice cream works because it doesn’t taste overpoweringly of bacon. The base is flavoured with brown sugar and a bit of rum and the candied bacon is only added in at the end for a special sweet and salty finish. The only change I would make to the recipe would be to add some fleur de sel at the same time as the candied bacon, I thought the ice cream could actually have used a little more of a salty kick. But who am I to question David Lebovitz’s ice cream prowess? Any way you scoop it, if you’re a bacon lover this ice cream is for you.
Bacon Ice Cream, (From David Lebovitz)
For the candied bacon;
5 strips bacon
about 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
¾ cup (packed) brown sugar (170g), light or dark (you can use either)
2¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.
3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.
4. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that's collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
5. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)
6. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.
7. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
8. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
9. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
10. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.