I have an irrational fear. Don’t laugh at me, okay? But eggs and hot milk scare me. Not separately, of course, though I’m not particularly a fan of eggs. But the act of combining the two into a silky, smooth custard has been a hindrance for some years now. Every time I come across a recipe requiring this terrifying task, I move on to the next one, pretending that I can find something even better that doesn’t require that custard step.
And really, custard is not that hard to make. There is no cause for concern here, as long as you pay attention and follow directions. If I can do it, so can you! Just make sure you have everything you need at hand, take your time, and give it your undivided attention. It only takes a few minutes anyway–15 at the most, start to finish–so you can handle this. It’s worth it for the gains in texture. Trust me.
This recipe is an adaptation of one that Sailor Jerry tweeted…I don’t know, a few months ago. Their version is actually a semifreddo, which is easier than making ice cream–no ice cream maker required. Leave it to me to take something easy and make it more complicated. 😉 In all seriousness, I originally intended to prepare it as a semifreddo but that can in the cabinet that I thought was sweetened condensed milk was actually evaporated milk. I recalled in Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book that there were three ice cream bases at the beginning of the book–one that used the same ratio of sweetened condensed milk to cream. So I figured that substituting a custard base should work since I was going to run it through the ice cream maker anyway. And voila! That’s how I started down the road less traveled.
I used my super special vanilla sugar for this one because I really wanted that vanilla flavor to come through. You take vanilla beans and pulverize them with granulated sugar in a food processor. Sift out the big pieces and store in a jar. Mine had been sitting for a few months, distributing that enchanting fragrance throughout every grain of sugar. All the flecks of vanilla bean look great in the final product.
The recipe calls for gingersnap cookies. You can make your own or use store bought–that’s your decision. I used Stauffer’s Ginger Snaps this time, but I think I’ll make my own next time. This recipe looks promising.
All in all, a great summertime treat. Just plan ahead–there’s a lot of cooling of ingredients involved.
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup vanilla sugar (the good kind with the vanilla bean processed into it, though the other will do; if you have neither, use the same amount of granulated sugar and add 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
- 2½ Tbsp Sailor Jerry spiced rum
- 1½ cups crushed gingersnap cookies (big pieces and small)
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking along the way, until fully incorporated (at least 1 minute). Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk on medium until bubbles start forming around the perimeter of the pan.
- Remove pan from heat and slowly add the heated milk to the sugar/egg mixture, whisking the whole time. Give it a good whisking for a minute and then return the whole thing to the sauce pan. Heat on medium, stirring frequently, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon with a film.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a covered bowl, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Remove the custard from the refrigerator and add to it the cream and Sailor Jerry spiced rum, mixing thoroughly.
- Freeze in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- In a covered container, spread a layer of cookie crumbs, then ice cream, then a layer of cookie crumbs, then ice cream.
- Chill in the freezer for 4 hours, or until it reaches desired consistency.