Ah, coffee. Where do i begin describing my love affair with this beverage. There’s quite nothing in my world a cup of strong, aromatic liquid gold can’t fix; it jump starts a sluggish morning, make long hard days seem to go by a little quicker and even makes an excellent day even better.
My long standing affair with this caffeine-loaded beans has certainly taken its fair share of turns. It first started, like every young teen i suppose, with cups of coffee, topped with copious amount of milk and sugar, generously flavoured and blended with ice. While they sure were delicious and always quickly slurped up, my tastebuds soon started screaming for a taste of the coffee itself, unadulterated by artificial flavourings and whipped cream. Hence begun my obsession with our local kopis (the malay term for coffee; strongly brewed coffee topped with condensed milk), lattes, cappuccinos and Vietnamese coffee (really thick strong coffee that’s usually brewed through a drip and topped with condensed milk). It was about then that i had started my academic journey in Melbourne. And really, where better than Melbourne to embrace the coffee culture. Endless rows of cafes lining quaint lanes in the nooks and cranky of the city fuelled my obsession for coffee. More recently though, i’ve acquired a taste for black coffee. Yup, nothing like a cup (or two) pure liquid gold to get the day going.
As strong as my obsession with coffee might be, this batch of coffee ice cream actually had nothing to do with it. I made it, to very belatedly thank one of my best friends who had sent me this incredible ice cream book i (and practically everyone in the food blogosphere) have been raving about. She’s just as bad a coffee junkie as i am, so what better way to thank her than with a tub of freshly churned coffee ice cream.
I really enjoyed making this batch of ice cream. I really felt the ingredients come to life in my kitchen- the coffee beans steeped in a mixture of fresh milk and cream, gradually infusing its flavour, the coffee-flavoured custard, coaxed by gentle heat and constant nudging of a wooden spoon, really coming together and of course, watching my ice cream work its magic on the custard, slowly introducing air into the mixture and firming it up to form the glorious ice cream.
Of course, making the ice cream with the sole purpose of being given away doesn’t mean i had to deprive myself of tasting it right? After all, someone had to be the taste tester :)
To be perfectly honest, irresistible and aromatic as the coffee ice cream was, i didn’t know how well i would take to the ice cream mainly because i’m not a fan of milky coffee. Well, it turns out, i needn’t worry. One spoonful was all it took to get me swooning, declaring it more than worthy to be given away. Of course, whether i could bear to part with this gorgeous, subtly flavoured coffee ice cream was a totally different issue :)
Well, in case you’re wondering, yeah it did reach its intended destination. In fact, barely less than fifteen minutes after it arrived into safe hands, i got a call from said best friend, saying her brother had already polished off a quarter of it :)
Now, i’ve definitely got to try that Vietnamese coffee ice cream recipe.
Coffee Ice Cream [adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop]
- In a medium saucepan, warm milk, sugar, coffe beans, salt and 1/2 cup of cream over medium heat. When mixture is warm, remove from heat, cover and let steep for an hour at room temperature.
- Pour remaining cream into a large bowl and sit bowl in an ice bath. Whisk egg yolks together in a medium bowl till pale and well combined. Reheat milk mixture, making sure it doesn’t boil. Gradually pour milk mixture into the egg yolk, whisking quickly and well. Then pour mixture back into saucepan.
- Over medium heat and stirring custard constantly with a wooden spoon, let custard thicken till it coats the back of the wooden spoon. Remove custard from heat and pour it through a strainer into the cream. Discard beans. Add vanilla and ground coffee into custard, stirring well.
- Transfer custard when cooled into an airtight container and let sit in the fridge for at least six hours. When ready, churn in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve drizzled with Kahlua. Makes 1 sensational litre