More friends are coming over tomorrow evening. One, Chris, is a man fuelled entirely by caffeine – his heart does not beat; it percolates. I’ll start on some whole-bean coffee ice-cream this evening, which I’ll churn while we’re eating tomorrow. After a day and a night of steeping, the custard the ice cream is based on will be rich and strong.
Why whole beans? Well, the resulting ice-cream comes out very rich, and very smooth, without an acidic edge. An overnight steep means that the ice-cream still has a strong coffee flavour.
I use a whole bag of dark-roast espresso beans, and pour over a litre of whipping cream. God; this already smells fantastic, and I haven’t even done any cooking yet. The cream and coffee beans go in a thick-bottomed saucepan (mine is a Le Creuset pan); make sure yours is thick so the bottom of the cream doesn’t scorch. I bring the cream and coffee slowly to a simmer, and remove the pan from the heat.
While the cream and coffee are warming up, I beat 225g sugar with six egg yolks using a fork, making sure not to beat in too much air. This will make the custard very sweet, but for some reason, ice-creams usually taste less sweet once frozen, so you need to be quite generous with the sugar. The yolks at this time of year are a beautiful orange.
When the cream has been scalded, it is poured over the yolks and sugar, stirring all the time to avoid scrambling them. When everything is well-mixed, it all goes back in the saucepan on a low heat, and is stirred gently until the yolks thicken the cream.
Now the mixture is put in a mixing bowl, and left on the counter until cool. I’ll put it in the fridge before I go to bed, and leave it there until dinner time tomorrow. The beans are already giving up some colour and lots of flavour to the custard – I’m looking forward to tasting the final mixture tomorrow. This one’s going to be good.