This month, L’Ecole, the restaurant attached to the International Culinary Center, is closing it’s doors. My graduating class was one of the last to work in that kitchen. I shed my blood, sweat and tears during those brief hours of lunch service, and I’m sad to see it go. (But don’t worry, that blood was quickly cleaned, band-aided, finger cot-ted and gloved. The ICC doesn’t mess around when it comes to the health code).
During my time in the restaurant, the pastry menu featured a Caramelized Chocolate Pear Cake with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream. The plating was beautiful. I couldn’t wait to assemble it. I would wait patiently by the ticket machine, itching for my dish to be called. I felt like a real pastry chef. When I tasted that ice cream, I was immediately reminded of my hometown of New Orleans. I love that moment; when food becomes something more. The flavors transport you to a different time and place. It’s such a warm and comforting feeling.
When FreshDirect offered to send me a sample of their exclusive Jefferson’s small batch Kentucky Bourbon, I leapt at the opportunity. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. What is better than a hot piece of apple or pecan pie with a generous scoop of homemade bourbon vanilla ice cream? I couldn’t tell ya. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And this recipe does not fall short of incredible. Everyone who has walked through my apartment door has been immediately presented with a spoon of the stuff. You should see their faces: semi-erotic, and utterly satisfied.
You’ve got to try this recipe. It’s so rich and creamy, with the perfect amount of bourbon-y flavor. And don’t settled for the cheapest brand. Jefferson’s hits the nail on the head with flavor, without the egregious price tag.
Thank you so much FreshDirect for providing me with the Bourbon. I can’t wait to try it in future recipes. (…unless we drink it all first…) It is the holiday season, after all.
- 2 cups milk
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 T cream cheese, room temp
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- 2 T Jefferson's Kentucky Bourbon
- In a 4-quart saucepan, add the milk and heavy cream.
- In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup of milk/cream mixture with the cornstarch until the cornstarch has dissolved completely.
- Place the cream cheese in a bowl and set aside. (microwave for 15 seconds for a softer consistency)
- Place an large plastic freezer bag in an ice bath with the edges folded over. Make sure the ice only comes up to about ⅓ of the bag. Too much and you risk getting water into the base, which will effect the consistency of your ice cream.
- Add the sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod to the milk and cream. Whisk well. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Lower the heat slightly and boil for 4 minutes.
- Pour in the cornstarch slurry and mix well. Bring back to a boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer.
- With a ladle or measuring cup, scoop about ½ cup or more of the hot mixture into the bowl of cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Add another scoop to the cream cheese until the consistency is thin enough to pour.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture back into the pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly. When the base has thickened (you feel some resistance on your whisk/spatula), turn off the heat.
- Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard.
- Add the salt and bourbon to the base and stir well.
- Pour the hot cream into the plastic bag over the ice bath. Let sit for at least 1 hour or until completely cold. Freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.