And to continue the smoke theme we made it with smoked bacon. The bacon gets cooked crisp then frozen before adding it to the ice cream so it retains a pretty good texture. Make sure to use a really good bacon with lots of flavor because you want that salty, smoky flavor to come through. Bacon & maple is a classic combination & they go together perfectly here for dessert. The ice cream has a great creamy texture. The addition of cornstarch helps it thicken up quickly into a custard.
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
(adapted from About.com)
2 c heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1 c maple syrup
1 T cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
1/2 c milk (skim or low fat is fine)
1/4 lb good smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
Put the cream into a large heavy saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half & scrap the seeds into the cream with the tip of a sharp knife. Add the bean to the pot too. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.
Whisk the syrup, cornstarch & egg yolks together. Slowly whisk about a third of the cream into the egg mixture to temper it then add it back to the saucepan. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring all the time. The mixture should get quite thick & coat the back of a spoon, do not let it boil.
Strain the mixture into a clean bowl, making sure to remove the vanilla pods. Stir in the milk. Let cool & then chill in the fridge overnight or until completely cold.
Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain well on a paper towel. Put the bacon in the freezer until ready to add to the ice cream.
Process the ice cream according to your maker's instructions. Add the bacon during the last 5 minutes of processing.
Makes about 1 quart.
For ease of serving we made this into ice cream sandwiches with basic oatmeal cookies. It was really good but I felt like the flavor of the bacon was a little lost against the cookies.