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Irish Cream Ice Cream

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

Remember last week's post about homemade Irish cream liqueur, and I promised a recipe that uses it? Here it is: Irish cream ice cream. Technically, stracciatella Irish cream ice cream.

What is stracciatella? It's an Italian word that translates to "little shreds." In this case, the shreds are chocolate. It's not difficult to do, it just takes patience. You melt some chocolate, and put it in a piping bag or sturdy zip-top plastic bag, and snip off a tiny bit of the corner. You want a small stream of melted chocolate. You want the stream small, because you want the chocolate to freeze on contact with the ice cream, rather than becoming mixed in with the ice cream.

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

If you lack time and patience, or don't want to melt chocolate (I get it, it's a finicky ingredient, which burns easily and seizes at the slightest hint of water), you can add ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips to the ice cream during the last two minutes of churning. But really, try the melted chocolate trick. It's worth it, I promise.

Oh, right, the ice cream. Irish cream is added to a pretty standard ice cream base that is cooked on the stove to cause the eggs to thicken the custard. There are more eggs in this recipe than in, say, vanilla ice cream, because of the Irish cream. You see, alcohol causes ice cream not to harden. There's a long, science-y explanation. Long story short: the purer the alcohol in your ice cream, the less it will harden, because alcohol lowers the freezing temperature of water.

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

The extra eggs in the base help to offset the effect of the alcohol in the liqueur. You may be thinking, "doesn't cooking the custard burn off the alcohol?" It burns off some, but never all of it. Besides, we're adding a lot more liqueur to this ice cream than, say, wine to a pan sauce. And the mixture should never become hot enough to boil, or you'll curdle the custard.

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

Besides extra eggs, plan to freeze the churned ice cream at least overnight before you attempt to scoop. If you have a deep freezer, that will help even more. Another tip: pop your ice cream dishes in the freezer about an hour before you plan to serve the ice cream. Then top off with a dollop of whipped cream, some festive green sprinkles and enjoy!

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

What's better than Irish cream? Irish cream ice cream with a chocolate swirl! Irish cream is blended into custard and churned, then melted chocolate is swirled into the ice cream.

Irish Cream Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Don't forget to place your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer at least 24 hours before churning your ice cream!

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks, from large eggs, whites reserved for another use
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup Irish cream liqueur, store-bought or homemade
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup semisweet chocolate, melted

Instructions

  1. Place the yolks, cream, milk, Irish cream liqueur, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Once the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue stirring, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. If you swipe your finger across the spoon, the custard should not drip over your swipe. Do not let the mixture boil. 
  3. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface and cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract, cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 
  5. When ready to churn, melt the chocolate, and transfer to a piping bag or a sturdy plastic zip-top bag. Allow to cool slightly. 
  6. Churn the ice cream base according to the manufacturer's directions for your ice cream maker. During the last 5 minutes, snip off a small corner of the bag of chocolate, and very slowly stream the chocolate into the ice cream until you are happy with the amount of chocolate shards. You may not have to use all of the melted chocolate.
  7. Transfer the churned ice cream to a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze at least 24 hours. 

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