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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Martha does me proud with peanut butter ice cream

Martha Stewart's recipes don't always turn out how she says they should. I don't know why that is, but it is. Not this time though. When I saw the recipe for Peanut Butter Ice Cream in the July issue of Living, I knew I would have to make this for Nick. The man is a peanut butter freak. But if you decide to make this recipe, be prepared because it's a bit of a process. And do not forget to freeze your ice cream maker insert!

You start out by heating the cream and the milk with a cup of cocktail peanuts. As you can see from the photo, I used Spanish peanuts because that was what I had on hand.

Once bubbles start to form, remove the pan from the heat, cover and let steep for 3 hours at room temperature. Or if you prefer, you can do this part the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

After it has steeped (or the next day), reheat the mixture until it's hot, but not boiling. In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together.

When the peanut mixture is hot, remove from the heat and slowly and steadily whisk it into the eggs and sugar in a steady stream. If you don't have someone available to help you either do the whisking or the pouring, you can do what I did and put a kitchen towel under the bowl so it doesn't move while you pour and whisk at the same time. Who knew I was so coordinated! I sure didn't. When the peanut mixture is all incorporated into the egg mixture, return it to the saucepan and put the heat back on.

Stir constantly over medium heat. You do not want to let this come to a simmer but you do want it to thicken up just enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Now that it's thickened, strain out all the solids with a very fine sieve and pour into a bowl. It seems like a sin to discard all those nuts, but that's what you have to do with them. And quite honestly, when you see how soggy and gross they look, you won't mind tossing them out anymore. Place the bowl in an ice water bath. All that means is to get a bowl bigger than the one your mixture is in and fill it half way with ice and water. Then set the whole bowl with the ice cream mixture into the bowl with the ice water. Stir in the vanilla and then stir occasionally until the mixture is cold. This should take about 20 minutes or so.

From here, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. Mine is Cuisinart and it only took about 20 minutes to get to the consistency needed, which is of very soft ice cream. Once it gets to this stage, fold in a cup of your favorite peanut butter. It could be smoothy or chunky but the recipe recommends that you not use natural peanut butter because the texture doesn't work as well. I'm very glad it said that in the recipe because I love my natural peanut butter and probably would have used it. Then I'd be blaming Martha again for steering me wrong!

You can dig in right then if you like your ice cream kind of melty. But I transferred mine to one of those handy dandy plastic won ton soup containers I love so much and froze it for a little while. It makes about a quart and a half. The peanut flavor of the ice cream is wonderful and the peanut butter swirled inside the ice cream just makes it that much better. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter

Heat cream, milk and peanuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for 3 hours (or refrigerate overnight).

Prepare and ice-water bath. Uncover cream mixture, and reheat until hot but not boiling. Whisk yolks, sguar and salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until well combined. Return mixture to saucepan, and stir constantly over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 8 minutes). Do not let the mixture come to a simmer.

Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Set the blow in the ice water bath. Stir in vanilla and let cool, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in peanut butter until ice cream is swirled. Use immediately or freeze for up to 1 week.

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