A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook from Strauss Family Creamery about how their egg nog ice cream had been spotted at Whole Foods in Palo Alto. We’re only about 15 minutes south of Palo Alto so maybe it’s available at the Whole Foods here too? Maybe? Pretty please?
I’m not even that big of a fan of egg nog… it’s just too rich for me. But I like it in small doses. And yet, I had an unshakable need for egg nog ice cream. Strauss Family egg nog ice cream if possible. So I went to see if there was any to be found. I had the pleasure of sampling some of their vanilla and coffee ice creams at the foodbuzz festival a few weeks ago, and it was dreamy. And incredible… actually words don’t quite do it justice.
But alas, there was no egg nog ice cream at my local Whole Foods so I went home with a quart of egg nog and the inkling that I would make my own. I am not an ice cream expert… at least not when it comes to making it. But my thought was I would look at a basic vanilla recipe and then replace some of all of the milk and cream with egg nog. Seemed logical enough.
So I looked up vanilla ice cream in Baking from my home to yours and started to play with the numbers in my head. It called for six egg yolks. I separated six eggs and stored the whites in the freezer to use later, only then did I remember that egg nog already has egg yolks in it so I probably didn’t need to add six more and give us all instant heart attacks. In fact, I wasn’t sure I needed to add any. But I had all of these yolks staring at me and no use for them except this ice cream, so I added two for good measure.
I used 3 parts egg nog to 1 part milk with a smattering of sugar and a little dusting of nutmeg to round things out. I put it all in a pot over medium heat and waited for it to get thick. But egg nog is already kind of thick so I wasn’t sure how long it really needed to be heated.
So long story short, I put the custard into the refrigerator and waited for it to chill. I got impatient and put it in the freezer for a little while. And then I decided it was cold enough and started to churn the ice cream. It churned and it churned. But it never set.
I had broken the cardinal rule of ice cream making: everything has to be cold. Really cold. Room temperature to lukewarm will not do. Apparently.
The ice cream maker bowl that I keep in the freezer had thawed out completely so the liquid inside sloshed around as I removed it from my kitchen aid mixer. I washed out the bowl and put it back in the freezer. And put the ice cream custard back into the refrigerator. Then I left it alone for 24 hours.
At that point I was not sure that this would really work, maybe it had too much sugar in it. Or maybe the 1/2 ounce of bourbon was too much (as if). But the next day, with everything thoroughly chilled and the work bowl re-frozen, I set it up to churn.
Thankfully, this time I wound up with ice cream. And it tastes good. But next time I think I will use a real recipe. I need to understand ice cream a bit better before I go making substitutions and bending rules. And I will bring a little patience to the table as well.
In the meantime, here are a couple of real egg nog ice cream recipes:
It turns out to make egg nog ice cream, typically you don’t use ready-made egg nog… you make an ice cream base that tastes like egg nog instead. Go figure.