PPCB Ice Cream

PPCB Ice Cream or Pecan Praline Caramel Brownie Ice Cream.  A delicious mouthful….

Gratuitous Pecan Praline Caramel and Brownie

Ice cream is my favorite dessert, but most of the times I make it at home it is by accident.  This particular ice cream happened because of a mysteriously underdone pan of brownies, underdone to the point in which one could call them ‘raw.’  A nicer term might be ‘squishy.’  I blame it on rushed baking.

In middle school, when it was appropriate, I ate a lot of ice cream.  One weekend afternoon, I got an ice cream cone, walked maybe four or five blocks down the street during which I finished my ice cream, and bought some more at another parlor.  This happened more than once.  At that point in my life, to finish a pint or two in a week was not strange.

Ice Cream
So, I love ice cream, and homemade is by far the best.  There are countless additions and it is always the freshest and most delicious.  Also by far one of the least worrisome desserts.  This one is a variation on a favorite.

Another reason homemade ice cream is the best is that when it’s done, one can lick the bowl.  Except this time, the bowl is covered in ice cream.  (I wouldn’t suggest physically licking the ice cream barrel, considering it’s frozen.  But a rubber spatula does the trick.)

Gratuitous pecan praline caramel picture….

Pecan Praline Caramel and Brownie

Vanilla Ice Cream Custard Base

1 cup whole milk
1 whole vanilla bean, seeded, reserving seeds (If one isn’t making vanilla ice cream and just using this as a plain custard base, substitute 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the whole vanilla bean.)

4 large eggs yolks
¾ cup white sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1.  Bring the milk and vanilla to a boil in a large saucepan.  If using a whole vanilla bean, add both the reserved seeds and pod.  Just after reaching a boil, remove from heat.

2.  While the milk is coming to a boil, whip the egg yolks and sugar until pale in color and can hold a thick ribbon when the beater is lifted.  Pour milk slowly into the egg mixture in small portions, being careful not to scramble the eggs.  Continually whip the mixture.  When fully combined, the mixture will be very loose.  Remove vanilla bean pod.

3.  Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat and continually stir with a wooden spoon, being sure to scrape the bottom so that one’s custard doesn’t burn.  This part is easy so don’t worry.  Just stir until the custard starts to thicken, and can coat the back of a wooden spoon and leave a track when a finger is drawn through.  At that point, pour into another bowl and whisk in the whipping cream.  Refrigerate until chilled.  Freeze using ice cream maker’s directions if just making vanilla ice cream.

Pecan Praline and Caramel

2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup raw pecans

1 cup white sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Mix brown sugar, melted butter, and pecans in a bowl and then pour onto baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 8 minutes until toasted, stirring around occasionally.  Beware—nuts burn easily!  Cool and then chop coarsely.

2.  In a large saucepan, combine white sugar, water, and light corn syrup over medium-high heat.  Stop stirring and swirl the pan occasionally, wetting the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, while the sugar comes to a boil.  Boil for approximately 10-15 minutes or until deep amber.  (But not burnt!)  Remove from heat and add butter, heavy whipping cream, and then vanilla.  Be very careful!  Mixture will bubble and steam very vigorously and hands have been scalded during this step.

3.  Add pecans and let sit.  This is a very loose caramel and should not thicken very much over time.

The Best Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (The best baking book?)

½ cup (1 stick, 4 oz.) unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet and/or semisweet chocolate
1 cup white sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans.  (Toasted at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes.)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and chocolate(s) over double boiler in a large metal mixing bowl.  After completely melted, remove from heat and let cool a bit.  This is a good time to toast the pecans….

2.  Mix the sugars into the chocolate mixture until combined, then stir in the eggs one at a time.  Mixture will become very creamy and slightly shiny.  Add the vanilla and salt until combined and then the flour and pecans—mix thoroughly until very thick.  Pour batter into a parchment lined 8 inch by 8 inch square baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until done.  A true brownie will never test completely clean….

To assemble:

1.  Chop half of the cooled brownies into ½ inch pieces.  The rest of the brownies are for eating.  Add half of the chopped brownie chunks to the custard base, giving a nice, chocolaty-blended taste to the finished ice cream.  Freeze according to ice cream maker’s directions.  In the last five minutes of freezing add the rest of the brownies and half the pecan praline caramel.  In the last seconds, add the rest of the caramel for a nice swirl.

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