This ice cream has three sources of vanilla flavoring and, of course, bourbon. I used a pretty good quality bourbon in this recipe, and the flavors really balance each other out incredibly well.
Notes: For a detailed explanation of why I chose these sweeteners as your options, please see here. Also, if you'd like to use a more traditional stovetop custard method after steeping the vanilla, see that link as well. The stand mixer method presented here is my own invention, is based on the Italian method of making meringue that's safe to eat right out of the mixing bowl, and works beautifully and easily, but it's your choice.
1 1/2 c (12 fl oz/ 355 ml) unsweetened boxed coconut milk (the thin kind from the carton)
1 vanilla bean, whole
Generous pinch salt
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 drops vanilla flavored liquid stevia
3 tbsp good quality bourbon whisky (I used Jim Beam Black)
Prepare your ice cream maker as per its instructions. This means if you have a bowl that needs to be chilled ahead of time, do it well beforehand, as per your machine’s instructions.
When ready to make the custard, set a fine mesh strainer over a lidded bowl or container. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, coconut milk, sweetener, and salt.
Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds directly into the milk mixture, then toss the seed pod into the mixture as well.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent a film forming on top.
Turn off the burner and put the lid on. Let the milk mixture steep 1 hour.
When the hour is up, beat eggs, vanilla, stevia, and bourbon on medium speed in a stand mixer for just a minute or so to break up the eggs and combine. Set aside.
Return the milk mixture to the heat and bring back up to just the beginnings of a boil over medium heat.
As soon as you see the first real boil bubbles, fish out the vanilla seed pod and discard. Turn off the heat.
Turn the stand mixer back on and begin beating the egg mixture on medium speed.
Slowly pour the very hot cream mixture into the eggs as they’re beating beaten in the stand mixer.
Once all the cream mixture is in and being incorporated, continue running the mixer at medium speed for five minutes, or until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour the custard through the fine mesh strainer and into your storage bowl. Let cool slightly, then put the lid on and chill thoroughly. Ice cream custard should be aged a minimum of four hours, but longer is better. 8 hours or overnight yields the best and most consistent results.
Once the custard has aged, follow your churn’s directions to freeze. In my small Cuisinart, for example, it typically takes 15 minutes to churn, but yours may vary depending on your machine. You are looking for a soft-serve texture. If you get to where it looks like hard ice cream, you’ve churned too far. It will still be ok, but you may need to scrape it out of your churner to get it all into your freezing container. Fair warning and all.
Transfer the churned ice cream to your freezing container, put the lid on, and freeze a minimum of four hours. Eight or more for best results.
Serving Size:2 scoops (approx. 16 scoops per batch)
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