Today: A no-cook, smooth, scoopable frozen treat without an ice cream maker -- in our new favorite flavor: salted butter.
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This week's recipe solves a timeless, universal summer problem: how to make a soft, scoopable ice cream without a fancy machine. Just like that. Solved!
It also takes care of another serious issue, one we didn't know we had: the issue being that we didn't know salted butter was a flavor. It's impossible to say which will be the more lasting improvement to humanity.
Our tale begins when chef Brad Spence was visiting the Jersey Shore with his wife, eating Springer's ice cream, as he had all his life. The butter pecan got him thinking.
Back in his restaurant Amis in Philadelphia, Spence wanted to recreate the not-so-sweet butter ice cream -- but the kitchen didn't (and still doesn't) have an ice cream or gelato machine. So he developed the recipe without fancy equipment, using a method any home cook with a whisk and a few bowls could pull off.
"It was one of those things -- I put it on the menu and I can't take it off," Spence told me. Now he serves it year-round, on blueberry tarts and in hot fudge sundaes in summer, over spiced pound cake in winter. Scoops melt over yeasted waffles and collapse into maple milkshakes.
And you have every reason to make it at home -- because all you have to do is whisk and fold. If you have some light machinery to help you, it will take no more than 20 minutes to assemble. (If you're riding on the strength of your whisking arm, maybe a little longer.)
Here's how it works:
Cream egg yolks and sugar until they curl up, pale and buoyant.
Pour in melted (but cooled) butter and salt.
Fold in whipped cream, then whipped egg whites. (No, the eggs aren't cooked. Just buy them from a trustworthy source -- Spence's come from Green Meadow Farm in Gap, PA -- or you can use pasteurized eggs.)
Once this airy yellow fluff has a chance to freeze for several hours, unattended, it's semifreddo.
It tastes a little like butter pecan or French vanilla (without the pecans, or the vanilla) and perhaps even more like a well-salted sugar cookie dough. It's astonishingly creamy and smooth for what little attention you've given it. Maybe it's all the air you whipped in, or the power of yolks and cream -- but I'd like to think it's the butter.
As our Managing Editor Brette Warshaw pointed out when she hunted down this recipe, this is an anytime, any season pantry frozen treat. You have butter, eggs, sugar, and salt, don't you? Cream, maybe? And ... a freezer?
If you answered yes to all of the above, then you don't need to go to the store, or pre-freeze any component parts, or even stop to flick on the stove. There's nothing stopping you. Nothing.
Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.
I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."