Here’s a homemade version of the ice cream the local sake brewery serves near the hot spring baths in Yamanaka Onsen, Ishikawa, Japan. Eat it straight from the churn for that airy almost-melting texture of soft serve, or let it firm up in the freezer and serve creamy golden-tinted scoops atop wafer cones.
(3 cups) half-and-half (pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized)
fine sea salt
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and no longer feels grainy, about 3 minutes. Place the saké kasu in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or the top of a double boiler and gradually mix in the half-and-half (some lumps are okay). Whisk in the egg mixture and salt.
Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a custard, about 10 minutes. (To check if it has cooked enough, dip a spoon in the custard: a finger swiped across the back of the spoon should leave a clear trail.) Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
Before churning, chill completely: either in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or over an ice bath, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.
Churn the custard in an ice cream maker (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) until it reaches the texture of soft serve. Eat immediately, or freeze in a loaf pan, tightly covered. The flavor is best within a few days of making it.
Hannah Kirshner is author of Water, Wood, and Wild Things. She is a writer, artist, and food stylist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, Saveur, Taste, Food52, Roads & Kingdoms, and Atlas Obscura, among others. Trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, Kirshner grew up on a small farm outside Seattle and divides her time between Brooklyn and rural Japan.