Chocolaty malt meets sweet-sour caramel and crunchy, salted puffed bulgur topping
The ice cream is a beer lover’s dream dessert—malty mocha with a burst of brewed tang to finish
Beer Ice Cream With Apple-Vanilla Caramel and Puffed Bulgur Wheat
Adapted from pastry chef Jennifer Luk of Little Park, New York
Serves 6 to 8
Active time: 1½ hours
Total time: 5 hours
For the Beer Ice Cream
¾ vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup minus 1 teaspoon sugar (150 grams)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 ounces porter ale (about 6 percent ABV, with notes of chocolate, coffee, malt, and without licorice or spice)
For the Bulgur Topping
¾ cup dried coarse bulgur wheat
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple vinegar, such as Balconville (substitute boiled cider or aged balsamic)
About 2½ cups vegetable oil, for frying
For the Apple-Vanilla Caramel
¼ vanilla bean
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1½ teaspoons apple vinegar, divided
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, divided
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1. Make the beer ice cream: Fill a large bowl with ice water. Have a medium bowl that fits into the ice water bath on hand, as well as a fine-meshed sieve; set aside.
2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape its seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the split vanilla bean and heavy cream and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking the vanilla seeds into the cream; remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until combined and lighter in color. (It should be about the color of lemon curd.)
4. While whisking, slowly pour half of the hot cream into the egg mixture to warm it, then whisk it back into the saucepan. Set the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir constantly in a figure-eight pattern until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon, 8 to 13 minutes. (The bubbles along the pan’s edge will disappear when the custard is done.) Immediately strain the mixture through the sieve and into the medium bowl. Set it over the ice bath to cool completely.
5. Place 5 ounces (2/3 cup, once the froth settles) of beer in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, 3 to 6 minutes. Refrigerate until cool.
6. Whisk together the cooled beer reduction and custard, along with the remaining 7 ounces (scant 1 cup) of beer. Process it in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. It will keep frozen for as long as 5 days.
7. Prepare the bulgur topping: Preheat the oven to 200F or have a dehydrator on hand.
8. Rinse bulgur until water runs clear; strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
9. In a medium saucepan, bring the bulgur, a pinch of salt, and water to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until most of the water has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Test the bulgur to make sure it’s done, adding more water and simmering longer if needed.
10. Spread the cooked bulgur on a large baking sheet and set in the oven, stirring it or crumbling it in your hands once hardened every 30 minutes until void of moisture, about 4 hours. (Or, dry bulgur using a dehydrator.) Dried, unfried bulgur will keep for about two weeks in a sealed container.
11. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup and apple vinegar; set aside.
12. Fill a medium saucepan with oil and bring it to 400F. Turn the heat to low and carefully lower ¼ cup of the dried bulgur into the oil. Fry until puffed and golden, about 30 seconds. Using a small sieve or slotted spoon, transfer the bulgur from the oil to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining dried bulgur; set aside.
13. Prepare the caramel: Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, split vanilla bean, 1 tablespoon of the apple vinegar, and ¼ cup of water and whisk over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil, without stirring, until dark amber, about 10 minutes. (Dip the whisk into the caramel, and use the color on the whisk as a guideline, not the color in the pot.)
14. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time. (Be careful when adding butter, as the caramel can bubble.) Whisk in ¼ cup of the heavy cream, then chill.
15. Once cool, whisk in the crème fraîche, salt, 1 tablespoon of remaining heavy cream, and the remaining 1½ teaspoons of apple vinegar. Season to taste with more salt and vinegar as needed.
16. To serve: Toss the puffed fried bulgur in the maple-apple mixture. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and toss again. Taste, adding more salt as needed (you should be able to taste the salt).
17. Scoop ½ cup of ice cream into each bowl. Top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of caramel and ¼ cup of glazed-puffed bulgur.