I like to joke how I was Irish in my past life. Something about that country has a constant pull on my heart. The literature, the poetry, the musical cadence of the speech, the whiskey, sad Irish songs, and of course, Guinness. They all feel as familiar and like-home to me as if I’d actually spent time there. It feels like all those things are in my bones, the way Russian things feel – like they’re second nature.
I first tried Guinness with my friend Alex, who came to the US by way of Moscow and now lives in the UK. Alex is a good egg, as one would put it. We go back all the way to fifth grade. And it’s amazing to look back and say you’ve been friends with someone for 22 years, continent divides and all.
One of my favorite Alex memories is riding in a mint-green mini-van with him to a Van Halen concert. We must’ve been the youngest people there, and probably the only ones to show up to a rock concert in a minivan. Like soccer moms. But when you’re sixteen – any ride you can get your hands on is like pure gold.
It was Alex who first introduced me to Guinness with a reassuring, “Trust me – you’ll like it.” And I did. I was one of the few girls in college asking for a stout and not a light beer. Bartenders would give me strange looks, “You know it’s a dark, heavy beer, right?” Yes, yes I knew. And I loved it precisely for its body, its heft, its layer of taste notes. I still love it now, and if you need any proof that it has made an impression in the kitchen, you need to look nor further than this stout cake or these cupcakes (those contain three (1!) Irish spirits).
So today is St. Patrick’s Day – and I want to keep it short and sweet. Literally sweet. I’ve got Guinness ice cream for you. And as if mixing chocolate and Guinness weren’t enough, I wanted to up the ante and add a bit of malted milk powder and some freshly grated nutmeg. Beware though – this is rich, decadent, incredibly velvety ice cream. Last Sunday at supper, one of our guests, a grown man of six foot four, could only finish one scoop before “tapping out.” So you might want to start with a scoop and see where it takes you. Or, you could make Guinness Floats (I would give you a picture, but because the ice cream and beer are so dark, all you’d see is dark beer in a tumbler) by adding Guinness to two scoops of ice cream at the bottom of the glass.
So drink up, and have a sweet and boozy holiday!
Malted Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted liberally David Lebovitz
This ice cream is very rich. Very rich. I scaled down the sugar, added malted milk powder for more body (ha! more body with Guinness!), a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg because I knew it was going to be amazing. The original recipe calls for milk chocolate, but with all this milk and cream – we already weren’t getting a dark chocolate ice cream – so I took some 60% Scharffenberger and found it to be absolutely perfect for the occasion.
7 ounces (205 g) semi-sweet chocolate (I used 60%)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (75 g) sugar
3 tablespoons malted milk powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup Guinness Stout
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, warm the milk, sugar, milk pwder, nutmeg and salt. Meanwhile, in a medium bowls, whisk together the egg yolks. When the milk mixture is simmering, remove from heat and with a small ladle, add a little bit of the warm milk mixture, in a slow, thin drizzle to the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir to prevent burning, until the mixture thickens and cots the spatula – about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the beer, and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture for at least 8 hour or overnight (preferably), then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Makes 1 pint.