Today is the last day of August. The hazy warm days of summer are still with us but there is no denying the trend of shorter days, fading summer blooms and a mounting dread of what is to come.
Winter is coming. Pleck.
The only solace is the few months of Autumnal pleasures we get to enjoy before that, like pumpkin spice everything, over-the-knee suede boots, crisp cool days and no more summer bedtime debate with the children why they have to go to bed before Mr. Sun does.
But hey hey summer's not over until the fat lady eats ice cream! Hence, I am squeezing in one more batch of this honey miso ice cream and finally sharing the recipe too. The first moment I tasted this ice cream I fell in love with the floral sweet notes of the honey playing off the miso's earthy brininess. If you're having feelings of intrigue with a dash of hesitance, I understand. Perhaps think of this flavor combo as the more interesting, nuanced version of the (also delicious) 'salted honey' flavor which was my original inspiration for this ice cream. I thought if salt + honey sing together, then why not the umami-bomb-salty-flavor of miso + honey? The miso flavor is not at all in-your-face. Only 3/4 tsp is used in the whole batch which gives it that bit of je-ne-sais-quoi. As in, I seriously ne sais quoi (do not know) what is in this ice cream but I NEED MORE.
If you're not familiar with miso, it is a Japanese fermented soybean paste which is broadly categorized into white, yellow and red varieties. There are further distinctions I'm not qualified to get into, but you can read a more in-depth write up on miso types here. For this honey miso ice cream recipe, I use shiro miso or white miso which is the mildest and sweetest. My miso paste is an organic low-sodium version but if you are using regular white miso, reduce the quantity from 3/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp to manage the brininess (taste the custard and add more if desired).
Given the praise and soaring popularity of fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and miso all due to their health benefits, you can rationalize this ice cream is practically health food! Which means there is no reason not to make this and enjoy it for yourself. Miso love this ice cream! (sorry, had to) ;)
Honey Miso Ice Cream
Recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream. Consume ice cream within 2-4 weeks. Special equipment: ice cream maker.
1.5 C whipping cream (35%)
1.5 C whole milk
1/3 C mild honey (honey flavor varies - you may want to reduce quantity if your honey is very bold or strong tasting)
3/4 tsp low-sodium white miso paste (or if using regular sodium white miso, reduce amount to 1/2 tsp)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the whipping cream, milk and honey just to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, but do not bring it to a rolling boil. Remove from heat.
2. Put miso paste in a small bowl, add a small splash of the scalded milk mixture and whisk until the paste is loosened and a mostly-smooth mixture is achieved. Pour the miso mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk mixture.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and temper by adding 1 cup of the hot milk mixture in a slow steady stream, all the while whisking. Take care to do this slowly so as not to cook the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan holding the remaining hot milk mixture. Add vanilla extract.
4. Put the saucepan over low-medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to cover a spoon and a candy thermometer inserted in the liquid (be careful not to touch the tip directly to the bottom of the pan) reads 170-175 degrees, about 5-8 minutes. Do not boil!
5. Strain the custard over a fine mesh colander to remove any cooked egg bits. Allow it to cool slightly on the counter. Then, place a parchment paper cut into a circle the size of your container (or a piece of plastic wrap) directly on the mixture so it is touching the surface to avoid skin forming, and place in the refrigerator to chill minimum 3 hours or preferably overnight.
6. Freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Scoop churned mixture into an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze 6 hours or overnight to harden.