Chef William Mueller's Guinness ice cream combines the stout beer with cream, sugar and vanilla. Photo by Jeremy Harrison/The News Tribune
You have to be a gutsy chef to serve your diners something like Guinness ice cream. Gutsy is a good description for Chef William Mueller, who owns Babblin' Babs Bistro in Proctor with wife Shannon.
Mueller is the chef who last year gave chocolate covered bacon a shot, after all. Last St. Patrick's Day, he served the Guinness ice cream.
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I could see how an ice cream made with a stout beer like Guinness could work. A bitter beer, mixed with rich cream and sweetened with sugar, is akin to a popular ice cream that also employs a bitter ingredient as a foundation – coffee ice cream. But a problem with using a bitter flavor base is achieving balance between bitter and sweet. Ice cream with a bitter bite doesn't suit most palates.
I asked Mueller for a recipe, and I tested it over the weekend.
I found the flavor interesting -- a bit bitter, with a very pronounced beer flavor. The creamy sweetness helps balance the bitter notes, but I thought it might be more suitable for my palate if I had reduced the beer by half, or added more sugar. Fellow newsroom ice cream lovers, who also happen to be beer lovers, really liked the concentrated beer flavor. They gave big, frosty beer mug kudos to the ice cream.
Mueller also found his patrons, the ones with sophisticated beer loving palates, liked the ice cream. He served it at a chef's dinner he hosted last year. This year, at a reservation-only chef's dinners (he hosts them every month or so), he'll serve another ice cream twist with Guinness – marionberry chocolate ice cream drizzled with a Guinness stout syrup (the "Night in Ireland" chef's dinners are 4 p.m. March 15 and 22, call 253-761-9099 for reservations. Cost is $75 per person).
Beer ice cream not your thing? I can relate – it's an acquired taste.
I want to serve an Irish-esque ice cream for dessert after a corned beef dinner I'll be making next Tuesday – St. Patrick's Day – so I went back to my ice cream drawing board and found a recipe for ice cream using Baileys Irish Cream liqueur as a flavor base. For my tastes, it's much more suitable. I made a small amount, but I really want a gallon of it.
Here are the recipes for both ice creams. If you try them at home, please comment here and tell us what you thought. If you attend Mueller's chef dinner, let TNT Diner readers know what you thought of his Guinness float.
Note: These ice creams both contain alcohol, although they are cooked and some of the alcohol dissipates. Be smart and don't feed this to your kids, please.
Babblin' Babs Guinness Ice Cream
2 cups Guinness Stout beer
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
15 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a large saucepan, combine the Guinness with cream and milk and bring to a low simmer. In a large bowl add egg yolks and whisk, then add the sugar in slowly until it's fully incorporated, and continue whisking until eggs are pale yellow. A stand mixer is an efficient way to do this. Make sure egg yolks are very pale yellow and have reached the ribbon stage. Carefully temper the eggs by adding 1 cup of the milk mixture to the eggs, slowly and continually whisking the eggs so they don't curdle, then add the eggs into the saucepan, stirring constantly so eggs do not curdle. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens.
Cool the custard, then refrigerate until completely chilled. Freeze using the manufacturer's directions for your ice cream maker.
Source: Chef William Mueller, Babblin' Babs Bistro, Proctor
Baileys Irish Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups Baileys Irish cream liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, heat Baileys to a simmer and cook until it's reduced to a syrupy consistency, about