How do I describe how good popcorn ice cream is?
Well, it taste like popcorn (my favorite food group), it’s smooth and full of vanilla flavor. Pair it with a sprinkling of salt, maybe some salted popcorn or caramel corn or my favorite with movie popcorn add-ins — Milk Duds (don’t do that any longer) and you will have a surprisingly good dessert. Crunchy, sweet, salty, what more could you want?
One beautiful night in Santa Fe back in September, with the sun going down and the temperature starting to drop my twin sister, two friends from high school (Pauletta and Judy) and me went to dinner at Eloisa restaurant. We had been to this restaurant as one of the stops on our walking food tour and during that tour they took us to the rooftop bar (Bar Alto) to show us the 360° view. A magnificent view to have cocktails before going to dinner downstairs and we knew we just had to go back there for drinks and dinner.
The Eloisa is in the Drury Hotel which is a historic renovation filled with artwork throughout the hotel (we didn’t stay there). My dinner for the night was a Beef Tenderloin with wood-grilled shrimp and a potato-corn gratin, asparagus and a spicy chipotle béarnaise. (Menu) None of us finished our steaks and we took leftovers back to the house for steak and eggs the next morning; we HAD to save room for dessert.
The Caramelized Brioche French Toast with popcorn ice cream and apricot sorbet sounded so interesting we couldn’t resist. I think I could do a better job on the Brioche French Toast (too thick and didn’t soak up enough of the cream mixture it sat in overnight), but the popcorn ice cream was so delicious and they told me (kind of) how to make it.
Who says ice cream can’t have a savory taste. When I was a kid, my sister and I would dip salty potato chips into soft serve ice cream at the Kreme Castle in Blytheville, AR; and that was way before the salty/sweet trend was popular. The waitress at Eloisa described the ice cream as having a little “burnt” popcorn taste (which I kind of like), and regular popcorn and proceeded to tell me how they soaked the popcorn in the milk overnight even using some of the burnt kernels (I did not use the burnt ones). So, this ice cream taste like vanilla ice cream with hints of popcorn lingering on the tongue. All I had to do was come up with a recipe to make this delicious, creamy, savory tasting dessert and that was pretty easy.
Hope you will give it a try even though summer months are behind us; ice cream is good any time of the year and if you add the brioche along with it then you have a fall dessert similar to a bread pudding (almost). I served mine at Thanksgiving along with some caramel popcorn on the side.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: These little Pink Egg Finger Sandwiches are so nice for a luncheon, bridge get together or even your bunco group.
Put 6 cups popped popcorn in a large bowl.
Pour the Half & Half over the popcorn and press down so it all gets wet. Soak overnight.
Strain popcorn, pressing down on the popcorn to get all the cream out.
Discard popcorn and restrain the milk.
Six eggs to make this creamy custard ice cream.
Heat the cream and sugar and then stir in the vanilla. Cook until it is starting to steam.
When the milk is steaming, stir in a small stream of the hot milk into the beaten egg yolks. Use about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan and on medium low heat cook for about 8-10 minutes stirring constantly. Strain and freeze in ice cream freezer.
Get that bowl ready.
Look what popped out of the popcorn box.
- 2 c. Half & Half
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 6 c. popped pop corn (microwave or air popped)
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- caramel corn (or Cracker Jacks) for garnish
- Pop the popcorn either in the microwave, stovetop or air popped. Put the popped corn in a covered bowl and pour the 2 cups of Half & Half over it mashing down to make sure all the popcorn is soaked. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning put the popcorn mixture in a sieve and press down on the corn to extract all the milk. Discard popcorn and then restrain milk mixture.
- Beat the 8 egg yolks in a medium size bowl with a whisk until well blended. Whisk in the popcorn milk. Set aside.
- Put the whole milk, heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan and heat to almost a simmer. When the mixture starts to steam a little slowly stream about 1/3 of this mixture to the beaten eggs/Half & Half mixture. Do this very slowly so you don't curdle the milk.
- Take this mixture and pour back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/sugar mixture along with the vanilla and pinch of salt. Stir for 8-10 minutes. This won't be a thick custard that coats the back of a spoon (test) but you are heating long enough to cook the eggs. Strain this mixture again to make sure you don't have any bits of egg that cooked too much.
- Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold.
- When mixture has chilled, pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your freezers directions.
- Garnish with some caramel corn or Cracker Jacks.
- I usually make mine early in the day so I can have in freezer 5-6 hours before serving. So, what do you like with your popcorn? How about a Milk Dud candy garnish, peanuts, caramel corn or just some good salted buttered popcorn.