Bourbon Spiked Apricot & Honey Ice Cream

When a lady who loves her bourbon and wine is told she can no longer consume any of it for 9 months, she may get a little stir crazy. It’s not that I wasn’t prepared for giving up alcohol for 9 months – our pregnancy was very purposeful and planned – but a girl can still miss her vices. Lately, I’ve been coming across numerous articles extolling safe alcohol consumption during pregnancy (like these ones: here & here), along with some possible benefits of actually doing so. And while I agree that everything in moderation is typically okay, I have a partner in crime in this 9-month journey to parenthood … and my husband does not want me consuming any alcohol, regardless of potential benefits and safety. And while it is my body, it’s also his baby baking inside of it. Plus, the reality is there are too many  “what ifs” and I don’t think a glass of bourbon or wine is really worth the risk for our baby. But I can dream about October … and my first sip …

Regardless of the harm or benefit of consuming straight alcohol throughout pregnancy, I was delighted to learn prior to becoming pregnant that it is entirely safe to cook with alcohol … and not meaning a glass of wine by my side while I cook, I am of course talking about putting the alcohol into my food. So at times, wine has been flowing into sauces and stews; gluten free beer poured into chilis and marinades; and of course bourbon, slipped into slow cooked ribs and anything sweet that will highlight it’s caramel undertones. So you bet when I decided to make an ice cream filled with apricots and honey, I spiked the fruit just before placing them into my custard base … because I can only wait so long.

Bourbon Spiked Apricot & Honey Ice Cream

1 Tbsp butter
2 cups apricots, chopped (about 4-6 apricots)
2 Tbsp bourbon
2 Tbsp honey
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the apricots and lightly saute for 5-7 minutes, until the apricots begin to soften. Pour the bourbon into the apricots, and simmer for another 2 minutes (this will slightly cook away some of the alcohol). Stir in the honey and continue to stir for another minute – be careful, because the honey could burn if left alone on the stove. Transfer the apricot mixture to a heat-safe dish, and slightly mash the apricots with a fork. You want some “apple-sauce-like” texture, but also a few chunks of apricots. Cover and refrigerate the mixture.

Pour the half & half and heavy cream into a medium saucepan. Heat the creams over medium-high heat until they come to a simmer, but not boiling – stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the cream mix to cool slightly. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and sugar into  the bowl of a mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the eggs and the mixture begins to look frothy – about 1-2 minutes.

Slowly add about 1/3 of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture. Don’t mix in all the cream at once, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs, you just want to temper the eggs, so be sure to add a small amount at a time. Stir the cream and eggs together to combine, then pour the mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream. Return the pan to the stove, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cream comes to 170-175ºF; remove from the heat. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can judge when the ice cream base is ready to pull from the stove when small bubbles start to form around the edge of the mixture and when the cream coats the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer the cream and egg base into a large bowl and stir in the vanilla. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours, but overnight is best.

Once your ice cream base and apricot mix is thoroughly chilled, pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker and process according the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes 25-35 minutes. During the last 2 minutes of processing time, add the apricot mixture to the ice cream base. Remove the mixture to a freezer save container, and allow to freeze for another 3-4 hours to harden.

Serve in bowls or into your favourite gluten-free ice cream cones…maybe with a splash of bourbon on top if you’re able to indulge!

Disclaimer: Although I mention articles written by other people regarding the possible safe consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, I am not endorsing the use of alcohol throughout pregnancy. If you are considering consuming alcohol during pregnancy, please discuss this with your physician and partner. If you are pregnant and having issues with giving up alcohol throughout your pregnancy, please speak with your health care provider.

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