[Posted by Joan]
Ever since I have been traveling to Ireland each summer, St. Patrick’s day has new meaning for me. Although I am not really Irish, I think I must have SOME trace of Irish blood or else, I was Irish in a past life. When I am in Ireland I love having slices of dark, dense, brown bread each day, slathered with butter, and sometimes topped with smoked salmon. When I come home from Ireland I try various recipes to reproduce that unique bread, There are many, many recipes for Irish brown bread, some made with yeast and some with baking soda. They usually contain whole wheat flour, oatmeal, buttermilk, and sometimes an egg or a little sugar.
Last summer I spent a week living in an apartment in Cork City with my friend and travel companion, Eileen. I enjoyed going to the big English market to sample and buy breads, cheeses, vegetable, herbs and other local treats. There was an ice cream vendor there where I tried a scoop of Brown Bread ice cream. I was curious to see how my beloved Irish Brown Bread could be used in ice cream. It was delicious! The dark brown crumbs were crispy and sweet, mixed into a creamy ice cream base.
This year I decided to make my own brown bread ice cream for St. Patrick’s day, celebrated a week after the actual holiday. I looked for recipes and found one that sounded pretty easy in the cookbook, “The Irish Spirit” written by Margaret Johnson. It did not require cooking of the cream or addition of egg yolks. I used David Leibowitz’s method of making the crispy sweet bread crumbs to mix in the cream base, and inspired by his more complicated recipe, also added some mascarpone to the cream and half-and-half mixture. I also stirred in some Irish Mist liqueur after the ice cream had been churned.
I did not use all the crumbs I prepared, so I used some of the leftovers as topping. My grandson Davis liked the ice cream as is, sampling a few spoonfuls, but also enjoyed sprinkling the crumbs on top, and eating them directly off the table. My husband Michael poured chocolate syrup on his dish of ice cream, and found that combination to his liking. Tonight I finished the last scoop of ice cream, topping it with both the crumbs and the chocolate. Now that is a delicious dessert! Happy St. Patrick’s day!
The day before making the ice cream, bake a loaf of Irish brown bread. There are many recipes on the internet, such as this one: http://food52.com/recipes/8417_irish_brown_soda_bread
Next day, make the crumbs. This was adapted from the way David Leibowitz does it at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/11/brown-bread-ice-cream-recipe/ ‘
For the caramelized brown bread crumbs:
3 good sized slices of brown bread 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup sugar (I used a mix of dark brown and raw cane sugar) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. To make the brown bread crumbs, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. Crumble the bread into small, bite-sized bits. The largest should be no bigger than a kernel of corn.
3. In a skillet, heat the butter until it melts, then continue to cook until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and stir in the bread bits, 1/2 cup (100g) sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Spread on the baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until the bread bits are well-toasted; a deep, dark brown.
5. Cool completely then store in an air-tight container until ready to use. (They can be made a few days in advance and stored at room temperature.)
To make the ice cream:
Combine in a stand mixer and beat until stiff:
1-1/2 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup half and half
Beat in 2 heaping tablespoons mascarpone
Gently mix in ½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar,
1 tsp vanilla,
3 tablespoons Irish Cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s,
And 2 cups of the prepared bread crumbs.
Pour into an electric ice cream maker and follow the directions until ice cream has become firm.Remove the ice cream from the mixer, stir in 1 Tablespoon Irish mist liqueur, and store in the freezer.