I have been extremely lucky in that I have known all of my grandparents and almost all of my great grandparents. In fact, my last-remaining great-grandmother passed away just a year and a half ago, when I was 28. In the generations preceding mine, families were younger. Couples married straight out of high school and started building their families almost immediately. The end result, for me, was that I have had the pleasure of actually getting to know my grandparents, especially my grandmother.
Most children know their grandparents in a very superficial way. It’s not to say that they do not love them dearly or that they do not have a meaningful connection with them, but chances are most kids don’t spend their afternoons toiling over what their grandmother was like at 17. What did she do for fun? When did she first fall in love? What was her first job? Grammie, is and always has been Grammie. She let you eat cookies for breakfast and her skin always had at least a bit of wrinkle to it. What could she have possibly done before she was Grammie?
This is where I start to feel lucky. Now that I am an adult myself and have a touch of age on me, I am beginning to notice that my conversations with my grandmother are not just about my daughter, or what is going on in my life, but are more and more about who she is as a person. Turns out, she has a bit of a wild side, and not just when she’s playing bingo (which is often).
She once worked in a potato field, making next to nothing a day, but she loved it. She fell in love with a boy at a very early age, but fate kept them apart when my grandfather sauntered in and swept her off her feet. She loves meringue cookies and frozen custard. Not only because they’re both delicious, but because they hold a place in her heart in the form of memories of her parents. With both of her parents gone, her sister still sends her meringue cookies at holidays, and for the past year or so I have been on a mission to find the chocolate frozen custard that will transport her to her childhood. We have tried a few, and at least one has been decent, but nothing earth-shattering. Thus began my obsession with frozen custard.
Frozen custard is what happens when traditional ice cream and eggs hook up. It’s creamy, velvety and rich. Like ice cream, it can take on any flavor, and is extremely versatile. The process is a little more involved since you actually have to make custard to achieve the velvety texture that you’re going for.
I screwed up more than one batch by heating the custard too fast. The method below is by far the simplest I found for custard, and if you are patient, the end result is worth the time. While it goes without saying that this particular custard recipe is not exactly what my grandmother and I have been seeking, I simply couldn’t resist sharing it with you. Chocolate and stout are a natural pairing. Add some heavy cream and eggs, and you get a stout lover’s dream dessert. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup black stout
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- In a cold, medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, salt and sugar. Beat in egg yolks until fully incorporated. Whisk in cream until completely combined. Place the saucepan over low-medium heat and heat slowly, whisking off and on until the mixture reaches the consistency of a pudding.
- Remove the custard from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
- In another medium saucepan, combine flavoring ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
- Once both mixtures have cooled, mix the flavoring into the custard and whisk until fully incorporated. Place mixture in your ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer's directions.