Our love affair with brown butter began with the brown butter ice cream at Beaver’s. Where had brown butter been all my life?
So I made financiers. Delicious! I need more brown butter in my life. I think about this often (I really do!). I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to master brown butter ice cream. One of our favorite waiters at Beaver’s assured us that they make it by ‘just pouring the brown butter in.’ Though I would love to believe it is that easy, this sounded unlikely, so I looked at recipes and they were all a little daunting. I delayed until one day I could no longer not try to make brown butter ice cream.
When I make something, it’s usually because I want to eat it as soon as possible, ice cream being the sort-of exception since it needs to harden, though you could eat it right away if you wanted to. So when I look at a recipe and see that I have to do this:
and then I STILL have to refrigerate it before I can get to this:
…well, that typically I don’t even read that far before I’m on to the next recipe. But did I mention how much we love brown butter? I was expecting big things. I was going to be a hero in my house! No longer would we be denied brown butter ice cream on Mondays when Beaver’s is closed!
Now, the ice cream was delicious. Possibly one of the most delicious I have made, and the texture was perfect. But it did not taste like brown butter, not even a little. It didn’t even taste like unbrown butter, just sugar and cream. I’m not sure what happened. I browned the butter very cautiously and pushed it as far as I was comfortable doing without burning it. I immediately tasted a little and it tasted correct, so what gives? The recipe said something about straining, which I didn’t do because most of the flavor in brown butter comes from the solids. I would say, “Oh, I’ll just double the butter next time,” but I have read too many tales of brown butter ice cream gone awry because someone didn’t account correctly for the extra fat the butter was adding.
I am not giving up, however. This obsession demands no less than persistence (unless the ice cream shop up the street starts offering brown butter, in which case I will declare victory and keep a dozen pints in the freezer at all times). Next time I’ll probably take a page from this and attempt to get browned solids from heavy cream. Anyone have any other ideas about what I might do differently?