Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kinako Ice Cream with Soy Sauce Caramel

A friend had the brilliant idea of hosting a homemade ice cream party last week, which gave me the chance to try something unusual. My original idea was to make a peanut stracciatella gelato, but while I was leafing through The Perfect Scoop, I landed on a recipe for kinako ice cream.

Kinako is Japanese toasted soy bean powder. I first learned about the term while reading Clotilde's blog entry on warabi mochi, although in hindsight, I've eaten it in pastries while growing up in China (there's a famous Beijing specialty that's basically red bean-filled mochi dipped in kinako). Maybe my palate is biased - after all, I was raised on soy products - but I'm a big fan of kinako's nutty, toasty, unmistakably-soybean taste.

I had a fun time coming up with something to pair with the kinako ice cream. A certain photographer from Scotland suggested caramel, so I made a batch of David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel ... and enhanced it with soy sauce. I learned that trick from Alton Brown, and it just makes so much sense to pair soy with soy.

Anyway, I absolutely loved the ice cream. It's one of those flavors that I'll definitely make if I ever opened my own ice cream shop (for the record, it'll also have strawberry rhubarb and lemon speculoo flavors).

I think that next time, I'll follow the latest NYC trend and flavor my caramel with miso instead...

Kinako Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1 1/2 (375 ml) cup whole milk
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
6 tablespoons (55 g) kinako powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 (375 ml) cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks

Whisk together the milk, sugar, kinako, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Put the bowl in the fridge to chill while you make the custard.

Warm the kinako mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the kinako mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape everything back into the pan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Puree in a blender for 30 seconds (I skipped this step).

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

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