There isn't anything unusual about using bread in dessert recipes, and I’ve certainly eaten my fill of bread pudding, fruit charlotte and pain perdu, but one dessert I’ve yet to try, is ice cream made with bread. It sounds a bit weird right?
You know that phenomenon that occurs when you learn a new word and suddenly you see and hear it everywhere? Well that phenomenon apparently works for me as well with unusual ice cream flavors.
A couple of weeks ago, I was leafing through the new cookbook Dessert, by David Everitt-Matthias, and in between pausing to wipe the spittle from my chin, I came across a most unusual sounding recipe for croissant ice cream. My immediate reaction was one of confusion, and perhaps even mild disgust, but the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. Then I got to a part in the recipe where the author suggests substituting rye bread for the croissants, and that sent my creative juices into overdrive.
For days after reading about it, I couldn't get my mind off of the rye bread ice cream and kept toying around with ideas of what might go well with it. A pastrami and spicy brown mustard tart was obviously out of the question, but a dense apple or moist carrot cake both seemed to have potential.
Then, a few days ago, I went to read the latest edition of David Lebovitz's blog, and what do you think he had written about? You’ve got it, bread ice cream! Only his was yet another rendition, this one made with brown bread.
While each of these ice cream recipes features bread, the techniques are very different. In the croissant or rye bread recipe, the bread is steeped in the warm cream before it's added to the eggs. This method allows the bread’s unique flavor to permeate the base of the ice cream, but doesn’t add much in the way of texture to the end product. The brown bread recipe, on the other hand, calls for caramelizing brown bread crumbs in sugar until they’re crisp, and then adding them to the churned ice cream, for little subtle bursts of flavor and crunch. Both techniques sound intriguing to me and using them interchangeably sounds like it could also be fun.
Of course, these recipes got me considering other types of bread that might also work well in ice cream and I think that something interesting could come from playing around with sourdough, panettone, soft pretzels, walnut bread or Portuguese sweet bread. I’ll keep you posted.