A loving loved one sat me down last week and reminded me of all the things that I didn’t learn to accept until later in life. Adult-like things that I only recently came around on. This list includes, but is not limited to, the following:
2. Salad spinners
3. Wearing socks
4. Washing socks
5. Coexisting peacefully with spiders
6. Respectable bedtimes
Loving loved one tells me that it’s questionable as to whether I have yet to actually accept numbers 1 and 6.
Three things that I have embraced with open arms since birth:
1. Ice cream
So when I learned that National Ice Cream Day was about to be upon us, I began plotting a way to combine all of these personal favorites.
And thus, as we celebrate ice cream all day today, I am here to present you with a Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Pie with a Bacon & Graham Cracker Crust. Take that Mr. Salad Spinner.
The truth is that I am very much on a sweet/salty kick right now, and it’s a delicate, delicate balance to strike. You must involve just the right amount of salty flavor without too much cloying sweetness. It takes precision, concentration, and more than a few taste tests.
Bacon and caramel create that perfect balance for you naturally: bacon is salty with just a touch of smoky flavor, and caramel is sweet without being overwhelming and overpowering, as chocolate can sometimes be.
Plus it’s about a gajillion degrees outside. You may have noticed? So this sweet/salty pie was always going to happen today.
Pies like this one are meant to be just a little rustic. I spun my frozen cream and then swirled in the dulce de leche at the very end of the churn so that there would be thick ribbons of fresh caramel throughout the ice cream base.
When it came to the crust, I didn’t completely pulverize the graham crackers – I left them sort of chunky. I baked off some thick-cut bacon and hand-shredded the cooked pieces into larger bits. Butter brings everything (and everyone) together, so all you need to do to finish is toss, press into a plate, and bake to set for just a few minutes.
Look at this sweet/salty succulence waiting to be filled with frosty cream…
This recipe does require the use of an ice cream machine, but, really, what else are you going to do today?
It’s National Ice Cream Day!
It’s a gajillion degrees out!
You’re way better off spinning some dulce de leche ice cream for a sweet/salty pie than you are spinning some salad, silly!
Happy National Ice Cream Day!
Bacon & Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Pie
For the ice cream:
3 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. dulce de leche
Chef’s Note: You will need an ice cream maker to make this ice cream. I used the ice cream attachment to my standard KitchenAid mixer. This attachment has a 2-quart capacity and it was filled to the brim once the ice cream was completed. Note that while you may opt to pile your pie high with all of the ice cream that this recipe yields, you may also choose to store and eat separately 2-3 extra cups of ice cream, as I did.
For the crust:
1 2/3 c. graham cracker crumbs (This is approximately 8 whole crackers. I produced my crumbs by processing them in my food processor – you ultimately want a slightly uneven crumb that is not completely pulverized, with small, slightly larger cracker bits throughout.)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. bacon bits (I produced my bacon bits by baking 7 strips of thick-cut bacon at 450° for 15 minutes, draining, cooling, and hand-shredding into larger, more uneven bits. The key is that you really want to cook your bacon well for this recipe: trust me when I tell you that rare bacon is not appealing in this pie crust.)
Begin preparing the ice cream by bringing the heavy cream, milk, brown sugar and salt to a boil in a large sauce pan. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and, once the cream mixture is boiling, whisk half of it into the yolks. Adjust the temperature under the remaining cream mixture down to low, whisk in the cream and yolks, and continue to cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, approximately 5 more minutes. Remove the cooked mixture from heat and pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside in the freezer to chill.
Meanwhile, to prepare the crust, preheat the oven to 450°. Place the cracker crumbs and bacon bits in a large bowl and toss with the melted butter. Press the moistened crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake the crust for just 5-7 minutes to set; the finished crust will be a deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Once your custard has chilled through, put it into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. My KitchenAid attachment required a churn time of 20-30 minutes and produced a soft serve-style ice cream. Just about 5 minutes before your ice cream is done (20 minutes in my machine’s case), stir in the dulce de leche as you would any other ice cream mix-in and churn for 5 minutes more. Remove and gently pour the ice cream over the cooled crust. Freeze overnight and serve (I recommend removing the pie from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving so that your pie is a little easier to slice).
YIELD: approximately 8-10 servings of pie