Before I had even started, I knew that this dish could easily turn into an absolute disaster. On Saturday I made azuki bean ice cream, and today my plan was to coat scoops of the ice cream with panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and deep fry them in hot oil. Two outcomes seemed likely. Either the ice cream would instantly melt into a puddle of purplish muck and cause the oil to pop and explode, or the panko would insulate the ice cream enough to form a shell, and keep the scoop of ice cream intact.
As it turns out, my results were somewhere in between the two. While I waited for the panko to brown, the ice cream began to melt, and everything barely remained in one piece. It did, however, taste quite good - good enough to use it as my entry for the eleventh edition of Is My Blog Burning? hosted by Cathy of My Little Kitchen. The theme for the event is Beans, Beans, the musical fruit.
I had heard about, but had never eaten fried ice cream, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The recipes I had read prior to starting suggested that the key was to freeze the ice cream until it was very hard, and to cover it with a thick coating of pastry. Originally, I had wanted to make ice cream tempura, but this proved to be difficult since there wasn't enough friction between the ice cream and the tempura batter to prevent it from sliding off. Freezing an even coating of batter onto the ice cream was also difficult, so breading the ice cream seemed to be a better alternative. Of the different breading mixtures I tried, a flour,egg,panko mix worked best. Next time (if I ever try this again), I'll add an extra layer of flour and egg to give the ice cream more insulation.
The taste was very good. The hot, crisp panko crust, contrasted nicely with the cold, creamy azuki bean ice cream. A thicker crust - perhaps wrapping the ice cream with sponge cake before coating it with batter - would probably work better. Because my recipe is very much a work-in-progress, I've only given the recipes for the ice cream and sauce below. If you do try frying ice cream (at your own risk) please be careful, and let me know how it goes.
On an unrelated note, I will be hosting the February edition of Sugar High Fridays on February 11th. The theme will be puff pastry, and you're welcome to either use pre-made puff pastry dough, or make your own. Everyone – whether you're a novice baker or a skilled professional – is invited to join in on the fun!
Azuki Bean Ice Cream
Sweet Azuki Bean Paste (Anko)
(adapted from The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo)
Sweet Azuki bean paste serves as the foundation for many Japanese desserts, and is used in this recipe to flavour the ice cream and the sauce. The paste has a smooth texture and a chestnut-like flavour.
- 1 cup (7 ounces) dried azuki beans
- 8 1/3 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the azuki beans and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
Drain the beans and discard the water. In the saucepan over medium heat, combine the beans with 4 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 minutes, or until tender. Add water during cooking as necessary. At the end of cooking, the water should be barely covering the beans.
Transfer the beans and liquid into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve or tamis. You should have about 2 – 2 ¼ cups of purée.
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Transfer the purée into a cheesecloth, leaving enough room to tie the cheesecloth securely into a ball. Plunge the purée-filled cheesecloth into the water, and rinse the purée by squeezing the ball of cheesecloth. Remove the ball from the water, discard the water, add fresh water to the bowl and rinse again. Squeeze the ball tightly to remove any excess water. Remove the purée and discard the cheesecloth.
In a medium saucepan, combine purée, sugar, and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat while stirring constantly. Cook the mixture for 20 minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of soft peanut butter. Refrigerate the paste until required.
azuki bean sauce
Makes about 1 ½ cups.
Azuki Bean Ice Cream
- 4 cups milk
- 7/8 cups heavy cream
- 10 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sweet azuki bean paste
In large saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat. Add the cream, bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat to low.
Temper the egg mixture by whisking in about 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and transfer the entire mixture into the saucepan.
Over low heat, cook the mixture until it reaches 180F, or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the sweet azuki bean paste. Add additional paste to taste.
Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl sitting atop an ice water bath. When cool, transfer into a container and refrigerate overnight.
Transfer the mixture into an ice cream machine, following manufacturer's directions. Freeze ice cream until solid.
Makes 1.5 L.
Azuki Bean Sauce
- sweet azuki bean paste
- condensed milk
Serve ice cream with sauce