Humphry Slocombe’s Guinness Gingerbread Ice Cream

14 Jun

My friend Andrea came over to cook with me today.

She was telling me about her dad and how he used to take her and her sister out for ice cream all the time. He loved the stuff.  In fact, Andrea’s sister once wrote a story for her elementary school teacher about “going to my daddy’s ice cream store.” They spent so much time at the neighbourhood joint, she actually thought it was the family business.

Lucky girls.

And what a great dad!

In honour of great dads everywhere, and in preparation for Father’s Day, Andrea and I spent the afternoon making the most man-pleasing ice cream flavour we could find from the new Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book: Guinness Gingerbread.

Humphry Slocombe is a San Francisco ice cream store that draws in the fun-loving and the fearless with an ever-changing roster of flavours such as Salt and Pepper, Sweet Summer Corn and Jesus Juice (a coke and red wine sorbet created in memory of Michael Jackson).

Their Guinness Gingerbread Ice Cream is made from an egg custard base, flavoured with tarry stout, sticky molasses, apple-pie spices, fiery red pepper flakes and chopped up gingersnap cookies.

Once we had every ingredient at the ready, we beat, whisked, poured, stirred and strained until we saw swirls.

We decided to taste the mix before it went into the fridge. Screwed up faces.

“It tastes like liquorice.”

“I know”

“Do you like liquorice?”


“Me neither.”

Sighs. As the pungent custard cooled, we cheered ourselves up by making sugar cones.

This is a very satisfying task; the cones look so fancy with their waffled backs and frilly edges, but they’re really very easy to roll.

When you’re done, and you have a big pile of them, you feel like opening the kitchen windows and shouting out to your neighbours:

“Look! Look! I made these. All by myself!”

Andrea hung out in the kitchen while the ice cream was churning, and I disappeared to my office for 20 minutes. When I came back, every bowl in the house held a chocolate-dipped cone.

We let the custard spin for 3/4 of an hour, but to our dismay it was still fairly liquid even after all that time. (Usually home made ice cream takes no more than 20 minutes to firm up.)

We were relieved to find a note under the heading “Free Advice” in our book:

“Since the beer ice creams are all so high in alcohol (compared to other ice creams, that is), they probably won’t freeze completely in your ice cream machine […] Don’t fret; freeze as best as you can in the machine and finish it off in the freezer.”

And that’s what we did.

*     *     *     *     *

Just before bedtime, we were able to sample fully frozen scoops. We topped them with gingerbread and chocolate hearts to keep things yin and yang.

The verdict: The flavour was not so jarring once the custard had frozen, and the gingerbread spices came through nicely. However, the liquorice twang hadn’t quite mellowed (read disappeared) enough for our taste. And this ice cream was so treacly and rich that just a couple of licks had us fantasizing about tall glasses of water.

I suspect Andrea’s smile here is mainly for the camera.

Not that I wouldn’t want to try more Humphry Slocombe recipes. I recently made their Chocolate Smoked Salt, and it was like velvety frozen pudding only with a little salt rock surprise every other mouthful. The dreamy-sounding Harvey Milk and Honey is next on my list.

Maybe Andrea and I were just not man enough to love Guinness Gingerbread.

My little schnauzer, Mash, would have worn a fake moustache just for one lick.

Here’s the recipe; let us know what you think if you give it a try.

2 cups heavy ice cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup Guinness stout
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped gingersnap cookies

1. Fill a large bowl or pan with ice and water. Place a large clean bowl in the ice bath.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the ice cream, milk and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.

4. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly pour about half of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture and return it to the medium heat. Add the stout, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, star anise, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and being sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, until the liquid begins to steam, and you can feel the spatula scrape against the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove the custard from the heat and immediately pour it into the clean bowl you set up in the ice bath. let cool, stirring occasionally.

6. When the custard has totally cooled, cover the bowl tightly and chill in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to freeze the custard, strain it into a bowl and stir in the ground ginger and cinnamon. (The ginger and cinnamon are added just before freezing, as they have a tendency to give milk and cream a slimy texture if allowed to sit too long.)

7. Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer’s instructions. Right after spinning, fold in the gingersnaps. Eat immediately or freeze up to 1 week.

From Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book, by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi, Chronicle Books, 2012





2 Responses to “Humphry Slocombe’s Guinness Gingerbread Ice Cream”

  1. Lee Hwang July 3rd, 2012 at 10:03 PM #

    Leave out the star anise. 🙂 The omission won’t affect the consistency of the ice cream, and the licorice flavor will be eliminated.

    • Valerie Howes July 4th, 2012 at 9:08 AM #

      Thanks, Lee. I also found the molasses flavour was strong, so I’d cut that back too next time. The ice cream took a long time to firm up, so I think that would actually help with texture as well.

Leave a Reply