Ice cream’s rich, frosty sweetness lends itself to a startling range of flavors, going well beyond the traditional handful of favorites. For example, you might opt to serve a dessert-wine ice cream as the finishing touch after an elegant dinner. The wine lends the ice cream a delicate flavor and scent, while its alcohol content helps the finished ice cream remain soft.
The basis for traditional ice cream is an egg custard. The proportions are variable, but two egg yolks per cup of cream is a good ratio to start. Bring your cream to a simmer on the stovetop, and whisk the egg yolks together with a bit of sugar. Whisk in the hot cream very slowly, so the eggs don’t cook, then pour the mixture back into your saucepan. Stir the custard continually over low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, then strain it into a storage container and refrigerate it. The next day, stir in up to 1/2 cup of dessert wine for every cup of cream, and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.
Conventional ice cream relies on eggs and sugar to keep the finished dessert soft, but alcohol is equally effective. For a quick, eggless ice cream, whip two parts heavy cream with one part dessert wine and roughly a tablespoon of sugar for every 1/2 cup of liquid. Once it’s slightly thickened and beginning to resemble whipped cream, freeze it in either an ice cream maker or a container in your freezer. Garnish either the quick or the conventional version of your dessert with fresh berries to bring out the delicate notes of the wine.