The heat is on! In your apartment, in your office and possibly in your car if you live in a normal city. It’s brutal outside, but inside you could dance around in a sun dress and not even get goosebumps. As you know I’m not the biggest fan of baking or eating sweets at all. My idea of desert is usually creamy and cold, and that usually means ICE CREAM!!!!!
And what better time to make ice cream than the bitter month of November? This is no ordinary ice cream…this is custard ice cream with a very subtle tinge of herbaceous rosemary and a swirl of sweet blueberry goodness. Not only is there ice cream, there’s also French Toast. That’s right ladies and gentleman, we’re making French Toast Ice Cream Sandwiches. Why? Because we’re grown-ups and we can do whatever we want.
The best part about being an adult is that there is no one around to tell you that you can’t have ice cream for breakfast. So do it! Eat ice cream for breakfast! The bad part about being an adult is that you have to go to work to make money to buy the ice cream maker and the cream and the eggs to make the ice cream that you want to eat for breakfast.
Making ice cream is NOT hard so long as you’ve invested in an ice cream maker which I highly recommend doing immediately. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you may also use store-bought vanilla ice cream in place of the rosemary honey ice cream…but it won’t be the same. The amazing sweetness of winter blueberries is jaw-dropping with the creamy rosemary ice cream….and two slices of bread fried in butter don’t hurt.
This recipe is for 2 servings. You will get about 1/2 pint of ice cream, so double as needed.
French Toast Ice Cream Sandwiches with Rosemary-Honey Ice Cream and Blueberry Compote
Note: This is not a difficult recipe, but it’s most-definitely a two-day process. I recommend making the ice cream the day before and then frying the French toast right before you want to serve the dish.
You will need:
For the ice cream:
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup honey + 2 Tablespoons to drizzle
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
5 egg yolks
For the blueberry compote:
1 pint fresh blueberries (you could substitute frozen and not use water)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons water
For the french toast:
4 1/2 inch slices of challa bread
1 egg + 1/2 leftover eggwhites from ice cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1. First make the ice cream base by heating the milk, heavy cream, 1/4 cup honey, 1 Tablespoon sugar and Rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until little bubble appear around the sides. You do not want to boil the milk and cream, just heat it (this is called scalding). Then let the mixture steep for 1/2 an hour off the stove. Use a wooden spoon to press some of the flavor oils out of the rosemary if you like.
2. Beat 5 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the french toast) with a pinch of sea salt in a bowl. Remove the rosemary from the milk/cream mixture then, slowly add the cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking furiously. Add only a splash at a time so that the eggs don’t curdle and you get a smooth and thick light yellow mixture.
3.Add this custard to the same saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until it thickens. Stir every 30 seconds for a about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, build yourself an ice bath by placing lots of ice and water in a large bowl and adding a second bowl in the middle that can hold at least 3 cups of liquid. Slowly add the custard to the second bowl and sir for 2 minutes so the mixture gradually cools. Then refrigerate in the same bowl for 3 hours.
5. Once the custard is in the fridge, make the easy compote. Combine the blueberries (reserve about 20 for serving), water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will boil and look like it’s burning, but it’s not. Use a wooden spoon to crush the blueberries against the side of the pot. The compote will resemble watery jam when it’s ready. Set aside in the fridge for at least an hour.
6. Now make the ice cream by following the directions on your ice cream maker. Add the cold custard and 2 Tablespoons honey. My custard froze in about 15 minutes in an automatic Cuisinart machine. When the ice cream is ready, at the last second, add 1/2 the blueberry compote so you get a nice swirl. Or fold in manually with a wooden spoon. Freeze for at least an hour or overnight. Don’t eat it all!
7. Make the french toast by beating 1 egg and 1/2 of the egg white mixture or 3 eggs. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Dredge each slice of bread in the egg mixture on both sides, until completely saturated.
8. Heat 1 Tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook 2 coated slices of bread undisturbed for 3 minutes. Check to see that it’s golden brown and then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Repeat the process with the other two slices and double as necessary.
9. You need to work quickly and serve quickly as these sandwiches are a hot and cold mess. Place one slice of warm french toast on a plate and then two small scoops of ice cream. Add a bit of blueberry compote and the second slice of bread. Slice in half with a sharp serrated knife and serve immditely. Garnish with fresh blueberries and drizzle with honey.