Earlier this summer, Amazon had one of those quickie sales on a Cuisinart ice cream maker. I've wanted one for a long time, and at the crazy price of $32, I just couldn't resist.
For our first concoction, I decided we should make a somewhat basic flavor with an interesting mix-in. I'd read about David Lebovitz's experiments with candying bacon with great interest, and I thought it would be fun to combine that with his recipe for Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Had we gone with a recipe that called for a custard-based cream, we would have had the exciting breakfast combination of bacon, eggs, and coffee in one dessert, but that's neither here nor there.
If you've never had Vietnamese coffee, you must try it at some point. It's made with chicory coffee beans and condensed milk instead of milk or sugar, so there is a very complex, sweet depth of flavor that is absolutely unforgettable. (We introduced one of our friends to it recently, who balked at first over the condensed milk. After tasting it, he sucked his drink down in literally two minutes.) As an ice cream, it's wonderful--icy and deep, with the sweetness rounded out by the coffee flavor and granules.
And the bacon...the bacon! Such an unexpected and fabulously smoky bit of crunch in the middle of all that coffee goodness. Some of our candied bacon was very crisp and on the near-burnt side, while our second batch was much chewier. We had a surprising slight preference for the chewy bacon, though we liked having both the textures in the ice cream.
All in all, an excellent food experiment, and an excellent purchase. We'll definitely be making this ice cream combination again.