There are so few chances to enjoy cold weather indulgences in Austin that I tend to bend the definition of “cold” a little when seasons start to change. In the fall, drinking Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout is like wearing my favorite winter boots. Both are toasty and deep brown, and although I prefer to enjoy them in cooler climes, I try to make them part of a night out as soon as the temperature dips below 80 degrees.
From Independence Brewing Company in southeast Austin, Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout has an exceptionally creamy texture, deep coffee and chocolate flavors, and just a hint of sweetness. The head of the pour looks like lace as it dissolves along the side of the glass, and the beer’s high viscosity makes it the perfect cold weather sipper.
When I was brainstorming my Austin Beer Week recipes for this year, I thought immediately of my favorite stout. I was skeptical that I’d be able to cook with it at home, though, since so few local porters and stouts are available in bottles year round. Luckily, this gem of a beer is available by the bottle and in six-packs at Hyde Park Market.
I happened to do my beer week taste testing around the same time as the Austin Bakes for Bastrop bake sale, when I was baking up a storm. This ice cream developed as a play on the idea of melding beer with milk and cookies– specifically oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
The base of the ice cream is an ultra-creamy custard; I added the stout to a traditional egg and dairy custard, increasing the cream in the dairy part of the recipe to emphasize the creamy texture of the beer. Brown sugar and dark chocolate sweeten the recipe and serve to highlight the bittersweet notes in the beer’s flavor profile, while a pinch of cinnamon and ginger bring the ice cream full-circle into dessert territory. I am really happy with the way this ice cream turned out, and I predict it will join my winter boots in this year’s rotation of cold weather enjoyment.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout (if this is not available where you live, substitute an oatmeal stout or coffee porter)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3.5 oz. dark chocolate (I used 70% dark, but any type of dark or bittersweet chocolate will be fine)
- In a large saucepan, heat cream, stout and milk over medium low heat. While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium bowl.
- Once cream is very warm and begins to steam, temper the egg yolk mixture by ladling warm cream into the yolks a few tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly. Once the yolk mixture is very warm, pour it into the saucepan and increase the heat to medium. Heat the custard mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, at which time it will have thickened slightly and will coat the back of a spoon. Pour the custard through a strainer into a storage container, and then set it in an ice bath. Once the custard has cooled completely, cover it and store it in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
- To churn the ice cream, pour the chilled custard into an ice cream machine and proceed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I use a Cuisinart Classic ice cream maker with a removable freezer bowl, and this ice cream was churned in about 45 minutes.
- While the ice cream is churning, chop the chocolate into shards. At the end of churning, add chocolate pieces into ice cream maker and give it a few moments to distribute the chocolate into the finished ice cream. Transfer ice cream to an airtight storage container and freeze for several hours before serving.