How I Take My Coffee

Back in college, my roommate, Betsy, and I were big fans of the TV show Alias. (Big fans. The watch-every-episode-and-then-debate-whether-Sydney-would-be-better-off-with-Will-or-Vaughn type fans. Ahem. I digress.) We did learn important secret-agent things though, like how to tell if your roommate had been replaced by a double agent. Just feed her coffee ice cream.

Yes, coffee ice cream. And I, just like Sydney, love coffee ice cream. Betsy, well, she could take it or leave it. So we joked that if she ever started eating coffee ice cream, I’d know that she’d been replaced by a double. (And then of course, I would play it cool and not let the double know that I was on to her.) Thankfully, I never had to channel my inner Sydney Bristow.

However, I think this ice cream is good enough to convert most coffee ice cream haters. Super rich and creamy, and loaded with coffee flavor, it was the highlight of the ice cream sundae bar at our monthly small group. Andy, who only likes his coffee “girlied up,” loved this. So did my friends Lacey and Bethany. In fact, we’re lucky that I had enough left to photograph the next day.


As you can see, it didn’t last long after my photo shoot.


My only complaint with this recipe is the fact that it didn’t make as much as a typical batch of ice cream does. Next time I make it, I think I’ll increase the quantities by 50 percent. After all, you can’t have too much of a good thing, right?

Coffee Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups coffee beans
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 1/2 cups half and half (or whole milk, but I only had half and half on hand) 
3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs yolks
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the half and half, sugar, salt and 1/2 cup of cream in a medium saucepan. Stir in the coffee beans and heat over medium heat. When the mixture is just about at a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for an hour.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks together in a large measuring cup until smooth. Pour the remaining cream into a large mixing bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Set aside.

After the coffee beans have steeped, return the pan to the stove to rewarm the mixture. When the mixture is warm, slowly whisk it in to the egg yolks, being careful not to cook the eggs. Pour the egg/coffee mixture back into the saucepan and cook until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon (or until the mixture reaches between 170 and 175).

Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream, pressing down on the coffee beans to extract as much flavor as possible. Stir in the vanilla and instant coffee. Cover and chill the mixture for at least an hour in the refrigerator. (I chilled mine overnight.) Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

From David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, as seen on Annie’s Eats

Click here for a printable version.

5 thoughts on “How I Take My Coffee

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