Will You Eat Your Wine Instead?


Just when you thought the artisanal food craze was going quiet, someone decided to rope wine into the storyline.
Wine ice cream is coming on like gangbusters, as evidenced at last month’s Summer Fancy Food show in New York City. Mercer’s, a dairy in upstate New York, has been crafting wine ice cream since 2008. Their wine ice cream (clocking in at 5% ABV) was a huge hit with talking heads at the event. It’s only a matter of time before imitators begin to set up shop. The market is wide open, and twenty-first century ambrosia is poised for an explosion.
When you combine two very provenance-based consumables, wine and milk, a litany of questions surely will arise – especially among the artisanal food set. Some examples: Have the dairy cows been shot up with hormones and antibiotics? When they’re not producing milk, do the cows have room to frolic and play? As for the grapes, where were they grown? How old were the vines? Are the grapes organically and sustainably farmed? Who (or what) picked the grapes? What was the Brix level on those grapes when they were harvested? This is an era which encourages and congratulates the interrogation of our victuals.  
Bevies of questions pave the way for a competitive and multifaceted wine ice cream market. But if you won’t be willing to pay fifty dollars for a pint of Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet grapes enmeshed with milk from an Ahimsa dairy cow, just try crafting some wine ice cream for yourself. Here’s a recipe with which you can experiment:
1 bottle of red or white wine (Seriously, use any bottle you’d like!)
3/4 cup sugar (Experiment with different sugars: brown, white, turbinado, or a combination of a few.)
2/3 cup softened butter mixed in with 1 cup full-fat milk (You also can use whipping cream.)
4 egg yolks
1 cup half-and-half
Reduce your bottle of wine by half. (You can do this by pouring the wine into a pot, bringing it to a quick boil, and letting it sit on medium/medium-low heat for about an hour. Do not cover.) While the wine is reducing, beat the four egg yolks vigorously for at least two minutes. (A standing mixer works best.) After you’ve beat your eggs, whisk together your sugar, butter, and full-fat milk (or just use your whipping cream.) Cook over medium heat, but do not boil. Stir constantly until you get the mixture to steam. Remove from heat. Pour the steamy mixture over your beaten egg yolks and stir for a few moments. Next, put the combined mixture over medium heat and stir until it turns thick. (Let it coat the back of your spoon.) Remove from heat. Add the cup of half-and-half and stir. Add your reduced wine and stir some more. The work is almost done. Let your concoction chill in the fridge overnight. When you wake up in the morning, stick your ice cream in a cone and enjoy! Boozy breakfasts make the day brighter.

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