She donated the beans, a rather expensive variety from her stash. As I threw the beans in to the saucepan to soak in the milk, she had second thoughts (too late!) about "wasting" those beans on ice cream. Maybe the expensive subtlities would be smothered by the ice cream. She shouldn't have worried. When she tasted it she said, "Oh, my gosh! That is the Best ice cream I have ever had!" (And considering the amount of quality ice cream I've been producing lately, that's saying quite a bit.)
And as with all wonderful foods, it was even better shared. The group she blessed with the ice cream gave it rave reviews, too. I, who don't even like coffee, thought it was pretty darn good, and would be even better with a little hot fudge sauce on top. My daughter also said that she could taste the flavor of the beans. So don't be afraid to go ahead and use really good beans. It will only enhance the flavor of the finished product.
Coffee Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1-1/2 cups (125 g) whole coffee beans
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp finely ground coffee
Warm the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the cream in a medium saucepan. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the coffee-infused milk mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constanltly. To prevent the bowl from skittering around the counter while you're pouring and stirring, place it on a rubber glove. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constanlty over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. A finger pulled across the spatula's surface will leave a trail that doesn't close up. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and the finely ground coffee and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to directions.