Browned butter, brown sugar and brownie chunks
Art history, like TV Guide, divides its subjects into time slots. It further carves up the discipline by area (say, Spain), by subject (say, portraits) and by media (say, paint). But what if it used different criteria — like the physical actions of the artist? Galleries might be labeled Spread or Twist. Sculptors who work in metal and butchers who work in brisket would be lumped together under Cut.
It’s an intriguing idea, one that held my attention all the way from a Harvard lecture hall to Toscanini’s, the Cambridge ice cream shop named after the Italian conductor. Should the musician and his window washer both be filed under Swipe?
Behind the counter, artists practiced Scoop — building on the work of the pastry chefs in back, who had already mastered Thicken, Chill and Churn. The most famous work in this collection is titled B3, reference to the materials: browned butter, brown sugar and brownies. One taste, and I knew it was fine art.
Churned from browned butter, brown sugar and brownies, B3 does not disappoint.
Prep: 30 minutes
Chill: 4 or more hours
Churn: 20 minutes
Freeze: 4 or more hours
Makes: about 5 cups
11/2 cups heavy cream
11/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon water
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into a few chunks
1 tablespoon instant nonfat dried milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
11/2 cups chopped brownies, without nuts
Prep: Whisk together cream, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt until sugar has dissolved. Drop yolks into a tall, narrow 6-cup container that offers an immersion blender a snug fit. Blend in 1 teaspoon water.
Brown: Drop butter chunks into a medium saucepan. Set pan over medium heat. Butter will melt, foam, then begin to brown. Turn down heat to medium-low. Sprinkle in dry milk, and whisk, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. In 1 to 2 minutes, butter will turn golden brown, be riddled with brown specks and give off a delightful nutty aroma.
Blend: Slowly pour hot browned butter over yolks, while blending with immersion blender until emulsified. Pour cream mixture in slowly, blending. Add vanilla and blend.
Chill: Cover and chill 4 hours or overnight.
Churn: Pour mixture into an ice cream churn and swirl as directed. Stir in brownie chunks. Scrape ice cream into a storage container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Cover and freeze firm, 4 or more hours.
Serve: Let ice cream warm on the countertop about 10 minutes. Scoop and savor.
Adapted from a recipe from Toscanini’s Ice Cream.