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Writing Cookbooks

A Family Affair


“MY KEY WEST KITCHEN”, Norman & Justin Van Aken, © 2019

All the Van Aken’s love peanut butter. But it was Justin to turn that love into this passionate confection of goodness!

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

One 12-ounce container skin-on Spanish peanuts

1 Tablespoon corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon honey

6 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a pot, warm the cream and milk over medium heat.

Spread out the peanuts on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until crunchy and toasted, 16 to 17 minutes, stirring the peanuts and rotating the pan halfway through.  Let cool for 1 minute, transfer the nuts to a food processor and roughly chop; do not puree.

Immediately add the nuts to the pot containing the warmed cream.  At this point, I like to let the peanuts steep for at least 30 minutes to allow the peanut flavor to develop.

When you’re ready, place the pot over medium-high heat and stir in the corn syrup and 1/2 cup sugar.  When the cream reaches a scald, about 175 degrees F, turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually introduce about half of the hot cream mixture to the yolks, stirring constantly.  Pour the egg and cream mixture into the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring the bottom of the pot constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent sticking.  When the mixture has reached 175 degrees F, remove from the heat and pour through a large-holed strainer and then a fine-mesh strainer into a glass or metal container to remove the peanuts from the ice cream.

Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Stir the salt into the ice cream and set the container in the ice bath to chill.  Once cool, wrap and chill overnight.

Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then place in a tightly sealed plastic container in the freezer until fully frozen.

Norman Van Aken has been described as legendary, visionary and a trailblazer. He is known as “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world.