We wanted to take a picture with the bottle of 甜酒 (tian jiu, fermented sweet rice) in the background, but we realized that the bottle is actually quite unphotogenic. Fermented rice is delicious - if you've never had it before, think something that's sour, winey, sweet, and ricey at the same time. Yeah, you know you want some. It's incredible in a sweet soup with some mochi, and it was very good in this ice cream. The alcohol content helps keep the ice cream soft and creamy, and the flavor gets more complex as it continues to mellow. We served it with fresh tian jiu and also on some warm, crispy, freshly toasted slices of choux pastry from our freezer stash.
Fermented Sweet Rice Ice Cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or just salt it to your liking)
3/4 cup fermented sweet rice, drained well
2 Tbsp fermented rice liquid (the stuff you drained out)
Pour cream into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Heat milk with half of the sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat til steaming, stirring once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, whisk yolks with the other half of the sugar until pale yellow. Temper the yolk/sugar mixture with the heated milk, and cook over medium low heat until the mixture thickens or reaches 180 F. Immediately strain into the cream. Add fermented sweet rice and the fermented sweet rice liquid, and mix well. Add salt and adjust to your liking. Chill overnight and churn in the morning. Transfer freshly churned ice cream to the freezer and let it set up for 2 hours before enjoying.