This ice cream should capture something good from several holiday dishes--fruitcake, egg nog, and roasted chestnuts.
2 cups half-and-half
chestnuts, enough to make 8 ounces of puree (I use about half a large jar)
one can (15 oz.), sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk, because that would be nasty)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, pineapple, apricots, or whatever makes you feel holiday-ish, without being nasty)
Start heating the half-and-half in a medium saucepan. You will want it to boil in about 10 minutes.
While that's cooking, puree the chestnuts in a food processor. Add the sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you like other spices like allspice or cloves, add a little of those too, but not much (cloves will make your tongue numb). Blend it until it's smooth.
Add the eggs and salt, and blend that until it's smooth.
Your half-and-half should almost be boiling. When it comes to a boil, start the food processor, and while it's running, pour the half-and-half into the food processor through the feed tube. Blend well.
Pour the mix back into your saucepan, and put it over low heat. You want it to get hot, but not to boil. Stir it constantly until it starts to thicken. (You just made a custard!) Set a strainer over a large bowl, and pour the custard through the strainer. If any of the eggs started to scramble, this should get them out of your ice cream.
Let the custard cool a little. Stir in the vanilla. If you have other good extracts--rum extract, brandy extract, maybe almond extract-- a half teaspoon of just one of them might be good too. Real rum or other liquor will tend to keep your ice cream from setting up firmly, so that's a trade-off between taste and texture you'll have to consider for yourself.
Put the custard in the refrigerator until it's cold, somewhere between 4 hours and a day.
When you're ready to freeze the ice cream, stir the custard. Freeze it in your ice cream freezer. When it's finished but still soft, stir in the dried fruit. Pour it into a container to freeze, and put it in your freezer overnight. Serve and enjoy.
Adapted from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, Weinstein.