Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ice Cream

Like jam, I learned how to make ice cream for Passover. It's time-consuming, the ingredients can get expensive, and you have to buy an ice cream maker, but the results are definitely worth it. I have the Cuisinart model that uses a freezer bowl. The bowl just lives in my freezer so I don't have to plan ahead. Otherwise, it takes at least 24 hours to freeze the bowl completely.

I make a custard base ice cream, which means I use egg yolks. The ice cream becomes like a frozen creme anglaise, which is much richer than most of the ice creams at the market. I think it holds the flavors better than just frozen cream, and you can get away with using lower percentages of fat in the milk and cream.

I know it sounds like a lot of sugar, but flavors are dulled when they are cold, so you really do need this much.

And don't throw away the egg whites. They freeze very well for the next time you make macaroons or a meringue. Or, make an egg-white omelet. Get creative.

Ice Cream Base

2 C heavy cream
2 C milk (any % fat is OK if you're using heavy cream)
4 egg yolks
1 C sugar

1. Whisk egg yolks slightly. Whisk in sugar until slightly pale and mixture falls in ribbons. Set aside.

2. Bring milk and cream to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. This can take 15 minutes or more, but you don't want to scorch the milk.

3. Whisk eggs again slighly to make them loose. Temper the eggs by adding 1/2 C of the hot milk to them and beating vigorously. Do this with about half of the milk. The idea is to warm the eggs slowly so they can cook without turning into scrambled eggs.

4. Add eggs to main body of milk and continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly, meaning the eggs are cooked. It is OK if is comes to a low boil, but avoid higher temperatures that will curdle the eggs.

5. Remove from heat. Strain if necessary, and place in refrigerator to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Chill in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions until desired consistency is achieved. At this point, it will be like soft-serve ice cream. To make it firm, it will have to be frozen for at least 4 hours.

Makes 1 qt mix, 6-7 cups depending on overrun (amount of air whipped into cream).


Vanilla: Several days before, portion out sugar into a container and place one vanilla pod into it. Seal tight and shake once or twice a day to make vanilla sugar. If you want vanilla seeds visible in the ice cream, split open pod and scrape out seeds into cream as it is heating. The pod can also go in, but remove it once the cream has boiled and discard.

Cherries Jubilee: In a pan, cook pitted cherries in butter and a little sugar. Add a splash of brandy and serve hot over vanilla ice cream. (See Photo)

Bananas Foster: In a pan, cook banana slices in butter and brown sugar. Add a splash of rum and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate: While heating cream, stir in 4 Tb (1/4 C) cocoa powder.

Cappuccino: After removing from heat, stir in a double-shot (2oz) freshly brewed espresso.

Mint Chip: After chilling, add scant 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add 2 oz (2 squares) coarsely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate. Add a few drops green food coloring if desired.

Eggnog: Pour LIGHT eggnog directly into ice cream maker, or dilute regular 50/50 with milk. Add a bit of nutmeg.

A warning about fruit: It will freeze very solidly. If adding fruit, chop into very small pieces.

Nuts: Similar results to fruit. I recommend crushing them.

I prefer uncomplicated ice cream flavors, but the best part of making your own is that you get to decide what's in it. If you want pistachio-almond-fruit-fudge-butterscotch-delight, there's no reason you can't make it. Have fun!

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