Thursday, July 26, 2012

Homemade Ice Cream

My fanaticism about ice cream started in the womb {or so my mom tells me}. She couldn't drive past a Baskin Robins during her third trimester. My tastes have moved from vast quantities of cheap ice cream to, well, Ben and Jerry's, and any other rich frozen custard laden with chunks of unexpected ingredients.

Last birthday, my awesome in-laws celebrated my love of ice cream {and 28th year} with a trip here:
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, OH
for breathtaking ice cream. Flavors that redefined what ice cream can incorporate. So my birthday present became...
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Confession: I study cookbooks; I mean lost to the world, engrossed in, pour over cookbooks. My family has picked up on my obsession and given great cookbooks such as Julia Child's seminal work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook. This Christmas was Deaf Smith Country Cookbook by Marjorie Winn {a daily reader}. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home feels like a quirky friend that I hang out with for creative inspiration.

About the book: 100 recipes for jaw dropping ice cream. Beautifully illustrated with excellent technical descriptions. Certainly the recipes are written for fussy cooks - the 'sweet potato and roasted marshmallow' ice cream calls for homemade marshmallows. They also require an inquisitive pallet - I just finished caramelizing pine nuts to mix into sweet basil ice cream.  But if involved, mind-boggling gourmet ice cream is your thing {and it is definitely ours}, this book deserves space on your shelf.

I do have a disclaimer about using this book: I do not use Jeni's ice cream base. The cream cheese never mixed in well. So I use Alton Brown's (recipe below). In my hands, it produces a more consistent custard.

Ice Cream Base
24 hours before - put ice cream maker bowl in freezer

From Good Eat's "Churn Baby Churn 2", with some modifications:

9 oz of sugar
8 egg yolks

3 c half and half
1 c heavy cream

2 t vanilla


Place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
While cream is heating: In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine to ribbon stage {yolks will flow from whisk in a continuous ribbon}. Temper {slowly ladle while whisking at medium speed} the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F {you're trying to kill all the salmonella}. Remove from heat and prepare an ice bath. Pour the mixture into a gallon freezer ziploc {Thank you Jeni for this tip}. Add vanilla and submerge in ice bath. Allow to cool, occasionally mixing until the custard reaches 40 degrees F or below.  Add ice if needed. 30-60 minutes.
Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

It sounds packed with calories, not even remotely healthy for you. It is. But some things don't need to be healthy. That's why you eat kale all week long.

It sounds labor intensive. It is. But I warned you, remember, "fussy, involved ice cream." Trust me. Every spoonful makes the effort worth it.


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