A few days ago I mentioned that a friend was posting pics of her ice cream making on Instagram and driving me around the bend with them? Well she has graciously volunteered up her methods and recipes in a DIY Kitchen featured post. Here’s the very kitchen-talented Sara Brodie Gillis (@hfxlibrarian), talking us through her love and creation of ice cream.
I have an obsession for kitchen gadgets and an ice cream maker has been on my wish list for years. We don’t tend to buy much supermarket variety ice cream, preferring the more interesting flavours you can get at ice cream places like Dee Dee’s and Sugah! and the gelatos at Ristorante a Mano. But I resisted buying an ice cream maker, figuring it would end up gathering dust like everyone’s breadmaker. When I recently mentioned on Twitter I was contemplating this purchase, a follower offered to sell me her never-used Cuisinart ice cream maker received a few years ago as a wedding gift. It was meant to be.
Next was to find the perfect recipe. There are lots of great recipes online, but I do love a good cookbook so perused the shelves of my local library (where I also happen to work) and found an incredible variety of ice cream, gelato and sorbet recipe books. I chose The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto to start with
This beautiful book supplies readers with a recipe for a plain custard base that you use for all of the gelato recipes that follow. For the impatient chef, the custard can be somewhat tricky as you have to heat it gently over low heat to get it to the perfect 185°F temperature, and this can take a while. My first attempt resulted in a clumpy mess because the heat was too high (thanks to my immersion blender and a strainer it didn’t go to waste) and I was more careful on the second try.
Plain Custard Base from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto:
Makes enough for 1 quart of gelato
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Combine the milk and cream in saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until tiny bubbles form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking constantly (pouring slowly is the key!). Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (the book is very specific about using a wooden spoon) until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and reaches 185°F. Do NOT boil!
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every few minutes. If you are impatient like me, stick the bowl in the snow on your back deck, or place it in an ice bath. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold (at least 4 hours or overnight).
This is the thing about homemade ice creams and gelatos – you can’t really make them on a whim because you have to cool the custard before you can actually make the ice cream or gelato, and if you don’t keep the canister of your ice cream maker in the freezer at all times you will have to allow at least a day for it to freeze properly. This is a good thing – if it were any easier and faster I would be eating way too much of this frozen goodness. A benefit of making ice cream and gelato yourself is that you can control the fat content by using more milk and less cream (the consistency may change a bit depending of the amount of fat you use). Some recipes call for 5 egg yolks for 1 quart of ice cream (and the recipe above calls for 4), but I think you could probably get away with just three.
Once you master making the custard base, you can create an infinite variety of flavours, from standard to interesting. The Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream Book provides recipes for some rather unique creations including savoury-sweet mixtures of strawberry olive or peanut-butter curry.
This past weekend I made lemon gelato by simply adding a ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon rind to the cold custard base and then following the instructions for my ice cream maker.
It took a mere 25 minutes for the electric Cuisinart to churn the mixture into a thick consistency, followed by an hour or two in the freezer to firm up properly.
The result was outstanding.
We couldn’t agree more! Thanks to Sara for sharing this…I’m having ice cream for breakfast.