It’s the summer of pie and ice cream! I decided that this season’s challenge would be to regularly make both delights from scratch, and, to date, I’ve made two pies. Since July is near completion, I tackled its frosty cohort this past week.
I decided to start simple and make vanilla, using a recipe from the New York Times. The article included a link to a video showing the step-by-step process. It looked simple enough: make the custard, put the custard in the machine, viola…ice cream! The whole video was less than five minutes long. I figured I could easily make ice cream in an afternoon and have it on the table for dessert that night.
I. was. wrong.
My fantasy of a 30-minute start to finish process turned into a three-day ordeal. Since I’m one to find the lesson in every experience, here’s what I learned:
The bowl of your ice cream maker must be completely frozen prior to making product. In my case, the bowl for my equipment takes between six and 22 hours to completely freeze. Since I didn’t pull out the ice cream maker until 2pm that day, there was no way it’d be ready for me to make ice cream in time for dinner.
Read the entire recipe before starting to make ice cream (or anything for that matter). As an experienced home cook, I know this most basic rule of thumb. I skipped it this time because I watched the video and figured I only needed to reference the recipe for the ingredient and measurements.
This proved to be a big mistake. (Lesson 2.5: Don’t take everything you see in videos as gospel.) If I’d read the recipe in its entirety, I’d have seen that once the ice cream base is made it needs to cool to room temperature then chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours (but most likely overnight). Had I known this I would’ve made the ice cream base first thing in the morning so it’d have time to chill for churning later that day. Since I didn’t know this, the ice cream base didn’t go into the fridge until 4pm. Another night of no ice cream.
Lessons 1 and 2 combined brought me to the most important lesson of all:
Plan ahead! If I’d planned accordingly, all this could’ve been done in one day. Bowl in freezer the night before it’s needed. Make the base early the next morning for chilling, and then an afternoon churn. Back in the freezer and ready to serve for dessert that night.
Ice cream is super simple to make and the taste pay-off is definitely worth the effort. With these lessons learned I look forward to my next ice-cream adventure, this time without the wait.
As you can see there aren’t many ingredients in basic vanilla ice cream.
The recipe calls for six large egg yolks, I separated the eggs into a bowl. Once the sugar had dissolved in the cream and milk mixture. I pulled it off the heat and slowly in a steady stream whisking constantly added a third of the cream mixture to the egg yolks.
Once the yolks are tempered with the hot cream. I poured the eggs slowly whisking constantly back into the pan with the remaining cream base. Then I added the vanilla bean paste to flavor the custard.
I let the custard cook on medium heat until it thickened and coated the back of the spoon. While it was cooking I was constantly stirring to make sure the custard didn’t burn or stick to the pan. Once the custard was thickened. I poured the mixture through a strainer into another bowl. Straining is important because it gets rid of any cooked egg bits that might be in the custard.
The custard needed to cool to room temperature then it went into the refrigerator over night.
FINALLY the part I had been waiting three days for the ice-cream base went into the ice cream maker!
It churned for about 30 minutes ( I had no idea how loud ice cream makers are!) Once custard is frozen and thick I poured into a container and put in the freezer to harden for another couple of hours.
Now ladies and gentlemen the moment we’ve all be waiting for the finished product! I decided that my homemade ice cream needed the company of a homemade brownie.
The picture doesn’t to this dessert justice! It was so good Cory and I both had another serving. It’s the perfect way to end any meal or day. I hope you give making ice cream a try. I promise it’s worth it!