Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream!

Kevin had to choose a cake for his birthday and I told him I would make ice cream to go with it. I've been making ice cream since I was a kid. My family used to make it in the winter because we had the type of ice cream machine that you needed snow/ice and salt to be packed down around the spinning bowl. I only remember making vanilla.

When we registered for our wedding, I made sure to add an ice cream maker to the list. I knew it would be a “gadget” we’d actually get some use out of. Our most recent flavors,
Oreo Mint and Malted Milk Ice Cream were big hits. If you follow me on Twitter (sarahberridge), you know I had a heck of a time trying to find malted milk powder, but I was determined to make that ice cream. It has malt powder and whoppers, how could I let that one go? Anyway, since receiving our ice cream maker, we've only made "flavored" ice cream, never vanilla. Well, now we have.
Kevin chose Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake, so we decided to keep the ice cream simple. I used a recipe adapted from Dave Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. I subbed 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract for the vanilla beans. This was the first time that we cooked the eggs, so I was a little worried about scrambled eggs during the warming process, not to mention a weird egg flavored ice cream (which I remember from a time we made custard when I was little). Luckily, everything turned out great! This ice cream is really rich and flavorful. It turned out to be the star of the cake and ice cream combo even though it was supposed to be the laid back side kick. Since I had to share it, there was only about half a batch left after the BBQ. This ice cream ran out faster than usual because we used it to moisten the leftover birthday cake. I made another batch this week, and added the remainder of an open bag of Heath pieces from our pantry. I added the candy in the last 5 minutes of churning in the ice cream maker. I like to add mix-ins at the last minute so everything gets evenly distributed and doesn't fall to the bottom of the bowl during the churning process.

For a go-to vanilla ice cream recipe or base to add ingredients to (like Heath pieces), this is a winner. I’ll probably test some other recipes, but I won’t go too crazy because this is from Dave Lebovitz and Dave and good ice cream go hand in hand.

Well, this post wraps up the BBQ series. I hope you'll come back for the many recipes to come!

Vanilla Ice Cream Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by way of Dave Lebovitz’s blog
Makes about 1 quart

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won't be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.

1 cup whole milk [I used half and half]
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise [I used 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract]
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks [I used 6 because that’s what I had]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 cup "mix-in" ingredients (Heath pieces, mini chocolate chips, etc)

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

Egg Cream Mix
Just added the custard to the heavy cream.

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