Monday, June 24, 2013

Homemade Ice Cream

A while back, I made a little commitment to myself to increase the amount of cooking I did from our combined large collection of cookbooks - no specified schedule, though I've tried to make sure it's once a week or so.

This week, I'm working with The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, by Bruce Weinstein.  I use the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and love it - very easy to use, easy to clean and makes homemade ice cream a breeze.



The Ultimate Ice Cream Book includes a really nice variety of ice creams, sorbets, granitas, and the like, and has a good mix of familiar favorites and some interesting exotic recipes (I am intrigued to try the corn ice cream, and the jalapeno ice cream - Michael is less sure).  They also have rich custard type ice creams that use a lot of eggs, and less rich varieties and the recipes are categorized as 'master recipes', most with nearly a dozen interesting variations.

The first recipe we tried was Chocolate Ice Cream - we had what we needed on hand, and it seemed that if their chocolate was good, that boded well for the rest of book.

The only change we made to the basic recipe was using Dark Cocoa instead of standard (it's what was on hand) and WOW, the result was insanely delicious - a very decadent, adult dark chocolate ice cream with some chopped walnuts tossed in.

Just to ramp it up a little more, we ate it with a drizzle of caramel and spent the next ten minutes moaning in pleasure. If you only ever make one batch of homemade ice cream, this is the one.



I think it helped the quality of our ice cream a whole lot that we used pastured eggs, and non-homogenized milk and heavy cream from a local supplier that delivers (it is pasteurized, as MD doesn't allow non-pasteurized milk to be sold, but it is still light years closer to real, rich milk than anything for sale in the stores.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Place the sugar, eggs, and cocoa in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.  With the food processor running, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture through the feed tube.  Process until well blended.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly.  Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.

Remove from heat and pour the hot chocolate custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl.  Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1-2 batches in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions, adding walnuts or other mix ins when the ice cream is semi-frozen.  When finished, the ice cream will be soft serve and ready to eat.  For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least two hours.

~ ~ ~

No picture this time. The Ginger Ice Cream looks like vanilla, and tastes to me like a frozen Ginger Chai Latte.  This, again, feels like an adult's ice cream.  One of the variations actually calls for steeping the milk with some chai tea, which I think I'd like to try next time.  The variation we used added the nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, but you can keep it purely ginger if you'd like.  The candied ginger nibs are also optional - but they really made it interesting, so I'd recommend including them.

Ginger Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 4" piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tblsp finely chopped crystallized ginger

In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until thickened and pale yellow.  Beat in the cornstarch; set aside.

Slice the fresh ginger into 1/2" pieces and combine with the milk in a heavy saucepan, along with the spices.  Bring to a boil, ten remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.

Remove the ginger from the milk with a slotted spoon and slowly beat the warm milk into the eggs and sugar.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly.  Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.

Remove from heat and pour the hot ginger custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl.  Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1-2 batches in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions, adding the crystallized ginger nibs when the ice cream is semi-frozen.  When finished, the ice cream will be soft serve and ready to eat.  For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least two hours.

This would go perfectly with snickerdoodle cookies, and if you made it a little later in the year, I think it would also be very good with gingersnaps or gingerbread, for a more Autumn-centered ice cream.

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