Homemade Ice Cream Tips

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By Jason Shriner, The Aubergine Chef

One of my favorite things to make during the brutal Virginia summer is homemade ice cream. It’s incredibly easy to do and you can flavor it any way you wish, including options you won’t find in the grocery store. I prefer a French based ice cream, which has a custard component, because it is much richer, though slightly more difficult to prepare, than its American counterpart. Whichever style of ice cream you’d like to use here are some general tips and tricks to make sure you’re successful.

Almost any flavorings can work for an ice cream base. Spices, herbs, and tea can all be steeped by boiling your milk component, or turn that milk into hot cocoa for a nice chocolate frozen dessert. This is one of the few times it’s okay to go overboard. Our sense of taste doesn’t work as well with cold temperatures so aim for a stronger flavor using extracts and ground spices to give your base an extra boost.

Ice creams are a ratio. Fat helps make the dessert soft and water gives it a bite from the formation of tiny ice crystals. Sugar and alcohol inhibit freezing so they make a softer product. Add too much and your ice cream won’t set up at all. If you decide to alter a recipe make sure you understand how your changes to the ingredients affect the final product.

Fresh fruits are a little trickier since they freeze hard. Try macerating them with sugar and alcohol so they don’t freeze up. Chocolate chips also freeze really hard. If you’re looking for a softer bite try making a firm ganache. To make a firm ganache boil heavy cream equal to half the weight of the chocolate chips (so for one pound of chocolate you need eight ounces of heavy cream) then combine them together stirring until smooth. Chill the ganache so you can scoop up little chunks.

Most ice cream makers on the market are reliable though I like KitchenAid® and Cuisinart best. Be sure to get at least two bowls so you’re always ready to make ice cream. Bowls have to freeze overnight, so having two bowls is a precaution in case your first base doesn’t freeze correctly.

Jason Shriner owns the baking & pastry blog The Aubergine Chef, which contains free videos and recipes. He also teaches baking classes at the Manassas Park Community Center. You can visit his blog at www.TheAubergineChef.com.

Saffron Ice Cream (French Style Ice Cream Base)PWL 5 11 Homemade Ice Cream Tips whats cooking with logo

Makes about 1 quart of ice cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
13-14 egg yolks*
20 strands of saffron
*Use your leftover whites to make icing, meringue, or macarons

1. Combine ½ of the milk, all the heavy cream, ½ of the sugar, and the saffron in a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to rest for 15-30 minutes to allow the saffron to infuse. Bring to a second boil.

2. While the saffron infuses combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and milk and whisk together well.

3. Temper the yolks with boiled milk mixture by slowly adding the hot milk into the egg yolks while you continuously whisk the eggs until) of the milk is mixed in with the egg yolks.

4. Return to stove and cook to 175-180 degrees F stirring frequently. The closer to 180 you get the thicker your custard will be, but also the more likely your egg will curdle.

5. Strain over an ice bath and stir steadily to cool evenly.

6. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

7. If necessary, strain the mixture again to remove any curdled pieces of egg.

8. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

9. Place in a plastic or paper container with a piece of parchment paper on top (to help prevent ice crystals from forming on top) and freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight.



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