This week it’s all about Ice-Cream!

Last week we were lucky enough to have received some fantastic kitchen appliances from our friends at Cuisinart.  Although all the appliances are amazing pieces of kit, I was particularly excited about the ice-cream machine…

That’s because I absolutely love ice cream,  it’s quite simply amazing – whether it’s on its own or as a great accompaniment to an amazing dessert it really can be the difference between a good dessert and a great one. But with many cheaper ice creams being nothing more than vegetable oil, good quality ice creams are obviously at a price premium, it means making your own is the best way forward. It also means you can experiment and make some more unusual flavours which may not be available at the local supermarket but more of that later.

Making ice cream is surprisingly easy and the best news is you don’t have to invest a lot of money into a specialist ice cream machine (of course you could just buy an ice cream machine if kitchen gadgets are your thing!) in fact you’ve probably got everything you need already in your kitchen.

Ice cream is exactly what it says it is – frozen cream. But rather than just freezing your cream mixture you do need to keep breaking up the ice crystals so you have a smooth texture in your mouth.

All an ice cream machine does is freeze the mixture and keep churning it to keep the ice crystals small. But you can easily do this at home by freezing your mix but keep whisking it every half hour or so throughout the day – yes it’s alot of whisking but think about the good it’s doing to your upper arms!

When you’re happy it’s smooth enough (you’ll have to keep tasting your ice cream to check this so it isn’t all hard work!) allow it to freeze solid.

However to achieve that perfect texture there is one more step that you can do which is then to allow the frozen mixture to defrost for a few minutes then blend with a stick blender or in a food processor and then re- freeze, this will result in an amazingly smooth ice cream all without the aid of a specialist machine.

As for the mix, simply freezing sweetened, flavoured cream is as simple as it gets. For example;

330ml milk

250g sugar

650ml double cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

Simply mix all together, and allow the sugar to dissolve and then start freezing!

However for something richer and more of a “classic” flavour, a simple frozen custard is needed such as:

2 vanilla pods

500ml milk

500ml double cream

12 free-range egg yolks

200g caster sugar

  1. Put the sugar and cream together in a small pan, split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, add seeds and pod to the cream mix, warm over a gentle heat.
  2. Beat the yolks and the sugar together with a whisk until thick and creamy.
  3. Allow the cream to come up to the boil and then turn off the heat.
  4. Ladle a small amount of the hot cream into the yolks and whisk until all combined, repeat two or three times until the yolk mixture is a similar temperature to the cream mix.
  5. Add the mix back to the pan and put onto a gentle heat, or over a Bain Marie, and allow to cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring all the time to prevent scrambling the eggs.
  6. Pass custard through a sieve and chill.
  7. Freeze and churn!

This recipe is sweeter than a normal custard as the ice cream will lose some sweetness due to the cold temperature, which is something you should remember when making any different flavours! Another great tip is to add a few teaspoons of liquid glucose (which is available in supermarkets) or a shot or two of vodka, which will help keep the ice cream easier to scoop.

The great thing about using custard to make your ice cream is that due to it being made hot, you can infuse so many flavours into it, why not try cardamon – simply omit the vanilla and replace with a few cracked cardamon pods and proceed as normal (this would go brilliantly with the tart tatin from one of my previous blogs!) The flavours are literally endless, they don’t even have to be sweet, why not try a mustard and dill ice cream and serve it with  some  poached salmon?!

Go on and have a go!

Until next time…