Friday, January 12, 2007

Miracle Ice Cream Technique

Lots of really great ice cream made with excellent ingredients is available in your favorite food store  - some stunning in their simplicity, others enticing in their unfamiliarity - so you have to be very motivated to make your own. If you are, keep reading.

The following three books will make the home cook who wants to make ice cream happy. First, are two books by Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. Her recipes translate well to the home kitchen, her ice cream is fantastic, and I find it doesn't get icy stored in my freezer, a big plus. Then, should you be interested in getting into more depth about ice cream, you will also enjoy Dana Cree's Hello, My Name is Ice Cream - The Art and Science of the Scoop.

Ever since I got Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, I have made all my ice cream her way with cream cheese as a stabilizer. However, if I were to make a recipe for ice cream that called for making a custard, which uses egg yolks as the stabilizer, I would adapt the recipe to incorporate the following method.

This "miracle" technique is adapted from Vol. 19, Number 2, of A La Carte, the newsletter from what was, to me, the best cookery shop in the world, LaCuisine in Alexandria, Virginia, and Desserts to Die For by Marcel Desaulniers. Unfortunately for me, but not for Nancy, the owner, the shop has closed so that Nancy can divide her time between cooking and visiting her daughters, one of whom lives in London, the other in Bologna. Way to go, Nancy!

I miss LaCuisine, a place where you did not find trendy implements, cookware, books, or foodstuffs. There were only items chosen, tested, used, and recommended by Nancy herself and her team of "Cuisinettes," they of discriminating taste (not a pun) and high standards. Many of my prized kitchen treasures are from LaCuisine, and I miss having this dependable store to turn to for my cooking wants and needs.

Happily, I can follow Nancy on her official blog, Kitchen Detail. I suggest you do too.

Nancy with Two Cuisinettes and a Companion in Front of LaCuisine
Stephanie, one of the Cusinettes who worked closely with Nancy at LaCuisine, says that when she discovered this technique in Marcel Desaulniers' Desserts to Die For, "hidden" in the recipe on Page 79 for Jonny's Hard Cider Ice Cream, she knew she had found a major breakthrough. No matter what ice cream recipe Stephanie tried, she never had a failure with this method. I also found this to be true. 

Miracle Ice Cream Technique

You can use these directions whenever you are making ice cream with a custard base. However, you MUST have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for this recipe to work, and you must follow the directions explicitly.

Heat the cream, milk, and half of the sugar in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil.

While the cream mixture is heating, place the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer FITTED WITH A PADDLE, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Beat the eggs and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes, then scrape down the sides, and continue beating on high until the mixture is thick and lemon colored.

At this point the cream mixture in the saucepan should be boiling. If not, adjust the mixer speed to low, and continue to mix until the cream mixture boils. The eggs must be well mixed BEFORE the boiling cream is added.

Pour the boiling cream mixture into the beaten egg yolk/sugar mixture, and whisk ON LOW to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and place over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a temperature of 185°F. This will only take about one minute. Chill the mixture in an ice bath until it is between 40 to 45°F before proceeding. (I often refrigerate the mixture overnight.)  When you are ready to spin the mixture in your ice cream maker, strain the mixture through a sieve and proceed to freeze following manufacturer's instructions.

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