Friday, July 20, 2007

Batch 1: French Vanilla Ice Cream

I started the week off by making my first batch of ice cream using my new ice cream equipment. The process went pretty well, for a first timer. The final product got Mike's seal of approval. He has been faithfully having a bowl of the stuff every night, so it cannot be that bad. Actually, it is pretty good. It is the real deal with real vanilla. None of that low fat, no sugar, whipped air, tastes like chemicals, ice cream.
I decided to start with vanilla ice cream. The basics, right? Don't get over ambitious, like I often do when I am cooking. So I chose the very first recipe in the book. Note, I don't read the introduction to the book, "The Basics." I think I knew it all because I read the short column on "Quick Tips to Making Homemade Ice Cream" in the SF Chronicle. Had I read the first chapter of the book (I did so yesterday), I could have saved myself from using 20 extra bowls and could have actually been prepared for each of the recipe's steps. I was standing at the stove, with the recipe book in one hand and "stirring constantly" with the other, wondering how I could make an ice bath with no hands. I definitely could have made it easier on myself by choosing the second recipe in the book, the Philadelphia-style Vanilla Ice Cream, which has no eggs and all you do is blend all the ingredients, chill, and then dump into the freezer bowl in the machine. But that would be too easy.

One of the instructions in "The Basics" was to read the entire recipe first. I usually ignore that advice and this was no exception. Maybe if I had read the entire recipe first, I would have realized that a French Vanilla Ice Cream requires making a custard. The whole thing took quite a bit of time - letting the mixture stew for 30 minutes, then making the actual custard, cooling the custard in an ice bath, letting the mixture cool overnight, and then 25 minutes in the ice cream maker the next morning. Nothing strenuous, but the entire process does take time. Surprisingly enough, I made the custard perfectly and the entire custard went through the strainer, no problems, which means I didn't cook the eggs too much or too fast. Wahoo! The other thing I will do differently next time will be to pour the custard (or other base) into the freezer bowl with the machine assembled and turned on so that none of the custard gets frozen to the sides of the freezer bowl.

The next ice cream recipes I want to try are: Tiramisu, Roasted Banana, Strawberry-Sour Cream, and maybe Basil. I also want to try some of the sorbet and granita recipes! Sugar overload, here I come!

1 comment:

Hunter said...

mike's biased - i think you need to get an impartial opinion from a friend. Maybe even two of them. Who are married. And live about two miles from you. And are free in early August to come over.