Saturday, February 15, 2014

ice cream variations

One of my favorite food books of the past year is Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking in which he talks about the basic ratios that make cooking possible. His basic ice cream recipe is as follows (this does well in one of the countertop ice cream makers):

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
6 ounces egg yolks (9-10 large egg yolks)
I have made ice cream twice over the last couple of weeks. Once was a curry ice cream to go with these cookies; the other was a Limoncello ice cream to go with an almond pound cake baked by my friend Laura (I don’t yet have that recipe). My point is, with this base, you can make most any flavor you like with a little help from your friendly web browser.
For the curry ice cream, I replaced the milk with coconut milk
(one can is right at 1 1/2 cups) and added 1 1/2 tablespoons of Madras curry powder.

For the Limoncello ice cream, I used the base recipe and added 2 tablespoons of lemon extract and a half a cup of Limoncello.

(I might also add Ruhlman adds 2-4 tablespoons of Maker’s Mark Bourbon to his vanilla recipe.)

The actual making of the ice cream is as follows:

Heat the cream and milk in a double boiler, or in a saucepan over medium heat, until the milk is to a simmering stage. Don’t bring it to a boil. Whisk the eggs and sugar (and curry powder or lemon extract and Limoncello) until the sugar is dissolved. Ladle about a half a cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture very slowly, whisking the whole time. This is called tempering the mixture. You are trying to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them. Repeat until you have added at least two cups of the milk to the eggs and then pour the mixture slowly back into the double boiler and cook the mixture until it thickens like a custard, which will take about six or seven minutes. This should require your complete attention.

When the mixture is ready, Pour it into a clean and cold bowl and then set that bowl in an ice bath to let it cool. After about 10-15 minutes, Put the bowl in the fridge and let it sit for at least two hours. It can sit overnight, if you like. If you do so, cover the top with a piece of plastic wrap so it doesn’t develop a skin.

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream maker and let it run for 25-30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the harder the ice cream will become. Transfer the ice cream to a container and put in the freezer for at least two hours before serving.

This one takes some work, but it sure is good.