Monday, August 1, 2011

DIY Vanilla Ice Cream: Making Ice Cream Without and Ice Cream Maker

Classic and Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream
Classic vanilla ice cream is the perfect base or accompaniment for so many desserts. The plain "vanilla" ice cream here is mostly not really vanilla flavored. In fact, some white kinds of ice cream here are labeled as taro (a vegetable pretty close to a potato), and that is how the less expensive ice creams here taste. I like potatoes. I like taro too, sometimes. But not so much in ice cream. So I set out to learn how to make my own. I started browsing recipes online and used David Lebovitz's Vanilla for inspiration. The result is pretty amazing. I might have a hard time going back to store bought vanilla anywhere, even in the US. This is a rich recipe, if you are looking for something on the lighter side try vanilla frozen yogurt. Personally, if I am going to spend the money on the cream and the time to make a real homemade ice cream, I make it really good. For healthier, easier, and cheaper frozen desserts, I go with some kind of frozen yogurt instead of trying to make light ice cream.

Adding egg mixture

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

  • ¾ cup sugar*
  • 2 cups whole milk (divided)**
  • 5 egg yolks**
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream**
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Custard thickening
Get out all of the ingredients, as well as a saucepan, a small bowl, a mixing bowl, a whisk, a spatula, measuring cups, and spoons. Begin heating 1 cup of milk and sugar slowly in a saucepan. Whisk egg yolks, and begin adding some of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks. When the egg yolk mixture is warm, add it into the milk mixture, and continue heating over low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula or spoon. Pour 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream into the mixing bowl. Add the custard into the milk and cream. If the custard has any lumps, pour through a strainer when adding it to the milk and cream. Add vanilla, and stir well.

Mixing custard into milk and cream
At this point, you can freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker if you have one. Or if you don't have an ice cream freezer, simply mix all ingredients in a freezer safe bowl or pan and place in your regular freezer. After about 30–60 minutes, check on the ice cream, and stir vigorously with a spatula or hand mixer to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process every 30–45 minutes until the ice cream is frozen well. In general, the more you break up the ice crystals, the longer it will take for the ice cream to freeze, but the smoother the end result will be. There is a lot more information on making ice cream and frozen yogurt on David Lebovitz's site.

This recipe makes about 1 quart or liter of ice cream.

* Reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sweetener can dramatically effect the consistency of frozen yogurt or ice cream.
Ready to go into the freezer

** Personally I love this ratio of sugar, milk, egg yolks, and cream. I think this is very rich recipe the way it is. However, if you want an even richer ice cream, you can use 2 cups cream, 1 cup of whole milk, and increase the egg yolks up to 8.

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