10 September 2009

ice cream for breakfast

icecream03this is a long and tedious post because it is full of my observations about making ice cream. nine times. so unless you like reading thought processes, i suggest running away while you are still at the beginning! this is your only chance to escape! but there are some pictures in case you decide to stay. :)

ice cream for breakfast.

and here’s why:

but first, let me justify why i’m justifying ice cream for breakfast.

my old roomie N used to get mad at me because i’d justify everything. “i’m doing this because…… and i’m eating this because… i bought this because….” I always had a good reason for why I did anything. and it drove her mad.

but! this is life! if you can’t explain why you do something or why you need something, a lot of times you won’t get it! especially since I sit at the bottom of the totem pole right now as recent grad. i have to be good at justifying why i should be chosen over every other job candidate. i have to justify why i should be accepted into a graduate program. until i reach the top, i’ll always be having to explain and prove myself to people. if not, opportunities will be given to those who can. and even at the top, i don’t think it’ll end there.

the bottom line, i feel, is: if you can’t justify why you want something in life to yourself (first) and to others (second) you’ll never get it.

but i’ll be a hyprocrite and also say that i don’t have a reason for everything. i’m only human. i still like to fall back on “just because” and “i don’t know” and “that’s just the way it is.” i mean, those are perfectly legitimate excuses too. but eventually, the reasons why i do things become clearer to me. just takes time to see it.

but for ice cream, there is a good reason, as i’ve discovered!

The ingredients are simply eggs, sugar, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. With the exception of the sugar and vanilla, all the rest is found in a breakfast quiche or omelet! And the sugar and vanilla? Do I need to bring up donuts, pop-tarts, cereals aimed at children….? So ice cream is nothing more than your normal breakfast ingredients, although in a different form. and cold.

My urge to eat ice cream in the morning has nothing with me being hungry. It has everything to do with “did my ice cream turn out okay?” And I’m not waiting until 3pm or some other “acceptable time” to taste it. I’m going to eat it ASAP so I can have a peace of mind knowing that my ice cream turned out okay.

Ice cream, like bread, takes time. Not actual time where you’re doing stuff but time for it to sit while you do other stuff. Here is what was essentially my schedule for making ice cream:

1. Make the custard in the afternoon, then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours

2. Churn the ice cream later on at night, then let it harden up in the freezer while I went to bed.

3. Wake up, and taste my ice cream to make sure it tasted okay!

4. Repeat. 9 times.

My Ice-cream making attempts and my notes. Really boring and really tedious.

1. Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

Source: Cuisinart CIM-20 Instruction/Recipe Booklet p. 5

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1 cup whole milk, chilled

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Pout everything into machine and churn right away. 20-25 minutes, when it’s thickened, scrape into container and freeze to let it harden up.

Result: The first ice cream I ever made. It tasted delicious, although it was super soft before I froze it – I didn’t feel as if I could eat it right away. But also note, this is also the only ice cream where after mixing the materials, i didn’t let it chill in the fridge for a few hours. It went straight to mixing. I also kind of felt it was kind of “gritty” and not smooth like the ice cream i’m used to. And I learn why in my next ice cream.


2. French Vanilla Ice Cream

Source: Williams-Sonoma Frozen Desserts p. 47

1 large, soft vanilla bean

1.5 cups whole milk

6 egg yolks

1.5 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions: Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and simmer it with the whole milk, sugar, and 1 cup of the cream. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of cream with the 6 egg yolks until they are blended and are a pale yellow color. When the milk mixture begins to simmer (don’t let it boil) take it off the heat. While whisking the egg yolks and cream mixture, slowly pour a little bit of the milk mixture into the egg and cream mixture. Make sure you don’t stop whisking. Pour about 1/4 of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Then pour all of the egg mixture into the milk mixture. Thoroughly mix it all together, and place it back on the heat. Let the custard heat up, but never to a boil. Stir constantly with a spatula as you are waiting for it to thicken up. Once you see steam coming up and the custard is thick enough to coat the back of your spatula, take it off the heat and run the custard through a sieve to get rid of any grainy solids. Place it in a water bath to chill it, then let it chill for a about three hours in the refrigerator. Once it’s thoroughly chilled, churn in the ice cream machine.

Result: What detailed instructions! They start with an entire paragraph on how to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, if that gives you any idea how the rest of the recipe is written. My version is extremely condensed. But anyway, the result: the creamy, delicious ice cream that I was expecting! I had doubts at first because the custard was pretty solid and thick, unlike ice cream #1 i made which was pretty liquidy. But after chilling and churning, it had the texture of normal ice cream and tasted good. So i’m not sure if it being solid was right or wrong, but I was happy in the end.

3. Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream

Source: Williams-Sonoma Frozen Desserts p. 66

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbs vanilla extract

Instructions: Essentially the same as #1. Except for churning it directly, the book said to stir together the milk and cream first, then mix in the sugar until dissolved, add the vanilla extract, chill it for a few hours, and then churn it. I think I skipped the chill step, and just mixed, churned, and froze it. My thought process was: I just pulled it out of the fridge, it is already chilled, why would I stick it back…? But I assume that by mixing it, the ingredients became “de-chilled.” I have a feeling that chilling it is a factor if you want to eat it right away after churning. But for me, I’m happy to let it firm up in the freezer for a few hours before I dig in.

Result: Tasted the same as ice cream #1. Delicious. And, moving on!

3b. Use up leftover ingredients to see what would happen since I was too lazy to run out and buy more ingredients but still wanted to make something + plus i wanted to use maple syrup.

Source: Me!

little bit of heavy cream

a lot of milk

1/2 cup sugar

few tbs of pure maple syrup

1 tbs vanilla extract

Instructions/Result: Churned the exact same way as #1 and #3 (just straight into the machine), but nothing solid ever happened since I only had a little bit of cream. It stayed a liquidy mess. So I just poured it into a container and froze it. Hours later, I checked up on it. It tasted fine, but the texture was more of a popsicle. And I couldn’t really taste the maple syrup. Very icy and gritty. So now I know how to make popsicle textured things: reduce the amount of cream and increase the amount of milk!


4. Peach Sorbet

Source: Williams-Sonoma Frozen Desserts p. 86

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup peach or apricot nectar (i used apple juice)

1.5 pounds peaches, peeled and chopped

1.5 tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tbs rum (optional)

Instructions: Peel the peaches and chop them into chunks. (Again, great detailed instructions in the book. It really is aimed at the complete beginner.) Make a syrup by boiling the sugar with the nectar, except I used apple juice since that’s all I had. Stir constantly until it is clear and you can’t see any grains of sugar. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit. Put the peaches and 1/3 cup of the syrup into a food processor and puree it. Pour it into a bowl and stir in 1.5 tbs lemon juice. Let chill in the fridge for a few hours, then churn.

Result: I made a slight almost-mistake. I reduced it too much, so the syrup was thick. And as it cooled, it solidified as well. I got lucky in that it it was warm enough when I mixed it with the peaches to stay liquid, but some bits near the end did turn solid. And the sound was deafening since it sounded like shards of glass being blended. Not good on the ears. And after churning, I didn’t taste any solid chunks… so I was good! But I learned my lesson: don’t reduce it too much, or else you’ll have a solid mess to work with instead of a runny liquid.


5. Vanilla Ice Cream

Source: Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz, p. 121

1 cup milk

pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions: Almost the same as ice cream #2. Almost. Here, the cream is poured into a bowl and set aside for the very last step. The final mixture will be strained into it, but it never gets involved with the stove top. You first mix and heat the milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds together until it begins to simmer. Then temper the egg yolks the same way – pour a bit of the warm milk mixture into the yolks while whisking them at the same time, then pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of your spatula. Then remove it from the heat, and strain it into the bowl of heavy cream you set aside. Cover, chill, and churn.

Result: Delicious. A different way of making the ice cream. I’m not sure why the authors do things differently, or if one method is any better than the rest, but I assume all is good as long as your eggs don’t curdle.


6. Chocolate Gelato

Source: Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz, p. 125

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa (i used whatever unsweetened cocoa powder I had around)

2 cups milk

5 oz bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

Instructions: No cream! First, the cocoa powder is mixed with 1 cup milk in a saucepan, then brought to a boil and removed immediately. The chopped chocolate is immediately stirred into the hot mixture until it’s all nice and melted. Then in saucepan number two, the other 1 cup of milk is heated with the sugar. The yolks are whisked together as you temper them with the warm milk and sugar. This step never changes – yolks are whisked constantly as part of the hot milk mixture is poured into it. Then the yolks are poured back into the rest of the milk mixture. This next step never changes either. The mixture is cooked until thick enough to coat your spoon, then removed from heat. Once removed, it’s strained into the chocolate mixture and mixed thoroughly. Cool, chill, churn.

Result: So. rich. so. chocolaty. so good. Not much different technique-wise from #5. Lebovitz again has you set aside the cream for the custard to be strained into.


7. Caramel Ice Cream (Modified from ice cream #5)

Source: Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz,, p. 121

1 cup milk

pinch of salt

3/4 cup caramel

more caramel, as wanted

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions: Same vanilla ice cream from #5. But I replaced the sugar with caramel. And during the last 3 minutes of churning, I added even more caramel so it would be more intense.

Result: The caramel is from the flan I made earlier this summer. I knew i’d go back to that jar of heaven! Delicious. The caramel wasn’t overwhelming, it was actually kind of light. But I didn’t want to dump the whole jar of caramel into it. So my tip is, near the end of churning, have a taste. If it’s okay, keep it. If you want more caramel, add more caramel. It’s all up to you!


8. Lychee Ice Cream

Source: Charlie Trotter’s Desserts by Charlie Trotter, p. 30

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup pitted lychees

Instructions: Peel and pit the lychees, then set aside. Prepare an ice water bath. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat. Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks. Temper as usual with the heavy cream. Pour yolk mixture back into the cream, and heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spatula. Then let it cool in the water bath. Once it’s not hot hot hot, pour into your blender/food processor along with the lychees. Puree the mixture, then strain it into a bowl. Cover, chill, and churn.

Result: No milk! I’m constantly surprised. Every author seems to have their own way of doing things. So far not one method has been the exact same as another’s. In this case, Trotter doesn’t even use milk. And he mixes the sugar with the egg yolks, unlike #2 where the cream was with the yolks, and unlike #5 where the yolks were alone and the cream also alone. It’s funny – I thought I was going to learn how to make ice cream, and then it was all going to be the same. But no, everybody seems to have their own way of tempering the eggs. And i’m surprised at the lack of milk.


9. Basil Ice Cream

Source: Charlie Trotter’s Desserts by Charlie Trotter p. 108

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup firmly 0packed fresh basil leaves

1.5 tsp orange zest (I had zip so i used lemon juice)

4 egg yolks

6 tbs sugar

Instructions: Heat the cream, half of your basil, and orange zest until it starts to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let it steep for 30 minutes. Make an ice water bath. Come back later to your stove top, and bring it to a boil. Immediately take it off the heat. Whish your egg yolks with the sugar, and temper as usual. Cook custard as usual. Then chill it in the ice bath, stirring occasionally. Once cool, pour it into a blender. along with the rest of your basil leaves. Puree it, then strain it. Cover, chill, churn.

Result: This was strong. I’m finding i’m not a fan of ice cream that knocks out a major ingredient, ie, only cream and yolks with no milk, or milk and yolks with no cream. I suppose i like my ice cream/gelato more mild. The removal of one of those ingredients just intensifies the flavor. The basil ice cream was delicious. But something funny happened afterwards... i can no longer stand the smell of basil by itself. If basil is with some tomatoes, olive oil, and cheese, I can take it. But the scent of basil alone makes me stomach churn a little bit. Thankfully, I still love the taste of basil!

And then I got sick of making and eating ice cream. So I stopped. The end!


Marianna said...

hi! how come i hadnt known of your blog before?!! you take such great pictures and you write so well, your blog is a real treat! keep up the fab work!!

chocolatecup said...

awesome! i want some homemade icecream! never tried those ever!