Monday, June 22, 2009
I scream, you scream, we all . . . you know the drill.
Summer is here, and if you are not already making ice cream at home, this is the year to begin. After all, according to The New York Times, due to the economy people are now actually making more sandwiches and coffee at home. (Coffee at home? I'm "shocked, shocked.").
Whatever the state of the economy, if you are looking to make delicious treats at home for any reason, ice cream should be on the list. You simply cannot buy ice cream that is a delicious as the stuff you can make on your own.
An ice cream maker is required. I use a Cuisinart, pictured below. Why? Because the product was on sale at the time I was shopping for the machine. It works great for me. I've seen advertisements for sales going on right now. Check around on the web, and you may find a good deal.
There are many recipes for ice cream on the web. If you own a large, general purpose cookbook such as Joy of Cooking, flip through the index because it's likely that such a book will contains ice cream recipes.
My favorite ice cream to make is vanilla, and it is very rich. It has a custard base made from sugar, eggs, cream, and whole milk. Because it is so rich, a small serving is not only appropriate, it is appreciated. Little bit goes a long way, and because it tastes so indulgent you will not feel deprived of dessert. Vanilla is the perfect base to add chocolate, nuts, or fruit. It can be given a cinnamon flavor for a perfect accompaniment to pie. Recently, I've made vanilla with chunks of bittersweet chocolate and bits of crunchy caramel, giving the dish a creme brulee-feeling.
The idea for the caramel came from Michael Richard's book Happy in the Kitchen. The caramel is made by stirring together red wine vinegar and sugar. The mixture is cooked on the stove until it is dark brown, then poured onto a silpat where it sits to harden for 24-hours. The chocolate chunks and broken-up caramel are stirred into the churned ice cream, and the whole thing comes together after sitting in the freezer for a day.
Is it good? No; it is beyond good.
Get an ice cream maker and try making some yourself this summer.