Making ice cream always seems like a feat only the pros can master. To achieve that perfect balance of rich flavor and creamy texture, you absolutely need an ice cream maker, right?
Well, almost. This week's Kitchen Curious endeavor stayed at home, with a recipe that produced ice cream without expensive equipment or hours of churning it yourself.
By definition, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milk fat and include various sweeteners, generally either sugar or corn syrup.
As all St. Louisans know, frozen custard is different than ice cream. It contains egg yolks, hence the custard base, and has a slower churning process. The result is a much richer, creamier product. Mix it with various candy or other treats and you have a concrete.
While my dessert-making skills and home kitchen equipment are not nearly up to par, at least not enough to compete with Mr. Wizard's in Maplewood or Ted Drewes in the custard arena, I wanted to make a creamy treat at home that contained eggs.
Brentwood Whole Foods employee Ejrin Hodzic recommended using guar gum in ice cream. "Guar gum should keep the ice cream creamy and prevent ice crystals from forming," Hodzic said.
Hodzic also said to pay attention to what kind of milk you use. "For ice cream we use whole milk. For gelato, use skim," Hodzic said.
Hodzic's advice is perfect for those who don't own an ice cream maker but still want to achieve that smooth texture in their dessert.
Making ice cream is great summer fun for a bored child antsy for something to do, and is easier than you might think. I picked up all the ingredients I needed at Dierbergs in Brentwood. I used the whole egg instead of just the yolk, and the ice cream turned out perfect.
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream/Custard Hybrid
Yield: About 3 pints
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 quart chocolate milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Guar gum
1 teaspoon salt
I made almost my entire ice cream base in my blender. Blend the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, then blend 5 min. Add the vanilla, salt and 1/2 quart of chocolate milk and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl and lightly whisk in the rest of the milk, guar gum and heavy cream.
I saved some pint containers from previously eaten ice cream to store my homemade batch, after washing them thoroughly to get the other flavors out.
One mistake I made in the process was not scraping the cream from the sides of the containers during the freezing process. The faster the cream freezes, the creamier it will be, but home freezers simply don't get as cold as industrial.
So, if you try it at home, scrape the sides to reincorporate it with the rest, which will cool the cream down faster and serves as another preventive measure against icy chunks. Replacing the sugar with corn syrup also aids in that process, but be forewarned - corn syrup is more concentrated, so the amount you use will be different.
Looking for a different method to make homemade ice cream? Check out the easy bag method, even better for kids as it is a much faster process. Here's another tip: bake your own cookies and make ice cream sandwiches.