You'll scream for homemade ice cream

2011-07-06T00:00:00Z 2011-07-07T00:06:04Z You'll scream for homemade ice creamBy Carrie Steinweg Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 06, 2011 12:00 am  • 

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream were produced for distribution in 2009, a slight decrease from the year before. More than 90 percent of households in the country consume ice cream and frozen desserts.

Yes, we Americans love our ice cream, but when we reach for a sweet, chilly treat, it doesn't have to be one that comes out of a cardboard container or a wrapper from our supermarket freezer or a truck that chimes nursery rhymes. Making your own cold summer concoctions is just a few stirs, cranks or button pushes away.

While the earliest consumption of iced treats can be traced back to China, Macedonia and Rome, it was an American woman, Nancy Johnson, who invented the hand–crank ice cream maker.

Sheen Omery, line cook at The View restaurant in Munster, said he isn't much on sweets, but can't resist nougat ice cream. He uses a basic nougat recipe he found in a British newspaper along with different garnishes. "My favorite topping I put with nougat ice cream is simply slices of oranges and macerated strawberries," said Omery. "My version of macerated strawberries is a ratio of 2 to 1. Two cups of white wine to one cup strawberries."

Preparing your own ice cream requires a little work, but the fresh taste makes it well worth it. Bruce Weinstein, author of "The Ultimate Ice Cream Book" (published by William Morrow Cookbooks), put together a collection of over 500 recipes for ice cream, sorbet, granite, shakes, malts and other treats. He suggests starting out with the basics. "Keep it simple. Don't start with a cashew custard ice cream, as delicious as that is. Start with Philadelphia Strawberry or a simple vanilla. Then when you see how easy it is, you'll want to move on to more complicated recipes," Weinstein said. "Ice cream doesn't have to be hard. In my book, there are many recipes for Philadelphia–style ice cream that is not custard-based and so simple to do."

We've come a long way since Nancy Johnson's hand–crank model of the ice cream maker. "The thing I get asked all the time is, 'Do the recipes in your book require a machine?' Well, yes they do. You can't make ice cream without a machine of some sort, but the days of old hand cranks with salt and ice are over. Most machines have motors that crank and self–contained refrigeration that only requires the flip of a button."

The International Ice Cream Association is still showing vanilla at the top of the list of flavor preference and it's winning by a mile. Twenty–nine percent of Americans favor the simple vanilla flavor (followed by chocolate at 8.9 percent). Weinstein falls in that top group, with Simple Philadelphia–style ice cream being one of the favorite of his recipes, along with Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Weinstein's book contains many ideas for ingredients to mix in to ice cream recipes, "But you have to be careful of a few things," he warned. "Fresh fruits that have digestive properties like pineapple, kiwi and papaya will curdle milk."

Fig Ice Cream

8 dried figs

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS: Cover figs with boiling water and set aside until soft, about 2 hours. Drain figs, cut into quarters and place in a food processor. Add the eggs and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine the sugar and milk in a medium-sized sauce pan and place over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and the milk comes to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat. With the food processor running slowly pour the hot milk into the fig mixture through the feed tube. Process until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in one or two batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer–safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

Variations:

Fig Almond Ice Cream – Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract along with the vanilla extract. Add 1/2 cup chopped, toasted almond to the machine when the ice cream is semi–frozen. Allow the machine to mix in the nuts. Proceed with recipe as directed.

SOURCE: Bruce Weinstein

Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup cocoa powder

1-1/2 cups milk

1 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS: Place the sugar, eggs and cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until smooth. Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy sauce pan. With the food processor running, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture through the feed tube. Process until well blended. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from heat and pour the hot chocolate custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in one or two batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer–safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

SOURCE: Bruce Weinstein

Cinnamon Ice Cream - Philadelphia Style

3 cups light cream

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup crushed red hot candies (optional)

DIRECTIONS: Heat the cream in a heavy sauce pan until small bubbles appear around the edge. Do not let the cream boil. Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla and cinnamon. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. The cinnamon will rise to the top, but don't worry: it will incorporate into the ice cream while it freezes. Stir the chilled custard, and then freeze in one or two batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer–safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Makes just less than 1 quart.

SOURCE: Bruce Weinstein

Nougat Ice Cream with Oranges

1-1/2 ounces whole blanched hazelnuts

1-1/2 ounces shelled unsalted pistachio nuts

13 ounces caster sugar

6 egg whites, at room temperature

10 ounces whipping cream

4 oranges, to serve

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking paper. Roast the almonds and hazelnuts in an ovenproof dish for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Combine all the nuts and smash with a rolling pin or pestle into small pieces. Do not let them become powdery. Measure out four ounces of the sugar and put half of it in a pan set over a moderate heat. Stir until the sugar melts; it will become crumbly to begin with. Make sure it has all melted before you add the remaining half. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the pan as you go along. Cook the caramel until it browns. Add nuts to the caramel and stir until well coated. Pour the praline onto the baking sheet and allow to cool. Then smash into small, rough chunks and set aside. Whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining sugar, gradually, and continue whisking to form soft peaks. Separately, whisk the cream until thick and fold this into the meringue, followed by the praline chunks. Line a loaf tin or terrine with cling film, leaving plenty of overhang. Spoon the nougat in and wrap the top in the overhanging cling film. Freeze for a minimum of six hours. To serve, peel the oranges, removing as much of the pith as possible and slice. Cut the frozen nougat into slices and serve with slices of orange.

Other garnishes suggested by Omery are:

Macerated strawberries

2 cups Pinot Grigio

1 cup strawberries

DIRECTIONS: Pour wine over sliced strawberries. Cover and refrigerate for a half–hour before serving.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS: Use double boiler method. Fill pot with water and wait till boil. Once boiling, bring down heat to a simmer and place a bowl over the pot. Cover the entire pot. Place chocolate and heavy cream into the bowl and stir constantly. For a unique flavor add a pinch of paprika.

SOURCE: Shaheen Omery

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