A few months ago I subscribed to a BBC Podcast called the Food Programme, which I now listen to regularly while driving or when I’m really hungry and no food is available. One episode which I particularly enjoyed, on the joys of homemade Ice Cream, made claims that all-natural ice cream was richer, creamier and more decadent than commercial brands. A new kitchen gadget I had to have and Christmas was so far away. Unable to wait that long, I picked up a hand-crankable Donvier ice cream maker from my local kitchen store, on sale for $50. A bargain, for sure, as I did the math on the money I would save by eating a lifetime supply of frozen desserts that could be concocted at home in 20 minutes or less.
Ice cream makers, whether electric or hand-cranked, should be an indispensable tool in your kitchen, as they can whip together more than just ice cream: there are literally thousands of recipes for sorbet (a water-based frozen dessert containing no milk or cream), sherbet (dairy-based dessert, usually lower in fat, but sweeter than ice cream), frozen yogurt, or gelato (intensely flavoured Italian ice cream of a softer consistency). If it is liquid and somewhat able to freeze, chances are it can be made into an ice cream. Guinness ice cream, anyone?
Yes, I know French Vanilla is plain and boring, to some, and perhaps indicative of my personality type or some deep-seated mistrust of my mother, if you put any stock in Ice Cream Psychoanalysis. Truth is, it’s been my favourite since I was younger and I enjoy sprinkling it with chocolate chips when I’m feeling a little crazy. Don’t try to read too much into it.
The cooking instructions I’ve included below work for the brand of ice cream maker I have. However, make sure to follow the instructions for your machine for best results.
Makes 1 Qt/.9 L or roughly 8 normal dessert portions
Cooking Time: 20 minutes to make the cream, then refrigerate overnight. About 20 minutes of hand cranking the next day, before serving, to turn it into something more closely resembling ice cream.
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups light cream
2 cups of 2% milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the eggs and the milk, then add the sugar.
2. Cook over low heat and keep stirring constantly for about 10 minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes, then add the cream and vanilla extract and stir.
3. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container.
4. About 25 minutes before serving dessert, prepare the ice cream maker (in the case of my brand of machine, I removed the empty, frozen cylinder from the freezer, where I placed it the day before). Pour the cream mixture in the cylinder and follow your machine’s instructions. Within 20 minutes, you will have enough dessert to feed the entire table.
If you have leftovers, as I did, place them in airtight containers and store them in the freezer. Note that the ice cream will become hard once left in the freezer for more than a few hours and probably won’t be as good and rich as that first bite. A good excuse to overindulge in one sitting.