I know it’s ice cream season because:
A) the trees now have leaves
B) we have harvested rhubarb from the garden
C) it’s hot enough to put on the air conditioner
D) the robins have nested in the gazebo
E) all of the above!
I’ll bet you didn’t guess I was a teacher, did you? Seriously, it is the time of year when I want something cold and refreshing. It seems to me that ice cream would be an excellent vehicle for bringing fresh fruit to my lips. So, I have begun to give the whole ice cream topic a bit of consideration.
Buying ice cream at the store has required considerable effort since I began to eat as someone with food challenges. I have to read the labels. The list of ingredients I can’t have, has become increasingly longer as time goes on. Of course you can get all natural ice creams; for a price. Somehow, paying $8 or more CND for a pint of ice cream takes the pleasure out of it for me.
May 10th, I prepared a special Mother’s Day dinner for my mother. For dessert, I made Baked Alaska using my Almond Honey Cake ( the 3 minute mug recipe in my recipe box ), Hagen Das ice cream and meringue. It was absolutely delicious. I hadn’t made one in many years and honestly couldn’t remember why I’d stopped, until I considered the price: then I remembered! In total, it had cost me about $20 CDN to make 8 small servings. No wonder desserts in restaurants are expensive! I can fully appreciate why.
However, as the list of things I can eat shrinks, my desire for treats does not! Ice Cream is still something I can eat in small quantities. A few days ago, I got the bright idea that I should make my own ice cream. I was inspired by an article I had read in “Fine Cooking June/July 2009″ called “Scooped”. Never having done it before, I was a bit confused by the article, so I did a web search and came up with a simplified version on the “Epicurious” web site. I used the hand mix method I found on yet another site, because I don’t have an ice cream making machine.
Yesterday morning, I started the ice cream adventure. I used the following ingredients:
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
I made the custard and chilled it in an ice bath. While it was cooling, I pureed the strawberries with a bit of the sugar and put it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Then I combined the cooled custard with the berries and froze it, whipping every 45 minutes for the first three hours. Finally, I put it into the deep freeze. I found I still had to whip it a couple more times as it froze, to break up the ice crystals.
Today I tasted the results. It is wonderful; rich, creamy, flavourful. It had a deep pink colour and the lemon rind/juice gave it a nice lift. It was similar in texture to frozen yogurt and did leave a cream film on my tongue.
I think the next batch I’ll switch to half whole milk and half whipping cream. That should solve the film problem. I think I’ll whisk it more frequently when it’s in the deep freeze too. That may give it a silkier texture. Of course I’ll have to try a new flavour! I wonder what I’ll try next: vanilla with white chocolate, cinnamon pecan brittle, dark choclate with candied ginger? This promises to be a very exciting summer!