This past summer I broke down and bought myself an ice cream maker. I had been wanting one for years but was dissuaded by worries that making my own ice cream would prevent a trim figure and that it was a frivolous reason to own an extra kitchen appliance. So I would eat chocolate instead.
There was also the idea that I’d make my anticipated first batch of homemade ice cream and would be sorely disappointed. Like I was with the only batch that ever came from the Donvier hand-churned ice cream machine I was given when I was 9. We used a recipe for a non-custard ice cream; only vanilla, sugar and milk, probably 2% at that. It was ice cream with no soul.
But after saying “I want an ice cream maker” countless times to friends and spending hours inventing flavours in my head, I made a pact with myself that the machine would not collect dust in the cupboard and bought the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker. And dust it has not collected…
I started with rudimentary Vanilla. The result was a rich and creamy ice cream that really tasted of all the simple ingredients it was made with: milk, cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla bean.
Then I moved on to other flavours (that were sadly not captured on camera)…
Strawberry: I learned that too much water from the berries made a more crystallized and less creamy ice cream. I also learned that chunks of strawberry turn into miniature ice cubes that really dampen the ice cream/mouth party.
Butter Pecan: Delicious!
Raspberry: Learning from the strawberry, I boiled the raspberries into a syrup (still fairly runny) and the result was a much creamier ice cream with a blast of raspberry flavour.
Flavour X: I can’t reveal this one yet. Top secret. It was so amazingly delicious.
And one you can see! Peach Maple Pecan: Umm, not bad but…confusing? It was like my mouth couldn’t figure out whether I was lounging in an orchard on a hot summer day or sitting by a glowing fireplace with friends on a rainy evening.
I tried to squeeze the latest batch in before the end of summer: Mint Chocolate Chip. I followed David Lebovitz’s recipe (he’s the other of “A Perfect Scoop” and famous in the homemade ice cream sphere) with no deviations save for infusing the mint for 2 hours instead of one. Oops.
After steeping, I continued to make the ice cream but was worried by the very strong fragrance of mint and plant. The ice cream smelled like a garden. Kind of nice but what would it taste like?
After chilling the custard, mixing and then more freezing, I tasted the ice cream and was disappointed. It did taste like plant.
But wait a minute…maybe another bite. The chocolate was delicious, if I quickly sucked the ice cream away from the chocolate, I’d be left with tasty bits in every spoonful. Let’s pan for gold! I kept on eating though as I ate, I realized the ice cream was indeed very delicious, plant-taste and all. It ended up a success.
I think I’ll still try another batch using mint extract instead of the real thing, for comparison. But maybe not till next summer. Now is the time to explore fall flavours…