I look up, and begin to scream. You see me, my screams ripping through the still of the night, and begin to scream as well. Within moments, we’re all screaming…
…for ice cream. That’s right folks! Today, for the first time in DFK’s history, we’re making ice cream!! It has been pretty damn hot here in Chicago, so I can’t think of a better time to indulge in the perfect summery treat (although of course, ice cream is always appropriate, no matter the weather).
There’s a lot to talk about with ice cream and all of its variations. So much so that you could have a blog dedicated to that topic alone, and that’s not even taking into account the science of the stuff, which is super interesting but complex. I’m working on a post with some in-depth science on ice cream, but for today we’re just going to go over the basic method.
To look at the history of ice cream is really to inspect the history of frozen food preparations, which in most cultures began as ice mixed with honey and/or fruit. The ancient Greeks, Persians, Chinese and Indians all had recipes for what we’d now likely call snow cones.
In the 18th century there was a recipe published in England for “ice cream” which amounted to little more than frozen bricks of sweetened cream, presumably to be shaved before service. It stands to reason that until the technology existed to produce or maintain ice on a regular basis and then to keep finished product at a frozen holding temperature, ice cream was limited both in quality and accessibility. As technology advanced, though, so too did ice cream and it has been a worldwide favorite ever since.
To make ice cream you of course need an ice cream maker. There are lots and lots of options on the market for the casual home maker, with price points that run the spectrum. At home I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker that does a decent job for a very affordable price.
The batch size of this recipe is adjusted to fit in my ice cream maker. The Cuisinart has a 2qt capacity, but this recipe gives you about 1.5qt. which I think is the true capacity of the machine if making ice cream. Under filling the machine will allow for overrun (the amount of air pushed into ice cream during the freezing process, which will cause the ice cream to expand). You’ll just have to consult your own ice cream maker’s instructions and capacity and adjust the batch size to work for you. The same goes for how long you will have to run the ice cream maker. Again, the Cuisinart says to run a batch of ice cream for between 25-35 minutes but that can vary depending on how much product is in the machine. The 1.5qt. of ice cream base takes a solid 40min. in my machine.
The most basic ice cream recipes aren’t much more than milk, cream and sugar. Yes, you can freeze this mixture while aerating it and get ice cream. The problem is this won’t be very stable, especially in a home freezer, and you may find yourself with product that is grainy or icy before long. My recipe includes a few extra ingredients – most importantly ice cream stabilizer – that will give you a smoother finished product that will last longer in your freezer.
vanilla ice cream
800g whole milk
285g heavy cream
54g non-fat milk powder
1 vanilla bean madagascar bourbon
45g glucose powder dextrose
30g inverted sugar
40g egg yolk about 2-3 eggs
5g ice cream stabilizer
Combine the non-fat milk powder with the cold whole milk and heavy cream, whisking well until the milk powder is fully dissolved.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook the mixture, while whisking, to 185F/85C.
Chill the mixture as rapidly as possible and let rest in the cooler 1hr. up to overnight. To help it chill faster, I like to place my ice cream base in a hotel pan, increasing the surface area and allowing more of the base exposure to cold air.
Process the ice cream base in a blender or with a hand blender before freezing.
Freeze your ice cream following your ice cream maker’s instructions. For the most part this will be a little trial and error in determining the proper texture for your finished product. Keep in mind that the ice cream will harden further once in the freezer, so spinning it to a slightly softer texture than you might think is usually a good idea.
I like to store my ice cream in 16oz deli containers – a staple of any professional kitchen.
Let the ice cream continue to set in the freezer for a minimum of 3-4 hours up to overnight before scooping and serving.
Chill out max and relax all cool with your very own ice cream!