I can’t even remember the last time that I made ice cream. It’s probably been at least ten years. I’m not even sure why I decided to go ahead and haul out my ice cream maker, except that once I started thinking about baking that peach tart, I couldn’t get vanilla ice cream out of my mind.
I suppose it all started when I was thumbing through the August issue of Food & Wine. In their “What to Cook Next” column they featured a comparison between French and American style ice cream. I kept going back to this article and eventually decided that I would try the richer French version where you make a custard to use as the base for your ice cream.
Seeing that I hadn’t used the ice cream maker in about a decade I didn’t even put it together (all 3 pieces) correctly. I had to call J. in for help-I had the paddle upside down. The only thing crazier than that was that I served this to an Italian who makes the best gelato in San Diego. He immediately brought up the differences between ice cream and gelato, but he also didn’t seem have any problem in finishing off his portion!
French Style Ice Cream
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Pinch of salt
Set a medium bowl in a large bowl of ice water. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until pale, about 3 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, salt and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and bring to a simmer, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved***(to make vanilla ice cream see below). Whisk the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks in a thin stream.
Transfer the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to lightly coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes; don’t let it boil. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the medium bowl in the ice water. Let cool completely, stirring frequently. Refrigerate the custard until very cold, at least 1 hour.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker with flavorings, if using, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the frozen custard to a plastic container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
***I made this vanilla by slicing open a vanilla bean, scraping the seeds into the milk and cream mixture along with the whole vanilla pod. I let this steep for about 1/2 hour, removed the pod, reheated the milk/cream mixture a little and then proceeded with the recipe.
I now have a new passion-yes, it’s ice cream. Next up peach!