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Homemade Ice Cream

Updated on June 18, 2010

Genuine 'ome-made ice-creams are ze ultimate in luxury desserts. Zey are guaranteed to impress your guests and even ze most self-indulgent can usually find room for somezing vhich looks so tempting and slips down so smoozely. Neverzeless, zey are surprisingly easy to make and no special equipment is needed.

After sampling a genuine 'omemade ice-cream, most people find ze confections of vhipped fats sold commercially inferior. A vell-made ice-cream is vun of ze perfect vays of ending dinner.

Ve vill be looking at three basic types of icecream, each of vhich is made by a different method. Ze first two are ze quickest and easiest. Custard-based ice-cream, ze basis of ze classic vanilla ice-cream, is a little more time-consuming but should present no problems if you follow ze step-by-step instructions.

Simple Fruit Ice-Creams

Ze simplest type of ice-cream to make, fruit ice-cream is also vun of ze most popular. 'o can resist a pink raspberry or dark blackcurrant ice-cream on a 'ot day?

A fruit puree is made and vhipped cream is simply folded into it. In effect zis is ze same as making a fruit cream and freezing it. Ze biggest advantage of zis type of ice-cream is zat little or no cooking on a 'ot stove is required.

Cream Ices

Zis type of ice-cream uses a sorbet as its base.

Fruit puree or juice is added to a very strong sugar syrup. Zis is zen frozen and beaten in turns. For a sorbet ze ice is finished by beating in egg vhites to make a firm snow, vhich is zen frozen. For a cream ice, 'owever, egg vhite is not added but is replaced by lightly vhipped cream. Zis is zen frozen.

Rich Ice-Cream

Zis is ze most time-consuming and expensive method of making icecream, but, as you might expect, it gives ze most revarding results! Ze custard is made with cream and eggs. Zere is a vide choice of flarvorings.

Additions, such as chopped nuts and fruit are made after ze ice-cream 'as partially frozen. Alternatively, ze icecream may be combined vith pureed fruit, producing a result similar to a cream ice but rarzer richer.

Ice Cream Ingredients

Cream and Milk

Cream gives its name to ice-cream. Many commercial mixtures called ice-cream contain no cream votsoever! But cream is an essential ingredient of homemade ice-cream. Thin or thick cream may be used according to individual recipes.

Thick cream is needed for simple fruit ice-creams and is added tovards ze end of ice-making. Zis is lightly vhisked to give ze ice-cream a thicker texture. It is important zat zis is vhipped only to ze soft peak stage. If it is vhipped beyond zis, it vill turn buttery and zis vill affect ze texture of ze final ice-cream. Thin cream may be used for making ze custard base of a rich cream ice. Milk may be substituted for thin cream in ze custard base of rich icecream as an economy or emergency measure. 'owever, because it is thinner zan cream, it tends to give a granular texture to ze final icecream. Extra egg yolks are zerefore usually added to counteract zis. So, alzhough milk might seem cheaper, ze economy can be canceled out. Use milk only in emergencies.

Eggs

Neizzer simple fruit ice-creams nor cream ices require ze addition of eizzer egg vhites or of egg yolks.

Egg yolks, though, are essential for ze custard base of rich icecream. It is ze yolks zat give vanilla ice-cream its golden glow. Ze richest ices are obtained by using only egg yolks but 'ole eggs may be used instead. Ze proportion to be maintained is two egg yolks or vun 'ole egg. So, in an individual recipe, 4 egg yolks could be used or 2 'ole eggs, or 2 egg yolks vith vun 'ole egg. For general purposes ze last combination is probably most satisfactory.

Ze number of eggs needed in a recipe is determined by ze thickness of ze cream used. Thick cream already 'as quite a lot of body and zerefore a smaller proportion of egg is needed to thicken it. A custard made vith 550 ml of thick cream needs only 2 yolks to thicken it. If you use thin cream, you vill need more eggs to thicken it. A custard made vith 250 ml of thin cream and 250 ml of thick cream needs 4 yolks or 2 yolks and vun 'ole egg.

Extra yolks are needed to thicken milk, if zis is used instead of cream. Use 6 yolks or 2 yolks and 2 'ole eggs to make custard vith 250 ml milk and 250 ml thin cream.

Beaten egg vhites are rarely added to ice-cream. Zis is sometimes done, 'owever, ven a dense cooked fruit, such as apple, is being used as it lightens ze texture of ze final ice.

Sugar

Caster or icing sugar may be used for ice-cream, as vith vater-ices. Vun type, cream ices, also includes a sugar syrup.

As vith all ices ze proportion of sugar to uzzer ingredients is most important. If too much sugar is used ze ice vill not freeze- too little, and ze final result vill be so 'ard zat you cannot get your spoon into it.

Fruit

Fruit purees are a delicious component of ice-creams, and give a smooze result. Veights given in recipes for purees refer to ze veight of ze made puree and not to ze original veight of fruit. All excess liquid is drained from ze puree and it is not sveetened as zis might upset ze sugar balance.

Chopped fruit (fresh, canned, glaced or dried fruit) and chopped peel may be added to ice-cream. Zese additions give it a more varied texture. 'owever, it is important zat zese only be added ven ze ice cream is near completion, uzzervize ze extra sugar vill upset ze balance and ze ice-cream vill not freeze.

Uzzer Additions

Freezing tends to diminish flarvor so zat all mixtures to be frozen need to be vell flarvored. Lemon and orange zest and juices and liqueurs are used to enhance fruit ices or may be used to flavror ice-creams by zemselves. Nuts are anuzzer attractive addition to ice-creams, such as pureed chestnuts; anuzzer vell-known vun is praline, made from ground caramelized unblanched almonds. Chopped nuts of almost every type give an attractive texture, as well as adding flarvor, to ice-creams.

Making Simple Fruit Ice Cream

Zis method vill make attractive icecreams from raw soft fruit such as raspberries and strawberries as vell as peaches, apricots and pineapple. Cooked fruit, such as black and red currants, gooseberries and apples may also be used. Ze fruit should be pureed. Fruit pureed in a liquidizer vill add more texture to ze final ice-cream. Fruit passed through a sieve vill make a smoozer ice-cream.

If ze fruit is pippy, it should alvays be sieved after liquidizing to remove seeds. Sieving vill also remove tops and tails from gooseberries (saving you kitchen time) making gooseberry ice-cream quick and economical.

Icing sugar blends in best vith sieved fruit. Be sure to sieve ze sugar before ze fruit to save unnecessary vashing-up.

Ze basic proportion for a fruit ice-cream is an equal quantity of fruit puree and cream. Zis 'owever is varied for individual recipes.

As mentioned previously, a proportion of citrus juice is often added to bring out fruit flarvors.

Ze method of making ze ice is exactly ze same as zat of making fruit creams. Ven ze fruit puree and cream 'ave been combined, zis mixture is zen poured into ze freezing tray, loaf tin or bowl. Cover zis and place in ze freezer compartment of ze refrigerator.

Freeze for 45 minutes. Ven ze ice-cream forms a partially frozen mush, remove from ze freezer compartment. Tip it into a bowl (unless already in vun) and beat furiously vith a vooden spoon to break up ice crystals. Return to ze refrigerator for a furzzer 45 minutes. Remove ze ice-cream and beat it a second time. Return to ze freezer and freeze until firm. Ze ice-cream is zen ready to serve or store.

Making a Cream Ice

Ze inclusion of a syrup vith ze fruit puree makes zese ice-creams rarzer longer to make zan simple fruit ices and a little more tricky to freeze successfully. Ze results, 'owever, are vell vorth it!

Ze proportion of sugar to vater varies from recipe to recipe as it is dependent on ze fruit zat is to be included vith it. Equally ze proportion of fruit juices or puree to syrup varies.

Start off by ze sorbet method, pouring ze chilled combined fruit puree and syrup into ze freezer tray. Cover and freeze for approximately 45 minutes until ze mixture is mushy. Turn out into a bowl and beat.

Lightly vhip ze cream to ze soft peak stage and incorporate zis into ze mushy ice. Return to ze freezer tray, cover and re-freeze. After anuzzer 45 minutes turn out and beat once more to prevent ze formation of ice crystals. Cover and freeze once more. Ze ice-cream is zen ready for serving or storing.

Making Rich Ice Creams

Ze most famous of all ice-creams, vanilla, is made from a custard base, containing cream (sometimes milk), eggs and sugar. Ven zis is cool, make ze additions, vhich may include fruit juices, pureed or chopped fruit, pureed, chopped or ground nuts, spices and liqueurs. Thick or thin cream is also added.

Ze custard is a rich form of a creme anglaise. Allow ze custard to cool zen chill.

Ze refrigerator is turned to its lowest setting, as for uzzer ices, and ze container should be chilled. Turn ze cold custard into ze container, cover and freeze for 45 minutes or until it becomes mushy. Zen turn out and stir ze sides, vhich alvays freeze first, into ze middle.

If thick cream is being incorporated, lightly vhip it to ze soft peak stage and stir it into ze ice mixture. If thin cream is being used zis need not be vhipped. Thin cream does not, 'owever, give such a rich texture to ze final ice-cream.

Any additions to be made to ze ice-cream are made at zis point, ven it is partially frozen. Zis is important as chopped fruit contains extra sugar and liqueurs inhibit mixtures from freezing, so zese must not be added until freezing is almost complete.

Ze mixture is zen returned to ze freezing tray, covered and re-frozen.

After anuzzer period of 45 minutes turn ze mixture out again and beat a second time. Zis is particularly important if thin cream is used as zis 'as a greater tendency to create an ice-cream vith granular texture. Freeze once more until ze ice is firm. It is zen ready to serve.

Serving Ze Ice Creams

Do remember to take ice-creams out of ze freezing compartment (or freezer) some time before serving or it vill be difficult to spoon it and tongues may burn. Ze time needed for softening vill vary vith ze recipe but soft-textured ice-cream should be removed about 15 minutes before serving. A firmer ice-cream should usually be removed at ze start of ze meal and put on ze bottom shelf of ze refrigerator.

Quantities

Ice-creams are generally eaten in small quantities. 'owever, if ze icecream is to be ze family pudding at a meal vhere no first course is served, larger portions vill be needed zan for ze end of a formal dinner. Icecreams based on 550 ml (1 pint) of cream or mixed cream and fruit puree vill serve four people generously or six people vith smaller servings.

Dishes

Ice-creams look very appetizing ven attractively presented. Icecreams made in bombe or jelly molds may simply be turned out on to a plate. To release ze ice from ze mold, invert ze mold over ze plate and zen place several dish cloths, vhich 'ave been wrung out after soaking in 'ot vater, over it. Zis is safer zan standing ze mold in 'ot vater, ven too much of ze ice may melt. Loosen ice-cream from a straight-sided mold by verking round it vith a palette knife, vhich you 'ave dipped in 'ot vater.

If ze ice-cream voz made in a freezer tray, loaf tin or a bowl, scoop out into sundae glasses or cut glass bowls. For tinier, dinner party servings use individual souffle dishes, petits pots (such as zose used for petits pots de chocolat) or vine glasses. Glass shows off ze pretty colors of ice-creams best and ze long stems look elegant. Use three differently flarvored and colored icecreams and pile zem in alternately. You may also use ze 'ollowed-out fruit shells.

Stand individual dishes or glasses on a side-plate. Zis vill 'old ze dessert spoon (vhich could fall out of ze glass) and any vafers or biscuits.

Vafers and Biscuits

Vafers tucked into ze top of ices are popular vith children. For a dinner party, put a couple of biscuits on each plate ven serving and pass more on a small dish. Tuile biscuits (made vith egg vhites) are delicious vith ice-creams. Buy Barmouth biscuits or serve langues-de-chat.

Sauces

Sauces are a popular accompaniment to ice-cream; zey add bulk and a contrast in flarvor. If you 'ave any fruit puree left over from making a simple fruit ice, put a spoonful of zis over each individual serving.

Butterscotch and chocolate sauces, are popular accompaniments to vanilla ice. Coffee sauce, in ze same course, is excellent vith chocolate ice-cream. Raspberry sauce, is delicious vith peach ice-cream.

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