By Patrick Engel[Ed: note: scroll for Chef Dad's homemade ice cream recipe or download a printer friendly pdf.]
Not long ago, I had a strange experience with some "premium" ice cream. "Extra Rich" the packaging read. "Ultra Creamy" it boasted. "Family Classic" it appealed to the dad part of me. Whoa, sign me up!
My first clue that something was wrong was the weight. I would expect 1.65 litres of ice cream to weigh somewhat close to 1.65 kg. This carton of ice cream felt light. But that was fine, ice cream has a certain amount of air in it. I got that. (I've heard there's as much as 50% air for "the cheap stuff," but closer to 10 - 15% air for the "premium" brands.) Still ... this ice cream was really light.
My second clue was the feel of the carton. Kind of squishy. A little too
squishy. No problem, I was at the grocery store. Maybe their open freezer was a little warm. I'd just get the ice cream home and into my freezer right away - that would firm it right up.
The third clue was in my mouth. Taste: mediocre at best. Texture: fatty to the point of feeling oily, like a film was forming on the roof of my mouth, reminiscent of eating a past-its-best-date danish. Temperature: this ice cream wasn't very cold. And it didn't really do much in
my mouth. Kind of went in soft, rolled around soft, and went down soft. Hmm ...
So, I clearly wasn't enjoying this "premium" ice cream experience, but as a cheapskate, I don't like to waste things. I had half a bowl of ice cream remaining so I decided to put it away, but not in the freezer; I find thawed and refrozen ice cream to be less than ideal - it usually gets grainy. Instead, I put the leftovers in the fridge. I figured maybe it would be nicer as a sauce, but also because the aforementioned three clues had led me to a hunch - I wanted to see just what this ice cream would do.
It did nothing. It didn't melt. IT DID NOT MELT! I don't know about you, but I like my ice cream solid when frozen, and liquid when not. Not this stuff. This stuff was some kind of slurry made up of 22 ingredients, not one of which was cream. Water was the FOURTH ingredient. So as a result of this experience, I made my own ice cream recipe - it has five ingredients, the first of which is cream, and you can bet your hat that it's premium.Chef Dad's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
This ice cream has some fat and a bit of sugar, but I must say you will marvel at the rich, smooth texture and the pure, clean flavour. Five ingredients, no preservatives, chemicals or stabilizers. This will go into your mouth cold and melt on your tongue.
You'll need ...
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped) or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Here's what you do ...
1. In a medium-sized pot, combine the cream, milk and a few pinches of sugar, and heat just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer briefly.
2. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, remaining sugar and vanilla bean in a stainless steel bowl, and whisk until pale and frothy.
Very slowly add the simmering milk/cream to the sweet and frothy egg yolks, stirring constantly.
3. Once incorporated, return the mixture to a low heat and cook (again, stirring constantly) until the mixture thickens slightly - enough to "coat the back of a spoon," although as I've mentioned before, I don't really like that descriptor. (See my eggnog recipe
. In fact, the method is almost identical. Check it out. I used up all of my best jokes on that recipe's method!) Cook until thickened slightly, but noticeably.
4. Once the anglaise (by the way, you've just made an anglaise, so I will call it that from this point forward) has thickened, strain through a fine sieve and chill completely in the fridge.
5. Once the anglaise is cooled to fridge temperature, the next step is turning it into ice cream. This can be done in a number of ways. The difficult way is to place the anglaise in a stainless steel bowl inside of another larger stainless steel bowl filled with salted ice, stirring long enough to feel like a pioneer churning butter. The easier and slightly more modern way to turn the anglaise into ice cream is to use an ice cream maker.
6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and voilà - homemade premium vanilla ice cream! Five ingredients. One of which is cream.
You should make it, and let me know how it works. And tastes! My kids loved it.
Cheffer's Inside Scoop
- If you don't have an ice cream maker, this is still an amazing dessert sauce, served warm or cold.
- Most ice cream machines will produce an ice cream the consistency of soft serve. A few hours in the freezer will firm it right up.
- Once you've mastered the basic vanilla ice cream, you can play - the sky is the limit. Add cinnamon and spices, cocoa powder or other flavour extracts.
- Homemade jam is great when swirled into the ice cream fresh from the machine. When it freezes solid, you will have a ripple ice cream. I have made both strawberry and apricot in this method. Have fun!
||Patrick Engel has been cooking professionally for 15 years. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto, and training in the kitchens of Rodney's Oyster House and Bymark Restaurant, Patrick relocated to Niagara's wine region, working at Inn on the Twenty, followed by six years as resident chef instructor at The Good Earth Cooking School. Patrick is currently the chef at Hospice Niagara's Stabler Centre and associate chef at The Garrison House in Niagara-on-the Lake. Patrick lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Marnie, and their two boys, Charlie (7) and Johnny (5).
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