Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ice Cream!

So I went to Williams-Sonoma Sunday and picked up an ice cream maker, which is a Christmas gift from my parents. I was planning on making my first batch of ice cream yesterday, but I had my book discussion group and then my neighbor was making dinner and invited Wendy and I to join him and his friends which is obviously not the sort of thing one turns down. Or at least I never turn down someone making me food. I have my priorities in place, thank you very much.

Anyway, when I got home from work today I set about making vanilla ice cream. Now I love ice cream, but I don't entirely like knowing what goes into it. I'm using the Williams-Sonoma cookbook and most of the recipes use whole milk, heavy cream, and lots of egg yolks. Meanwhile, it's been years since I even bought anything other than 1%. So forget the heavy cream, the whole milk feels bizarrely thick to me. But whatever. I was going to follow the recipe precisely.

I mean, I have to say, heavy cream, before it's been turned into something delicious kind of grosses me out. Just look at it...so thick and lumpy.

Almost precisely that is. Of course the recipe calls for you to use an actual vanilla bean, and being the good little soldier I am I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from work because that was the only place I could think of to buy one. And then I saw that they were $5.50 apiece. So I left the vanilla bean at the grocery store and added 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead. I think Pyramus was being a bit judgey, but that could just be his feed-me-bitch face.

Anyway, I scalded my milk, cream, vanilla combo; separated 6 egg yolks, threw in some sugar and the rest of the cream; and then cooked it all up. Only after creating my custard or whatever it is did I remember that I don't own a fine strainer. So I just poured it through a regular strainer. Hopefully that's cool.

I also never have enough ice cubes to partially fill a bowl, so I went with ice packs instead. Needless to say, I could not have my own cooking show. Can you imagine? Cats on the counter, ice packs that I've used for injuries all over the food...someone would probably call health services on me.

After that I just waited for the appropriate time to dump it in the ice cream maker and let it do it's magic.

It's supposed to at least 3 hours in the freezer before we eat it according to the cookbook. But of course I couldn't just put it in the freezer without tasting it. I don't have that kind of self control. My initial thoughts though are a) it's pretty tasty and has a very rich, sweet flavor b) while it did come out quite smooth I can probably get an even smoother texture if I go buy a fine strainer c) I wanted to try this particularly because so many of the recipes in the book look fabulous and are custard-based, but I actually prefer Philadelphia-style vanilla so I might try making that next time I'm in the mood for vanilla ice cream.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with all the whole milk in my fridge. I'm certainly not drinking it.


Pookie said...

Oooh, that looks awesome, Meg! Cooking's supposed to be about improvising, right? :)

A friend of mine once made burnt orange chocolate ice cream. I should see if I could get the recipe from her since it was out of this world awesome.

Meg said...

That sounds fantastic, Pookie. I've never heard of it but I can just imagine it being delicious!