Sunday, July 13, 2008
Ice Cream Intuition
With baking, I have made certain things long enough where I really have bake by "feel" in addition to following a recipe. I know the texture things should be before I move on to the next step. My goal by the end of the summer is to develop the same skill with ice cream. Believe me when I tell you it has not happened yet.
The first day that I made ice cream, I had selected pear-caramel ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. I had well-chilled the bowl, and had all the ingredients. Unfortunately, the pears had not ripened. I combed through the book, and didn't have everything for chocolate or coffee, but kept seeing this recipe for basil ice cream!
I happened to have a counter full of basil I had trimmed from my huge plant, needing a destination. Despite the fact that everyone at my house that day seemed to think basil ice cream was a strange idea, I plowed full speed ahead and made it anyway. My new fridge is a Samsung with a quick-chill drawer in it, so after cooling the mixture in an ice bath, I stuck it in that drawer to get chilly quickly. It seemed to work; by the time I poured the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker bin, the mixture had started to thicken.
The end result was a lovely, smooth ice cream the texture of soft-serve, although it melted very quickly. I could have put it in the freezer and waited to serve it until it had hardened, but the process is a long one, and we were all ready. Basil ice cream is incredibly summery - not too sweet, very fresh, and if you can manage not to think of pesto cream sauce while you are eating it, it is pretty incredible. I would not hesitate to make it again!
After one success, I thought it would be easy to make something else. When the pears finally ripened, i started off to make pear-caramel ice cream. I'm not sure why, if the recipe just didn't have the same binding agents (no egg yolks in that one) or if I was just simply impatient with the mixture, but after 30 minutes churning around in the machine it never set up at all. If I had been less frustrated, I could have dumped the mixture back into the fridge overnight, but it went down the garbage disposal.
Chocolate ice cream was to be my next feat. However I did not just want plain chocolate ice cream, and I knew I could supposedly add ingredients the last 5 minutes of churning. For some reason, making chocolate Hob Nobs ice cream entered my head and just would not leave. When I realized our friend Brian, who recently moved to London, had a birthday coming up, I decided to make Chocolate Hob Nobs ice cream in his honor.
Hob Nobs were one of the things I lived on when I was traveling in the UK, because they are these amazing oaty nobbly cookies with chocolate coating that come in a can, and are easy to stick in a backpack. I came across them at Whole Foods Market and snagged the last two cans!
The first time I tried it, the mixture smelled amazing but didn't set up. I knew I had merely been impatient, because the mixture was thick and coated the spoon just like it was supposed to. I re-chilled it and tried again, and this time it churned up beautifully. I added smashed up Hob Nobs to the churning mixture the last five minutes. We ate a bit of it right out of the ice cream maker, but froze the rest to give it more of a normal ice cream look, which is what you see here. (Happy birthday, Brian!)
Two successful tries down, many more to go. I am also desperate to find a frozen custard recipe, since we miss Ritter's in Indiana. What is your favorite type of ice cream?
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Categories: Basil, Chocolate, Ice Cream
at 8:59 PM