Ice cream

Ice cream

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Ice cream just has to be one of the world’s favourite desserts. While fine commercial ice creams are available, good, home-made ice cream, made from pure cream and eggs and carefully churned, is the richest, best textured and finest ice cream of all.

There are many types of ice cream, from the French vanilla and rich Italian to the economical ones. You can use milk and eggs, or half-milk or full-cream powdered milk. Each has its merit. The custard-based ice creams are rich, creamy and smooth. Those based on whipped evaporated milk are inexpensive to make, and the powdered milk base, also inexpensive, brings ice cream to remote areas where fresh milk or cream is unavailable (see Milk).

The way to achieve a smooth texture in home-made ice cream is to churn it, which prevents ice crystals from forming as the mixture is freezing. You can do this by freezing the mixture in metal ice cream trays and beating the partially frozen cream with a rotary or electric mixer, or by using one of the excellent small electric sorbetières or ice cream makers, complete with paddles, that constantly churn the mixture until it is the right consistency. These small machines make approximately 1 litre of ice cream at a time. Larger ice cream makers are also available; these require salt and crushed ice and may be hand or electrically driven.

To freeze ice cream and ices:

In a freezing compartment: Turn freezing compartment to maximum or coldest setting about 1 hour before the mixture is prepared. Place the prepared mixture in metal ice cream trays and put the trays back into the freezing compartment. Allow the mixture to semi-freeze. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, whisk it thoroughly with a rotary or electric mixer, replace it in the ice cream trays, cover with foil and freeze again for 1–4 hours until frozen hard. Store in freezing compartment at normal setting. If liked, the beating process may be repeated when the ice cream is just firming. The time required to freeze ice cream varies greatly according to the freezing compartment and the mixture used.

In an electric ice cream maker or sorbetière: Turn freezing compartment to maximum or coldest setting about 1 hour before the mixture is prepared. Read instruction booklet that usually accompanies these machines – as a general guide: make the ice cream mixture, pour it into the sorbetière and put it in the freezer, preferably in the coldest part, making sure the sorbetière stands level.

The ice cream (or the water ice if making) is constantly churned by paddles, and when it reaches the right consistency, the paddles lift up automatically. Remove paddles, smooth over surface of ice cream, cover and allow to freeze until hard. Store in freezer compartment at normal setting.

When ice cream is frozen, return freezer control to normal. Home-made ice creams and ices tend to freeze harder than the commercial ones. They will reach the peak of flavour and texture after ripening (mellowing) for 2–6 hours and are best eaten within 48 hours of being made. Allow hard ice cream or ices to soften in the refrigerator for 30–60 minutes before serving.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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