Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Who cares if ice cream was invented by the Emperor Nero of Rome or whether Marco Polo brought the idea of "water ices" with him from Asia? The important thing is that we have access to hundreds of different, colors, flavors and textures of frozen desserts. Flavors range from chocolate to tea or ginger or cookie dough or licorice or fruit to anything else you can possibly think of.
And textures range from small particles of ice called granite to heavy, dense and creamy true iced cream so smooth you think your tongue has been wrapped in icy silk. Good and expensive as the store-bought ice creams, sherbets (little fat), sorbets (frozen fruit juices) and granite (flavored water) may be, nothing beats the ice cream you make it home.
The only dessert that was ever served for Christmas dinner at my Grandmother's house was misnamed "pineapple sherbet." It was honest-to-goodness ice cream made from "farm cream" so high in butterfat that it had to be spooned out of the jar and thinned with milk. To be certain that the "sherbet," was perfect uncle Bill would sit down in the cool basement turning the crank until it was so heavy that the dasher wouldn't turn any longer. The sherbet was then left to "ripen" during dinner.
When no one could eat another bite of turkey, the table had been cleared and the gifts had been opened, the ice cream was deemed to be ripe and it was time for the opening of the ice cream maker. All of us who had been relegated to the "kids table" then stormed the cellar with Uncle Bill who would ceremoniously line us up by age and then pour the salty ice water and some of the ice into the floor drain so that no water would find its way into the tub. Much too slowly to satisfy his audience, he would lift-off the locked-on turning mechanism and hand crank.
Even removing the heavy aluminum top of the canister was hard work. Pulling the dasher up through the frozen ice cream was not a task for a 90 pound weakling and even our uncle, who was over six feet two inches (reaaallly tall in those days), couldn't get that dasher out fast enough for us.
Uncle Bill kept us in line both figuratively and literally. When the dasher had been worked to the top and given a preliminary scraping, it was passed for the clean-up work from the smallest kid on up to the biggest contender. We all had our spoons in hand and scraped away too busy to argue about who was getting the most. There were no licks left when the dasher had run the gauntlet and found its haven in the laundry tub. Somehow the taste of the ice cream in one of Grandma's pretty dishes never quite measured up to the ice cream found on the dasher.
The new ice cream makers come in almost as many flavors as ice cream and I must admit that some of the frozen desserts they create are almost as good as my Uncle Bill's "sherbet." And, with the new automatic-everything machines you don't have to sit all alone in a cold basement and crank until your arm falls off. The new machines do all of the work except making the magic mixtures that turn into frozen desserts.
THE VERY BEST VANILLA ICE CREAM
To use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, slit pod open lengthwise and scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to the cream mixture and heat. Remove pod from cold custard, rinse, let dry, and save for other uses.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Combine sugar and cream in saucepan until bubbles form at pan edge (scalding), 5 to 8 minutes. Whisk eggs in small bowl and then whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into eggs. Return egg mixture to pan and stir over medium low with a spatula, scraping pan bottom and sides thoroughly until custard thickly coats a metal spoon (about 190°F), 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Place pan in ice water and stir custard often until mixture is cold. Pour the cold custard through a fine strainer into ice cream maker with 1 quart or more capacity. Discard residue. Freeze until mixture is firm enough to scoop, dasher is hard to turn, or machine stops. Makes 1 quart.
BERRY ICE CREAM
Follow directions for Very Best Vanilla Ice Cream reducing half-and-half to 2 cups. Add the following berry mixture to cold custard in ice cream maker and freeze. Blueberries or other local berries can be used or any one type of berry can be substituted for all three.
1 cup raspberries
In blender or processor, whirl raspberries and blackberries until smoothly pureed. Rub the puree through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard seeds. Mix strawberries with sugar and then combine with puree.
HOMEMADE PEACH ICE CREAM
Pureed peaches flavor and color this smooth ice cream. You could also make it with nectarines. As you know, adding hot milk to eggs will destroy any salmonella.
3 large eggs
Beat eggs to blend. In a pan, whisk flour, 1 cup of the sugar and milk until smooth. Stir often over medium-high heat until boiling, about 8 minutes. Whisk about 1/2 cup of mixture into eggs and then rapidly whisk hot sauce into eggs. In blender or food processor, smoothly puree peaches with lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir into cooked mixture and chill, covered, until cold, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in cream and vanilla. Freeze according to freezer directions. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.
AS THE BRITISH WOULD SAY, ICE CREAM IS DASHEDLY GOOD!