While it is undoubtedly miles easier to buy your ice-cream at the shops, having a go at making your own is not without its merits. The process, though not a walk in the park, is very rewarding, and I firmly believe that things you’ve put together from scratch taste infinitely better than those made in a factory by a load of machines. I’ve had a think and done a bit of research to put together 7 tips for great home-made ice cream: whether you’re using an ice cream maker, or doing things the old fashioned way, these handy hints should make your life a little easier.
1. Chill Your Batter
Before you begin the mixing and freezing process, it’s a good idea to lower the temperature of your ice cream ‘batter.’ Let it rest in the fridge overnight before either pouring it into the ice-cream maker or placing it in the freezer and mixing it every hour; the end result while be smoother and even more delicious.
2. Consider Substituting Milk with Cream
Many recipes ask for a combination of milk and cream, but I’ve found that going with cream alone yields the best results. True, it’s not great for the diet but if you’re eating ice-cream in the first place, the chances are good you’ve fallen off the slimming wagon; why not just indulge today and start trimming up again tomorrow?
3. Don’t Drown Your Yolks
Ice creams that are founded on custard recipes will require that you beat a lot of hot cream (or milk) into your egg yolks. Experts suggest you do this in small quantities rather than pouring on a deluge of dairy; start by whipping your yolks together with just a few table spoons of cream before gradually adding the rest.
4. Add Flavourants Later
Mix any flavourants (vanilla extract, almond essence etc) after the batter has been allowed to chill overnight in the fridge. This will ensure a tastier result.
5. Go Easy on the Alcohol
Remember that alcohol freezes at a very low temperature so if you put too much of it into your ice cream, the chances are good that it won’t be able to solidify. Experts suggest we never use more than about a half cup of whiskey/rum etc: this will be sufficient for taste, and won’t inhibit freezing.
6. The Shape of Things
Don’t be tempted to store your ice cream in a deep, drum container. Instead, opt for a flatter, dish-like pan. This will ensure that your batter freezes evenly and remains smooth and consistent during its storage life.
7. Cover up
Always cover the surface of your ice cream with a sheet of grease-proof paper. This will prevent it from absorbing alien flavours from other items in your freezer. There’s nothing worse that a French vanilla that tastes suspiciously like fish-fingers!
Making your own ice cream well can be a bit of a tricky business; it involves careful preparation of the batter, and, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, requires that you hang around for hours so that you can hand-churn it every so often. However, once you
Top Photo Credit: norhendraruslan