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Get the scoop on ice cream

  • Washington Post
  • Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at 2:28 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at 6:14 a.m.

ADD-INS

Try adding these to your ice cream. Amounts are for 1- to 1 1/2-quart batches.

FRUIT: Start with 3 cups of (stemmed and peeled) chopped ripe fruit. Puree until smooth; if the fruit contains small seeds, pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer or run it through a food mill before adding.

NUTS: Toast the nuts and lightly salt them. Refrigerate until well chilled. Add 1 to 2 cups (to taste) once the ice cream reaches the soft-serve stage, or fold in after the ice cream has finished processing.

CANDIES, CRYSTALLIZED GINGER: Finely chop, then add 1/2 to 3/4 cup at the soft-serve stage.

HERBS, SPICES, VANILLA BEAN SCRAPINGS: Use them whole or in sprigs to infuse the milk or milk substitute. Strain or remove before adding other ingredients. (You don’t need to strain out the vanilla bean scrapings.)

LIQUEURS, EXTRACTS: Add to the cooled custard in 1/2-teaspoon amounts before chilling and processing, tasting as you go.

ICE CREAM BASE WITH EGGS

Makes enough for 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream

Combine 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat just until thoroughly warmed through. Whisk 5 large, room-temperature egg yolks in a mixing bowl until lemony in color and slightly foamy. While whisking, gradually pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks; once incorporated, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, whisking constantly, to form a custard thick enough to coat a spatula. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding any solids. Cover and chill thoroughly before processing in an ice cream maker.

DAIRY-FREE, NO-COOK ICE CREAM BASE

Makes enough for a 3-cup yield

13 1/2 ounces chilled full-fat coconut milk

3/4 cup chilled unsweetened almond or hemp milk

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender; puree for at least 30 seconds or until smooth and thoroughly blended. The base can be used right away (add 1/2 cup fruit puree of your choice) or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

NO-COOK, EGG-FREE ICE CREAM BASE

Makes 1/2 gallon (enough for about 3 quarts of ice cream)

Pour 3 1/2 cups whole milk into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups full-fat sweetened condensed milk, then 1/2 cup sugar, stirring until the latter has completely dissolved. Stir in 2 2/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla extract; refrigerate to 40 degrees before processing in an ice cream maker.

SORBET

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts

Pour 3 cups chilled juice or a juice/water blend into a container. Submerge a whole, uncracked egg in the liquid. As you stir in 2 cups of chilled simple syrup and the mixture becomes saturated with sugar, the egg will bob to the surface. Remove the egg. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liqueur (to taste) and transfer to the ice cream machine; proceed with the manufacturer’s directions.

If you’re an ice cream novice, if you’re in need of a refresher course or if you like to freestyle in the recipe department, this might be the help you’ve been waiting for: base recipes, current standards for various frozen desserts and tips for serving and storing. You may never dip into a store-bought container again.

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