Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boo's Vanilla Ice Cream Making Adventure

Shop Name: Boo's Home

Location: Greenland Drive

Boo's Rating: 2 1/2 screams

In honor of National Ice Cream Month (July), I decided to try to make my own homemade ice cream. I did a little bit of research and discovered that nearly every ice cream recipe ends with the words, "Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer directions." Hmmmm... I don't have an ice cream machine, and I don't think I want to invest in one, so what to do? I looked into other methods and found they're all pretty much the same concept. The "ball" method, the coffee can method, the double-ziploc bag method, etc. I didn't really want to use any of those methods because they all involve ice mixed with rock salt around the ice cream mixture, but they all said it created a soft-serve consistency. I wanted real hand-dipped consistency. One website I found said that you can actually pour the ice cream mixture into a shallow dish or tupperware and stir it with a hand mixer or spatula every half hour to 45 minutes. Bingo! Now that I'd found the least expensive method (no machines or rock salt to track down and purchase), I set about finding a good recipe. I didn't find one that really worked for me, so I pretty much used one as a guide and then altered it a bit. After that, it was off to the freezer for my ice cream. Unfortunately, after only 3 hours of chilling my ice cream in the freezer, it was not yet at the right consistency and I had to go to work! NOOOOO!!! I think if I had spent a couple more hours babysitting it, the consistency would have been better. I'll have to try it again on a day where I have more free time. I think the flavor of my ice cream was spot-on. It's got a really strong vanilla flavor. The consistency, however, is not so fabulous. If I were to be served ice cream at a local shop that was the consistency of mine, then that shop would probably only get 2 1/2 screams at the most. I'd like to say that my fabulous flavor would be enough to boost the score up a bit, but I'd be lying. I'm a harsh critic and I can't get all soft just because of my ego. So.... 2 1/2 screams for me. Sad, I know. I'm currently letting my ice cream warm up and soften a bit and I'm going to try to whip it up some more with a hand mixer to try to get rid of some of the ice crystals. Even if I don't, it's still a respectable first attempt at making homemade ice cream and it's definitely edible. Not only is it edible, it's pretty delicious.

In case you care, here is the recipe I used to make my homemade ice cream:

4 c. half & half
2 c. heavy cream
15 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 vanilla bean

In a saucepan, combine cream with half & half. Score the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add both seeds and pod to the cream mixture. Slowly heat to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL!!! While the cream mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a mixer and combine. After heating the cream mixture, remove the vanilla bean, then temper the eggs by slowly adding about half the cream mixture. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream and heat until the mixture thickens (about 170 degrees). Run your finger down the back of the spoon and if it leaves a clear path, the custard is ready. Cool the custard and then pour into a 9x13 baking dish, or similar sized plastic container. Every 30-45 minutes stir the custard with a hand mixer or spatula until it reaches the right consistency. Yum!!!

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