We broke out the ice cream maker for the first time this season. If you don’t have an electric ice cream maker, you should run to Williams Sonoma right now and get one. Ice cream made at home is infinitely better than most grocery store brands, and while I wouldn’t call it health food, at least you know what goes in.
This is one I have, which I love.
Be forewarned that in most cases, you can not pull together a batch of ice cream in an afternoon. There are usually a few steps, so you have to think ahead. During the summer, I keep my insert in the freezer so it’s always ready, otherwise it takes a day or two to freeze thoroughly.
Another piece of advice: BY FAR the cheapest place to find heavy cream is Sam’s. It’s $3.10 for a quart. That’s about half of the price at my local grocery. And it’s a national, not store or generic, brand. Pick up several. The expiration dates are usually pretty far off.
And while you’re there, you might also want to grab the super-pack of eggs because you’ll need a bunch of those, too.
Since everyone I know is in Italy this summer (really just two friends, but still, not me), I was in the mood for my favorite flavor of gelato- Stracciatella.
The Mississippi ain’t the Arno, but you work with what ya’ got.
Stracciatella Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop)
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
4 oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bar
- Warm the milk, sugar, one cup of the cream and salt in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the warm milk, then add the bean as well. Cover, remove from heat and let steep at least 30 minutes.
- Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture, less the vanilla bean, into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour back into the saucepan. (Do not freak out if some of the eggs curdle. Obviously, you don’t want scrambled eggs, but a little bit is fine and will be strained out.)
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.
- Pour the custard through the strainer into the reserved cream. Add the vanilla extract and refrigerate or cool over an ice bath. This needs to be really cold before going into the machine or it won’t harden all the way.
- Freeze the mixture in your ice cream machine until it starts to pull away from the sides.
- This is where it gets fun…Melt the chocolate bar in the microwave in small increments, stirring between, until just smooth. Pull the insert out of the machine and using a rubber spatula, drizzle the chocolate over the ice cream by waving it back and forth. Remember splatter-painting T-shirts in the 80s? Same thing. Except thinner is better. Like this.. The chocolate will harden when it hits the ice cream. Use your spatula to fold in the chocolate ribbons, which will break into delicious threads as you do. Repeat until you’ve used the chocolate.
- Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container. Seal and freeze until hard.