Ice-cream! Ice-cream! I scream for ice-cream. Frozen, sweet and deliciously slurpy, ice-cream is a summer pleasure.
It is especially good if it is the homemade variety such as Ed’s Scoop on Queen at Beech or the Sicilian ice-cream sold at Vincenzo’s, Westlake and the Danforth just west of Main Street. The premium quality of President’s Choice is pretty tasty too but homemade ice-cream is the ultimate summer experience. Guess what? You don’t need an ice-cream machine to make it.
Now is the time to experiment with fruit flavoured ice-creams with all the available summer berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb – (not a berry, but it freezes like a dream). All are easy to freeze and produce a great product. What’s more, their summer flavour is especially prized in the winter months for crisps, preserves (yes, winter preserves – see August’s issue) and of course, ice-cream!
Basic Homemade Ice-cream
Ice-cream is a frozen custard – dense, rich and yummy. It is a treat. The custard is made with egg yolks, cream and sugar that is cooked over gentle heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The custard is poured into a mixing bowl, then set over a larger bowl filled with ice for quick cooling. Once cooled, whipping cream is stirred into the mixture and it is frozen to the ice-cream stage. For a creamier textured ice-cream, whip the cream to the peak stage and fold into the cooled custard. For a denser ice-cream simply stir the whipping cream into the cooled custard.
1 cup (250 mL) 10% cream
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp / 5 mL pure vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup (75 ml) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat cream with vanilla bean. Cook gently for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean from milk; slice the vanilla bean lengthwise with sharp knife and scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod and return to the custard.
(You can now rinse, dry and re-use the vanilla pod in granulated sugar to flavour the sugar).
Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in colour. Gradually whisk hot cream into egg yolk mixture. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat whisking frequently until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon about 5 minutes. It should look like thick cream.
Remove custard from heat. Stir in vanilla if not using vanilla bean.
(You add vanilla extract at this point because if added earlier, it evaporates which does not happen with the bean.)
Stir in whipping cream or fold in whipped cream (see note above) until well combined. Cool custard and refrigerate until well chilled. Pour custard into shallow pan and freeze in the coldest part of freezer until firm enough to scoop, usually takes about 3 – 4 hours.
If you do have an ice-cream maker, proceed according to manufacturer’s instructions.
To serve, if ice-cream seems very hard, remove to refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving to soften slightly. For best texture use within 2 days. Makes 2 cups (500 mL).
Freezing Berries and Rhubarb
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb freeze well and very easily. Here’s how:
• Gently wash berries and rhubarb; pat dry with tea towels.
• Arrange fruit in single layer on parchment lined baking sheet.
• Freeze until hard. This will take about 2 – 4 hours depending on freezer and quantity of fruit being frozen.
• Pack fruit in freezer bags in usable amounts such as 2 cup (500 mL) or 4 cup (1 L) portions.
• Use a straw to suck out as much air as possible from bag and keep frozen in a single layer in the coldest part of the freezer. Fruit can be kept frozen for up to 1 year.
Berry or Rhubarb Sauce to add to Ice-cream for Fruit Flavoured Ice-cream
For making fruit flavoured ice-cream, take
2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen berries
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
Add berries and sugar to stainless steel saucepan and cook over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and berries have melted and are bubbly about 8 – 10 minutes. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Cool in a mixing bowl over a bowl of ice until well chilled and fold into basic ice-cream recipe before it is frozen. Freeze as described above.