We all know by know (i hope so) that one of my biggest love in life is the icecream… Thanks to Due South and Samuel – that long looong time ago they shared all their little naughty secrets about icecream making…. which i keep using of course. Let me share this secret with u and i bet: at the end of this post u are gonna look totally different on a menu which offers on the bottom… ‘homemade icecream’. And u gonna scream!
First of all… if u want to know the official story u can read a lot at Wikipedia. Here i would like to talk about my experiences.
Second of all… what u call an icecream? Basically everything sweet what served frozen no? Well… just lets think a bit.
However u can really make frozen ‘lickable’ dessert of anything… but lets stay in the real world for now.
We can separate 2 main groups of icecreams, one is alive mainly in USA, the base of this one is a “kindof” frozen sweet cream (using strach or gelatine based custard). The other way called “traditional” belongs to Europe, coming from French and/or Italy with the idea of an eggy custard. Well, i was always working with this type making a beautifully cooked cream.
Very-very easy… not really. The idea is super simple- but the truth is that not everyone can cook a perfect custard. For me it took like a year. And still now i have a bit of worry about making big quantities (20 liter or so…).
The recipe is simple. Couple of ingredients: cream, milk, sugar and egg yolk. This is the very base. Usually half/half liquid ratio, what u warm up – meanwhile u whisk your yolks crazy with the sugar – here u take off the cream from the heat, after add slowly slowly to your sweetegg stirring continuously. Now back to the really slow heat to cook it out. Dont stop to stir, its ready when thick enough to cover your spoon. Better if u place your ready custard in an ice-bath just not to let it cook more further (can not go up to 80 degrees or u gonna have yummy sweet scrumbled eggs for breakfast). Voilá. After the cooling proccess can come the machine and churn till its ready.
Usually better if u add some help to prevent the total freezing, i do like to use alcohol (like always everywhere :))))), depending – one shot of vodka do good with 1liter, if u have other type of flavoured liquor – couple of shots and u can create a special flavour as well (Kahlua for coffee, triple sec for orange, Amaretto for almond etc etc etc…) little help do big. Other way is using liquid glucose to prevent having far too big ice crystals. Use a bit as sugar, has got sweet taste, low freezing point and the advantage of anti-crystallinity. Even if the name sounds strange – its widely used in food industry (“grape sugar”).
My always working icecream-base recipe:
- 600ml double cream
- 600ml milk
- 12 yolks
- 200g sugar
- 150g glucose
- 1 shot
If i start to talk about the different flavourings at this point… i never finish this post and u can never go to buy a little icecream machine online. But a few words nessecery even if i can imagine how good is your imagination flavour-wise.
The custard mix we just made here is a base – already beautiful with a single pod u reach a vanilla icecream. Fancy chocolate? Just melt some pieces inside when your custard still warm – dark, milk or white – all types are working. Extra love? Melt some in, let it cool down and stir more choc-chip in – double heaven. Or cookies, biscuits, sponges… after breaking them down a good mix and done.
Basic rule of flavouring: decide if u want to change the whole thing or just “find some surprises” – see what i mean: having your warm custard and mixing some starwberry jam in it = u will ended up with a tub of consistent strawberry icecream. But if u churn first and stir your jam in when u already have a frozen icecream = u gonna get a strawberry-ripple vanilla icecream. That is the magic. The other little secret is: be careful with the sweetness! To make the basic part u already use enough sugar (u need a minimum amount to start the proccess with the yolk). Can play a bit with brown sugar or some maple syrup. Only thing is, that for example to get a honey icecream – u need to make the base with it (to add the honey after making the already sugared base would produce deadly sweet stuff). Or using kind of sugarsyrups (for cocktails, like banana, coconut or mint) – count with it when u add the sugar add the beggining. Otherwise… see how easy.
If u want to add a complicated flavour from solid thing – have a bit more job. BUT DONT DO WHAT U THINKING… Dont blend the whole thing together and churn = can work but u can ended up with a totally hard result changing the consistency/texture. There is a solution. Lets make sesame seed icecream. The very easy way if u have pure sesame flavoring and just add in your base. Little longer proccess when u are using seeds and think ahead. At the beggining warm your cream with the sesame in low heat for a while (better if u can leave your pan overnight in the fridge to let all the flavours melting together). After can blend and break the seeds together with your cream BUT NEED TO STRAIN before using as a part of your custard. If u like fun : add a handful of seeds at the end, looks great and gives texture. This is what u can do basically with everything, nuts, seeds, cakes, flakes, bread… have fun and make homemade icecream!
OK, i think its enough flavouring for now. Let me show you the sad reality. AND WE SCREAM.
U know the main ingredients: not the cheapest afternoon hobby for sure. With my recipe u can make around 2 liters. I was counting the products in England (thanks Marty!!!) and in Spain just for a little interesting comparison. In the United Kingdom u need 8.68 pounds to make this base (without vanilla pod!!!), here in Mallorca the cost dancing around 7 euro. This is one thing. And how much is a tub of icecream in the shop???
Well – here, the local franchise supermarket chain sells more or less local products (if not mallorquin its gonna be spanish anyway) and the cheapest icecream in a 1 liter tub costs 1.25 euro (vanilla). For the most expensive u need to pay 3.20 euro (accidentally this popcorn&caramel is this one). The “good quality guaranteed” very very local (next town) one reaches the 2.25 euro. Well well well…
(footnote: i was checking absolutely ordinary icecreams – which taste exactly the same like the big brand’s products with a massive price difference – probably u just not gonna find little crunchy goldenfish or cheesecake filled chocolate hearts inside of your cheap tub… heheheheh :))). U can find Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s as well with an absolutely (f8cking high, but) acceptable price – like around 7-8 euro half liter)…
Let me show u something…
So u really dont need to know a single word in spanish to see the ingredients in a simple cheap tub of icecream. Lets see… some kind of weird milk, sugar, water… butter, lactose, milk protein.. glucose and fructose syrup, monoglicerid, diglyceride, 3 different types of gum (Locust bean gum E410, Guar gum E412, Carrageenan E407) and aromas. Do u want me to translate the rest? – its a popcorn&caramel flavour by the way. So the caramel part contains glucose syrup, condense milk, water, sugar, caramel syrup, cocoa butter, starch, salt, pectin and aromas. White chocolate part (???? where is the popcorn part????) made of sugar, cacao butter, milk powder, whey powder, different flours, starch, soy lecithin, sodium bicarbonate, vanilla aroma, salt and vega fats (coco, palm oil). Thats it. Can u see the difference now?
Lets face the fact… its pretty sad. This is the only way to sell sh8t – ( beg your pardon) sh8t cheap. Sorry but i would never call these things ‘icecream’. Oh, let me share a little funny story what just came in my mind now… When i was visiting my friends in Brighton 2 months ago i was renting a seafront flat from my lovely girl, Zsuzsika and his boyfriend. Cut the story short, i was there with Marty and her partner Robi. First night together wanted to cook some simple food. Was shopping in a big supermarket and put a not cheap tub of icecream (“famous brand”) in the basket. I realized just at home, that they dont have freezer in the flat. HEHEHEHEHEHE! Whatever, i put in the fridge. After dinner we had a couple of spoonful, was still ok. Next day i took out in the morning thinking to put a couple of spoons in my coffee… pretty weird. Same texture (so f8cking airy like a cloud) but on the bottom separated. Liquid. All the flavour was swimming away. Trying to figure it out what chemicals they had been using to keep this foam alive – im not joking, even after 4 days -OUT OF THE FREEZER!!!- the top of the ‘white’ looked exactly the same when i bought from the shop. Really really questionable… ???