Sunday, September 12, 2010

ice cream!

So I got the most awesome get well soon present after I broke my jaw. It was an ice cream machine, thoughtfully sent to me by Nathan's family. They knew that I was incredibly impressed by Tenli's homemade blackberry swirl ice cream, and they knew my post injury diet consisted of almost entirely milk shakes. Basically, this gift was the perfect fit— a big thank you to Tenli, Marie, Raisa and Weston!

my ice cream maker churning away on its first batch

They also thoughtfully included a copy of David Lebovitz's exhaustive ice cream cookbook, One Perfect Scoop. It has tons of amazing recipes for ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbets and granitas, as well as delightful things to mix in or sprinkle on top of your cold confections. I of course read the whole book cover to cover and was able to learn quite a bit about frozen, churned desserts.

One thing that you may not already know is that many types of ice cream are made from a custard base. This is generally made by carefully cooking egg yolks with cream and sugar until the mixture thickens. I say carefully because egg yolks cooked over direct heat have a very strong tendency to scramble and harden, which doesn't make a very good ice cream base at all. If this sounds intimidating, you are not alone, which is why I chose an ice cream that did NOT have a custard base for my very first batch.

easy ice cream

To be specific, I made a Philadelphia style vanilla, and to be fair, I have always preferred that to French vanilla ice cream. Some thing about the crisp visual contrast between the white ice cream and the dark speckles of vanilla bean is way more appealing to me than the rich, eggy yellowness of French vanilla. I like both, but Philadelphia vanilla has long been my favorite of all ice cream flavors. It certainly didn't hurt that it was the easiest of all David's recipes, but there's a good chance that I would have gone with a classic vanilla as my first flavor regardless. I love it that much.

How easy is the recipe? Here, I'll give it to you.

Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style
(from David Lebovitz's One Perfect Scoop, published 2007)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
¾ tsp vanilla extract

Pour one cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining cup of cream, the cup of milk and the vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Philly vanilla with fresh whipped cream

Beautiful, easy and delicious. Wow. Tasted exactly like every other Philadelphia style vanilla I've ever had, which is to say AWESOME. I had some extra heavy cream, so I quickly made some whipped cream with my electric mixer. A classy, classic, all white combo.

This was actually the second thing I was able to eat after my wires were snipped and I went on the soft food diet. (Nathan made me some Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs for lunch, but then I went home and made this.) Let me tell you, it quite hit the spot.

I know that an ice cream machine is a bit of an investment, both monetarily, and in terms of much coveted kitchen space, but I'm really enjoying mine. Being able to churn my own ice cream has opened a whole new world of culinary possibilities, I'd encourage you to get one yourself if this is something you'd like to do at home. Big thanks again to Tenli and Marie for the super amazing gift!


  1. I'm jealous! I am dying for an ice cream machine. Now that summer is wrapping up, I may have to wait for next year. Nice blog!

  2. oh man ice cream makers ARE THE BEST. so glad you're enjoying yours. if/when you get into custard style ice creams I need to give you some of the recipes out of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc, they use over a half dozen egg yolks (!!!) and make some of the most ridiculously rich/delicious ice creams I've ever had. Definitely not everyday kind of stuff, but pretty great when you can spare the eggs!

    also, so glad to hear your jaw is healing!

  3. Sorry about the delayed comment response– I got some spam so I decided to moderate my comments, but I guess I don't get email notifications until after I approve them. Weird. Anyway.

    tenli - I love this new toy and there are more ice cream confections to come!

    jacqueline - it's never too cold for ice cream. just serve it with hot apple pie and it becomes perfectly seasonal! thanks for reading. I'm flattered because your blog is great.

    megan - I'll definitely hit you up for those keller recipes. As much as I like the Philly vanilla, one of my formative ice cream experiences is definitely you and I at the sweet shop, french vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. cow harbor day is sunday, so if I go home I will definitely be making an ice cream pilgrimage there. I've made a couple of custard style ice creams since my first attempt, and I have to admit that my eggs kept curdling. :( I fixed it with the immersion blender but think I need an instant read thermometer or something. Also, jaw is feeling almost normal by now. I had corn on the cob with dinner, which felt great!