Over the years, after many a dinner party, BBQ’s, and warm weather gatherings, the part of the meal that stands out as the biggest crowd pleaser, garnering the most “seconds, please” is my homemade ice cream. Like most of us (I hope) Ice cream has been part of my palette since a very young age. From weekly trips to Friendly’s and Four Seas in Cape Cod, I grew up on the creamy concoction. But it wasn’t until Culinary School that I truly became obsessed with high quality, deliciously unique flavors that could easily be made at home. Sitting in the back of the pastry kitchen at L’Ecole Restaurant, my favorite culinary school partner and I would think of flavor combinations, ridiculous names, and random weird ideas for ice cream shops as we churned out what was needed for the next day’s dessert menu. It was, by far, one of my favorite little pieces of cooking time that year. After school, I would come home and think of ways to bring ice cream into my own party menus and family gatherings. Let’s just say, no one complained when I ordered 300 pint containers from amazon.
Making something like ice cream can seem daunting. There are tons of varying approaches and techniques across the Google machine, seemingly all kinds of special equipment needed, and that annoying freezer time that doesn’t allow you to indulge right after you’ve put in all the work.
I’m here to give you this fail-proof way to ice cream-y perfection – with less than 30 minutes of active time in the kitchen. I am telling you, try it a couple of times and you will be hooked.
The Ultimate Ice Cream Base
I use a creme anglaise base (French version that uses eggs and milk). After perfecting this, you can make any flavor combination out there. I’ve rounded up my favorites for you to try for your next summertime soiree.
What You’ll Need:
- 6 organic egg yolks (reserve egg whites for breakfast tomorrow)
- 1 ½ cups of organic heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups organic whole milk
- 1 tsp. high quality vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- ¾ cup organic cane sugar
How to Make Creme Anglaise:
- Before you begin or the day before you plan to make the ice cream, place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer to make sure it’s extra cold when churning.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until it has become a pale yellow color.
- Pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs, continuing to whisk as you pour in the milk. Then add a little bit more, continuing to whisk. Do this about 3 times and then pour the rest of the milk mixture into the bowl, whisking quickly to ensure the yolks are not cooked (this is called tempering – chef’s lingo!)
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook on low-medium heat, slowly stirring with a wooden spoon the entire time, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan all the while. (This is done so the egg does not cook into solid pieces on the bottom of the pan.)
- After about 10 minutes, as the mixture begins to thicken, take the spoon out and run your finger on the back of it. Does it leave a thick solid line through the mixture? If so, it means it’s cooked into a custard and you’re done! Voila, Crème Anglaise! (Be patient, sometimes it can take 12-15 minutes – keep stirring until you get that thick line on your spoon)
- Pour into a bowl and cool down completely in the freezer or over an ice bath. This is your base! Now you can add in any other flavors, like chocolate, strawberry, caramel, etc.
- Once cooled down, pour the mixture into your cold ice cream maker. Churn according to the product instructions until it forms a thickened, frozen yogurt looking mixture. You can now add in any additional ingredients for a brunch or more flavor, like crushed up chocolate graham crackers or toffee. Pour the ice cream into a glass container or an ice cream pint container. Cover and freeze for 6 hrs.
Now Fancy It Up With My Favorite Flavors
For more dessert and ice cream ideas, check out The Recipes