I don’t remember having ice cream very often when I was very little, & when we did, it was the home-made variety. Mum used to make an ice cream based on condensed milk (must look the recipe up some time) & froze it in the metal ice-cube tray in the dinky little freezer that was part of the fridge. (When my parents first married, the little house at Tutira didn’t have any power: lighting was by kerosene lamp, cooking on the wetback stove in the kitchen, & meat would have been kept in the meat safe. So that fridge would have been a real boon, & a luxury.)
These days, of course, you can buy a multitude of different ice creams, but it’s still rather fun to make your own occasionally. Which is what I decided to do today, partly to help dispose of a slight oversupply of strawberries from the garden. I used to make ice cream quite a bit, when we were flatting, and while I was fairly sure I’d used a recipe from the Edmonds book, when I checked that mighty reference tome today the recipe looked nothing like the one I remembered – there was no custard base. So (“as usual,” sighed the daughter), I modified it.
Oh, all right, I made things up as I went along. I’d already sliced the strawberries & they were macerating with some icing sugar & a good slosh of Grand Marnier. This is what went into the actual ice cream part:
- First, put 2 c milk into a large saucepan & set it on the stove to heat. You don’t want to boil it! Just get it up to around blood heat. (Otherwise the egg yolks will basically ‘scramble’ when you add them!)
- While this was happening, separate 4 eggs. Put the whites in one bowl – you’ll need them later. Beat the yolks together with 1 tsp vanilla essence & 1/4 c sugar (the Edmonds recipe said caster sugar but I never seem to have any) until they’re thick, pale, & glossy.
- Whisk a little of the warm milk into the egg yolks & then pour this into the saucepan in a thin stream, whisking as you go. Then return the pan to the stove & cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until the custard thickens slightly. Now put it aside to cool.
- In a clean bowl (if you use the yolky one, the fats from the yolks will probably lead to the whites not whisking up properly), beat the egg whites till stiff & glossy, adding another 1/4 c sugar a little at a time until it’s all incorporated. Fold this carefully through the cooled custard.
- Then beat 500 ml cream until thick & fold that through the custard. (The original recipe says, 300 ml cream, but you can’t have too much cream in ice cream, amirite?)
- Finally, puree the berries & fold them into the nice fluffy creamy mix, before pouring it all into a large-ish shallow container & putting that in the freezer. (This recipe gave me rather too much to fit in a 2 L tub, so the excess went into a smaller tray.)
You’ll need to stir it with a fork, after a couple of hours & then again another 2 hours later, to break up all the ice crystals & give you a smoother ice cream. It’ll still be harder than the commercial varieties though, so will probably need softening a little before you serve it. Unless you don’t mind ending up with a collection of bent spoons, that is!