Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Frozen Treats of Summer

Oreo Ice Cream
Nothing like a sweet frozen treat to cool a hot day. One bite and it'll melt your worries away! Yes, I intend to work in the advertising department in the future. (not really)

Let's start with the ice cream. Ice cream is just a custard mixture churned and frozen in an ice cream machine. If you've never seen an ice cream machine, it's actually pretty... simple. I actually think I wasted my money buying, essentially, a motor that spins. Old fashioned ice cream machines have a motor at the top, and below an aluminum canister inside a plastic tub. The ice cream custard goes into the canister, which is inside a tub of ice and salt. The sodium chloride lowers the freezing point of the custard, allowing the milk to combine with the rest of the ingredients without turning icy. That's what I read at least. The churning process beats air into custard, turning it into fluffy ice cream. Mmmm, delicious!

Here is what makes 2 lbs of ice cream:

  • 1 ½ cups half n half
  • 1 cup light/heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
+ pieces of Oreo cookies

Directions: In a saucepan, bring half n half, light or heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla to a simmer. (don't let it boil!) Stir to make sure the sugar has dissolved.

Then in another bowl, lightly beat the yolks. When the hot cream mixture is ready, begin by pouring a very small amount into the yolks, mixing constantly. This process is called tempering and it is done to ensure that we do not scramble the eggs with the heat.

When you have gradually and slowly poured about half of the cream into the yolk mixture, turn the heat back on to a med-high and transfer the cream-yolk mixture into the saucepan again to make the custard. Remember to stir constantly as we do not want the custard to curdle up! Cooking the custard will take about 8 minutes. The custard is ready when you dip your spoon into the custard and are able to use your fingers to draw a line across. If you can't do that, then it is still too runny! Wait a little longer.

When the custard is done, transfer to a pitcher or bowl and use plastic wrap to cover the custard. The plastic wrap needs to touch the custard so that a layer does not form at the top when refridgerating. Refridgerate for at least 5 hours, or better yet, overnight.

The next day you will be able to transfer this custard into your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and enjoy! Churning will take about 20-25 minutes. It is ready when it looks like soft-serve ice cream. When done, use a rubber spatula (this is a must) to transport to container. Freezer for at least 4 hours before eating and enjoy!

Strawberry Sorbet
This is a bit easier and equally as delicious. If you are going for a tart, fruity taste, you might want to try the strawberry sorbet instead. You can make a sorbet out of... just about anything! If you want to use raspberries, or even beer, feel free to experiment! Here's a list of ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, capped and halved
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 c light corn syrup
  • 2 c cold water

In a glass bowl, combine strawberries with sugar and lemon juice. Mix well. This is called macerating and it is done to bring out the juices and sweetness of fruits. Leave the strawberries for at least half an hour, if not overnight. You will find yourself with a syrupy and juicy bowl of strawberries.

Then in a blender, puree strawberry syrup mixture with water and corn syrup. The corn syrup is essential when making sorbet, because it keeps the sorbet from turning into a solid, frozen brick in the freezer. So do not substitute or leave out! Then scoop puree into ice cream maker and churn away! Freeze overnight before serving.

Whichever tasty treat you decide to make, enjoy! You can always modify the recipes to fit your taste. Whether you like cherry ice cream, mango ice cream, or blueberry sorbet, make it to suit your tastes! Summer's always better sweet!

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