Homemade Ice Cream

Ice cream recipes. Really good ones.

It's almost summer and my mind turns to ... ICE CREAM!  Who doesn't love ice cream?  It's sweet and creamy and comes in an infinite number of flavors.  I've been making my own ice cream for decades and find it's fun to experiment with crazy, exotic, and unexpected flavors.  Although I must admit that my attempt to make candied bacon ice cream was not a success!  Making traditional flavors is great, too, and your own fresh-made ice cream with pure ingredients tastes better than anything you can buy in a store.

For my 20th birthday, which was a LONG time ago, my friends got together and bought me an electric ice cream maker, a Waring Ice Cream Parlor.  I made many, many batches of ice cream with it over the years.  When I was a graduate student at Cornell in the early 1980s, in the summer you could drive a few miles out of town to "u-pick-it" berry farms, where they charged $1 a quart for raspberries that you picked yourself.  I picked many quarts, made ice cream all summer long, then froze raspberries mixed with sugar to make ice cream in the winter. 

One day I got the idea to make lime ice cream, since as a child my favorite frozen treat was lime sherbert.  Lime ice cream quickly became one of my favorite flavors -- so much better than lime sherbert -- and one of the easiest ice creams to make.  Something about the combination of citrus, sugar, and cream is just irresistible.  The recipe is below.

A few years ago, the dasher on my old, faithful ice cream maker broke.  Waring hasn't made a machine like mine in years, but I managed to find a replacement on Ebay.  But, alas!, the dasher on that one broke as well.  My extended family missed my ice cream so much, that they recently got together and bought me a wonderful machine -- a Cuisinart ice cream maker with a built in compressor.  It's so easy to make batch after batch of ice cream -- you just pour in the ingredients and turn it on -- no fussing with ice cubes and salt.   

I've experimented with herb-flavored ice creams using fresh herbs from my garden.  The best, in my opinion, is lemon basil ice cream.  It can be a little difficult to find lemon basil, but it's worth searching out for ice cream alone.  Try your local Pike's.  Like the lime ice cream, it's really easy to make.  You can substitute other herbs for the lemon basil, maybe regular basil, Thai basil, or even lavender.  Experiment!  If you find something good, let me know!

Finally, a recent creation that has been a big hit -- crème brûlée ice cream.  Rich and decadent, and a bit of a chore to make, this is not a recipe for the beginner.   Making caramel can be tricky, and even a drop or two of melted sugar can cause serious burns -- so be careful!  Trust me, the end result is worth it!


Lime Ice Cream

1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (none of that bottled stuff!)

1 Tbsp. grated lime peel

2 cups superfine sugar (or regular sugar pulverized in the food processor)

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

Method:  Stir together lime juice, peel, and sugar.  Add heavy cream and milk and stir until sugar is disolved.  Freeze in ice cream maker.


Lemon Basil Ice Cream

1 cup loosely packed lemon basil leaves and flowers (or other herb)

Grated peel of a lemon

1 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Method:  Chop the herb leaves and flowers.  Heat milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar, until almost boiling.  Remove from heat, add the herbs and lemon peel and let steep for several hours.   Strain the milk mixture and stir in the heavy cream.  Chill and freeze in an ice cream maker.


Crème Brûlée Ice Cream

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

6 egg yolks

1 cup milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla (real vanilla, please, and get a good quality one)

Method:  Put sugar in a heavy skillet and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns a golden brown.   Shake the pan, but don't stir.  And don't be alarmed if the sugar crystalizes into what looks like an impossible mess, it will eventually smooth out and turn into a beautiful caramel.  Watch carefully -- it burns easily!  Remove the caramel from the heat and pour a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of the caramel until non-stick foil.  Now carefully pour the cream into the remaining caramel in the pan.  It will bubble up and steam, so be careful!  Cook and stir over low heat until the whole thing turns into a smooth caramel sauce.  Be patient, this can take a while!  Let the caramel cool for a few minutes.

Beat the egg yolks and milk together and then beat in the caramel mixture.  cook in a double boiler over simmering water until it coats a spoon -- about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and chill well.  

Freeze in your ice cream maker.  Smash the caramel on the foil (did you forget about that??) into small pieces and stir into the ice cream.  

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Kathy May 17, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Absolutely Gail. I'm thinking those coupons Belk's mails out will come in handy if they carry Cuisinart equipment.
Georg Kortmann May 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Just take strawberries, blend them with some sugar and it will make a refreshing low-calory ice-cream that even works without a machine. Of course you can also use heavy cream and the machine. Fresh garden mint as topping is nice.
Gail Lane May 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Sounds like a field trip and a weekend of experimenting!
Gail Lane May 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Sounds great, Georg!
Jim Kinney May 29, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I can personally attest to the astonishing nature of the lime ice cream recipe. A perfect balance of puckering tart and sweetness. Ignoring the heavy cream aspect, a decent sized bowl is a great way to slurp down a full days dose of Vitamin C. Yum!


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