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Homemade Ice Cream, Part Two

More ice cream recipes, including raspberry and maple pecan. Yum!

Time for more ice cream thoughts and recipes. Why am I obsessed with ice cream? Apart from the fact that it tastes so good, perhaps it’s because the first real job I ever had was working at  the Baskin-Robbins in Maplewood, New Jersey. I really liked the Pralines ‘n Cream, and had many chocolates malts (made with vanilla ice cream, extra malt, please).  But even in those days I sensed that there had to be better ice cream than Baskin-Robbins.   

The summer between college and graduate school, when I was living with my parents in Princeton, NJ, I discovered Häagen-Dazs maple walnut ice cream and thought it was one of the best things I had ever eaten. For some reason, it was only available in the stores (and now seems to have vanished entirely), but, luckily, there was a H-D store in Princeton.  

For my birthday that summer, I bought myself an ice cream cake from the store made with chocolate chocolate chip and maple walnut. Yummy! I began experimenting with making maple walnut ice cream and had a lightbulb-over-head moment when I realized I could use pecans instead of walnuts. Pecans, especially when toasted, are so much better than walnuts, and are a perfect compliment to the maple flavor. Maple pecan has been one of my favorite flavors ever since.

Other favorite flavors are raspberry and mango. Mango is easy but needs really ripe mangos. Try the Dekalb or Buford farmer’s markets for good mangos, or if it is not mango season pick up a can of mango puree in your favorite Indian grocery store. (I love living in an area where you can have a favorite Indian store!) The canned mango is already sweetened and I usually just mix equal parts with heavy cream. Taste it and see if it’s sweet enough for you and add some lime juice if you like; it seems to bring out the mango flavor.

Raspberry ice cream takes a little more work. I have made many a batch of raspberry ice cream and the one thing I will say is that it is so much better if you get rid of the seeds before freezing. You can use a sieve with a fine mesh and push the raspberries through with a spoon. It takes work to get all of the raspberry pulp separated from the seeds. Long before you are done with this task, you will be wondering why you are removing the seeds, but keep at it and think about the wonderful raspberry ice cream you will get as your reward.  I own a nifty low-tech gadget which helps with seed-removal.  I’ve had it so long I don’t remember where it came from, but given that most of the writing on the box is French or Italian, I suspect I bought it during one of my many trips to Europe. The official name of the thing is, I think, a “food mill” although this phrase does not appear on the box anywhere. In any case, there is a plastic piece that holds a metal sieve with a metal handle you turn to push vegetables or fruits through the sieve. 

Whether you use a sieve or a food mill, at some point you will feel that you simply cannot sieve any more. Hopefully the raspberry pulp is almost all through the sieve at this point, and you are good to go. One trick I learned is to put a small amount of water in the sieve or food mill (which you have set over a clean bowl), stir the mass of seeds and catch the juice - you can now reward yourself for all of your hard work with a glass of raspberry juice. Stir in some lemon juice for raspberry lemonade. Finally, if you choose to ignore my advice about removing the seeds, make sure you have lots of dental floss on hand for your guests!

What about eggs in ice cream? Eggs and especially egg yolks make ice cream richer and creamier. Ice cream made without eggs does not keep as well as ice cream made with eggs as it tends to get icy after a day or two. Just take it out about 15 minutes before serving and it will be fine. Anyway, if your household is full of ice cream lovers like mine is, your delicious homemade ice cream won’t last that long!

I like to make fruit ice cream without eggs because I think it tastes fresher and more fruity. Non-fruit flavors are better made with eggs and if you want a really decadent, rich and creamy ice cream, use eggs yolks instead of whole eggs, up to six egg yolks for a quart of ice cream.  

If I am making ice cream with eggs I always cook the eggs with some of the sugar and dairy products to make a custard base. I think this gives the ice cream a better texture. Cooking also kills salmonella as long as you cook the custard to at least 140 degrees F (an instant-read thermometer is handy for checking the temperature). I don’t worry about salmonella much since I always use local, free range eggs.  

You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned chocolate ice cream. The truth is that I have never made a really good batch of chocolate ice cream. Every recipe I’ve tried comes out grainy, or not chocolaty enough. If I’m in a chocolate mood (which is most of the time!), I’ll make some chocolate sauce and pour it over  maple pecan or crème brulee ice cream or even good vanilla. If anyone knows how to make a chocolaty, really creamy ice cream, send me the recipe!

 

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Mango Ice Cream

2 cups chopped mango  (about 3 mangos peeled, seeded, and chopped)

juice of one lime

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk or half-and-half (depending on how rich you want it)

 

Method:  Stir together mango, lime juice, and sugar.   Refrigerate for several hours (sugar should be dissolved) and then puree in a blender, food processor, or with a hand blender.  Stir in heavy cream and milk. Freeze in ice cream maker.

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Raspberry Ice Cream

2 cups fresh raspberries, washed (or use frozen)

1 1/2 cups sugar

Juice of  1/2 a lemon

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk or half-and-half (depending on how rich you want it)

 

Method:  Mix raspberries, lemon juice, and sugar.  Refrigerate  for several hours, stirring occasionally.  Pour off the juice and save, then puree the raspberries and sieve to remove seeds. Or  put the raspberries through a food mill.    See above discussion on removing seeds.   Stir together juice, sieved berries, cream and milk. Chill and freeze in an ice cream maker.

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Maple Pecan Ice Cream

1 cup maple syrup (get Grade B if you can find it – more flavorful)

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

2 eggs  (or up to 6 egg yolks if you want a really rich ice cream)

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

 

Method:   Beat maple syrup, eggs, and milk in the top of a double boiler.   Cook and stir over simmering water until mixture thickens somewhat and coats a spoon – about 15 minutes.   Stir in heavy cream and chill.   Freeze in an ice cream maker and stir in pecans.

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