Churn Af­ter Read­ing /

AF­TER READ­ING

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Mas­ter the ba­sics of great home­made ice cream

hen you think about it, ice cream is a mir­a­cle. You start with milk, one of the most chem­i­cally com­plex foods we eat. Add sug­ars to re­duce its freez­ing point, and egg pro­teins and emul­si­fiers to ob­struct ice crys­tals. Then you stick this gloppy stuff in a por­ta­ble freezer and pump it full of air un­til spin­ning but­ter­fat glob­ules co­a­lesce to give it form. That’s ba­nanas but some­how it works. Weird­est of all: Mak­ing it your­self is ac­tu­ally very easy.

Frozen dessert tech­nol­ogy has come a long way since the days when Em­peror Nero would send Ro­man slaves into the moun­tains to har­vest blocks of ice, shave it down, and sweeten it with honey. In 1843, Nancy John­son of Philadel­phia patented the first ice cream freezer, but it re­quired relentless hand-crank­ing and re­lied on rock salt to lower the tem­per­a­ture of the ice. Today, af­ford­able en­try-level ice cream mak­ers can churn out a no­tice­ably su­pe­rior prod­uct com­pared with mass in­dus­trial brands, and are as sim­ple to op­er­ate as a blender.

But you don’t just churn be­cause it’s easy. When mak­ing ice cream at home, you can in­dulge your in­ner con­trol freak and achieve your own per­fect scoop: the sweet­ness, the tex­ture, whether it’s light and fluffy or dense and rich. And, of course, the fla­vor. Ice cream is one of the few foods that’s truly a blank can­vas, a base sub­stance equally re­cep­tive to choco­late, saf­fron, or caramelized onion (if you’re into that kind of thing). Pre­pare to be ob­sessed.

The beauty of home­made ice cream: any fla­vor you can imag­ine tex­ture and the of your dreams.

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