We all scream for home-made ice cream in delicious fresh flavours.
Learn how to make the best-ever ice cream
Rich, creamy, home-made ice cream is a spectacular dessert. Like anything worth mastering, though, it can be a little knacky so here’s a quick primer. Ice cream comes in two varieties: French and Philadelphia-style. Philly-style is the easiest to make – mix, churn and you’re done. Unfortunately its high cream content tends to leave a greasy mouth-feel and the mixture often turns icy.
French-style ice cream is custard-based – the mixture has to be cooked and cooled before churning. The addition of egg yolks for fat content allows some of the cream to be replaced with milk, which ensures a rich texture without the greasy mouth-feel.
The custard method also allows ingredients like mint leaves, coffee and vanilla beans to be steeped in warm cream, giving a richer and more natural taste than artificial flavourings can.
But for home-made ice cream, flavour isn’t the big hurdle: texture is. Preventing icy, grainy ice cream takes a few tricks.
Don’t skimp on the sugar – the higher sugar content lowers the freezing temperature of the mixture. Flavours are also slightly dulled when cold, so ice cream custard should be just a little sweeter and more highly flavoured than you think it needs to be.
If in doubt, add a shot of alcohol. Vodka will do the job as far as lowering freezing-temperature goes but it’s much more fun to experiment with Kahlua, Baileys, rum and whisky.
The most important trick, though? Use an ice cream maker. Nothing can compare to the smoothness and richness of ice cream made in a churn – which, incidentally, regularly appear at op shops for around $10. Be sure to fully freeze the canister – this may take 24 hours or longer. Also chill the custard well.
Be aware that a home machine isn’t grunty enough to churn ice cream to straight-from-the-freezer consistency. It’s not meant to – it’s just incorporating air while chilling the custard to a softserve consistency, after which it needs to be frozen. Scrape your freshly churned ice cream into a casserole dish or metal tin that you’ve pre-chilled in the freezer, cover with plastic wrap and a lid if your container has it, then hustle it into the freezer and leave for a good 5-6 hours to achieve a firm, scoopable texture.