I scream, you scream, we all scream for frozen dairy products. I've had a desire to make ice cream for many years now. My blogging partner, Meg, was kind enough to give us a French Donvier manual ice cream maker many years ago, but I've been unsuccessful making ice cream, making a mushy soupy sweet mess or unsatisfying icy white crystals instead of ice cream. I'd been discouraged enough that I'd pretty much given up on making the stuff from scratch.
However, with my recently acquired cooking skills, I thought the Fourth of July seemed like a great day to declare independence from the commercial ice cream makers and finally make a batch of Barrett's American-style Ice Cream
Now, ice cream is not originally American, but it has a long history in this country. Ben Franklin supposedly brought it back to the US from France, but Ben purportedly brought a lot of things back from France, and some of these stories are less accurate than others. What is known is that the Founding Fathers loved the stuff, especially Thomas Jefferson. Visitors to Monticello often remarked on the ice cream dishes served there, and the earliest American recipe for ice cream comes from Jefferson's notebooks.
I started with what might be one of the simplest of ice cream recipes - 2 cups milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 cup powdered sugar. I combined the ingredients, and simmered them over a medium low heat, stirring constantly. Ten minutes later, the mix had thickened a bit and evenly coated the wooden spoon I used to stir it.
I cooled the mix on the oven top until it had reached near room temperature, then transferred it to the refrigerator. About half an hour later, when the mix was refrigerator temperature, I assembled the Donvier ice cream maker, using the core I had frozen the day before.
Following the directions, I tuned the crank on the ice cream maker3 times every thee minutes. Ignoring the directions, I continued this for 30 minutes instead of the 15-20 minutes suggested in the directions. Voila. Instead of the mess I had made before I had an ice cream-like substance. A little loose, sure, but very much like ice cream. I packed it into a container and put it in the refrigerator to freeze.
The result - ice cream! A little harder than commercial ice cream, but recognizably ice cream! Wow. It only took me 40 years to get to this point.
So now that I've made plain vanilla ice cream, watch out. We'll have some tasty variations soon, starting with the vanilla base that I've made here. Cherries are particularly plentiful right now...