Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Desserts

As I write this I am lulled by the smokey-bitter aroma of chocolate baking. It's amazing I can string together a sentence. In fact, I haven't actually eaten real food yet today. I've contented myself on batter scrapings and beaters and furtive spoonfuls of homemade ice cream.

I'm feeling very happy about dessert this evening. Steen and Nicole are coming over to celebrate Nicole's birthday and I've planned a very traditional - and made-with-love celebration feast.

I will take photos. After all, what's a feast without food porn?? But till then let me tell you what I've learned about ice cream for any of you who might be on my learning curve:
  • As you may know, the underpinning of ice cream is generally creme anglaise, a milk-based egg custard. The thing is, you can make creme anglaise any one of 15 ways - some of them include cream, the quantity of egg yolks can range from 1 - 6 for 2 cups of liquid. For such a simple base, it's a very malleable thing.
  • I've spent a few months experimenting with ratios of cream to eggs. At first, though my baking guru Michel Roux advised to use lots of yolks and milk only, I couldn't accept that it would yield the creamiest outcome. I mean, it's called ice cream for a reason, no?
  • I've made the anglaise with increasing numbers of egg yolks and decreasing quantities of cream and I have to say, 2 cups of whole milk and 6 large yolks yields a beautiful, thick outcome once cooled.
  • The irony is that the more fat and fewer eggs one uses, apparently, the more watery and apt to curdle the fluid becomes. And the more ice crystallization occurs during the machine churning.
So those are my 2 cents. Any ice cream-makers, I'd love to hear about your experiences.


  1. I'll look forward to the photos too. I don't have much ice-cream making experience, but I am happy to learn from your expertise.

  2. I'm not making ice-cream, but the strawberry jam I'm putting up would be great in or with some.

  3. A couple of years ago I got the cuisinart ice cream maker and for the first month I was making a batch a day and it was dangerous. After the first month I moved on to sorbets and I have never gone back. Now my ice cream maker sits in storage next to my kitchenaid mixer and my george foreman grill.

  4. I'm going to see if there's anything good in the fridge now.

  5. Kate: Ridiculously, we ate the food so fast I FORGOT to take stylin' photos. But I do have some pics of the cake before the guests arrived...

    Mardel: Allow me to do the "work" for all of us :-)

    D.: Yum! You gonna be in TO this weekend? :-)

    Bel: I never knew this about you! OK, sorbet is never going to work for me. I just don't like it. But I hope my little machine is not relegated to the basement. Perhaps my thighs disagree?

    Wendy: C'mon, just go to a fancy resto and call it even :-)