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basic ice cream

(post, Elizabeth Stark)

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I was looking forward to posting my recipe for a buttermilk bay ice cream this week. I made some over the weekend, and the flavor was really great, but I ran into some big time problems in the texture department. I will have to make it again before I feel like I can share.

It's not clear if the chalky texture was the result of the buttermilk being relatively low fat, too few yolks for this particular mixture, or if it was because I accidentally over-cooked the cream and buttermilk right at the beginning. I am going to try and make another batch really soon, because I hate to miss the mark like this, especially with such a great flavor on the line. Any buttermilk experts out there?

Meanwhile, I have written up my basic ice cream recipe. This is the base for most of my ice cream flavors. I tend to alter the salt and sugar ratio according to the ingredients, but besides that, this is my standard. For a fresh fruit ice cream, add the fruit just as you are putting everything into the ice cream maker, for something like ginger, let it steep in the hot cream for ten minutes, then reheat gently and proceed with tempering the eggs. For everyday ice cream, I limit the egg yolks to four, but if you'd like something richer and smoother, go for eight to ten yolks. What to do with all those egg whites? Make meringue I guess.

Basic Ice Cream Recipe

2 cups whole milk
2 cup heavy cream
4 or more egg yolks
tiny pinch of salt
1 - 1½ cups sugar (this varies according to taste, but I think less sugar is good for delicate flavors)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or booze
3 tablespoons honey (optional)

Combine the cream, milk, honey, salt, and half the sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat. Put the yolks in a heat proof bowl and whisk in the other half of the sugar. When the cream mixture is starting to steam, whisk a cup or so, ¼ cup at a time, into the eggs. The goal is the raise the heat of the eggs so they won't curdle when added to cream. When the eggs are tempered, slowly whisk into the cream. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat roughly 5 minutes, or until the cream mixture has thickened.

Pour into a large bowl, cover, and chill for a long time--5 hours or more is optimal. Then process according to your ice-cream maker's instructions, remove from ice cream maker and freeze for as long as you can, three hours or more will result in a well-cured ice cream.