why eat homemade ice cream?
It's natural, full of natural ingredients.
It tastes fabulous.
How many more reasons do you need?
I began making ice cream because I'm a gelato and ice cream addict and I found it was a wonderful way to use some of our excess eggs.
My first efforts tasted good but were inconsistent - some were a little "icy" while others were beautifully smooth and creamy. I gave in and bought an ice cream maker and it's turned out to be a wonderful investment.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, I found I obtained the best results by making the basic mixture and allowing it to partially freeze, then processing it in a food processor until the mixture was smooth and finally pouring the mixture into an airtight container in the freezer.
However, if you're confident you'll be making ice cream regularly, an ice cream maker is a worthwhile investment and most are reasonably priced.
I'll be gradually adding more ice cream and gelato recipes over the coming months, but this is only the beginning of a journey for me.
The recipes in the ice cream section will be around one litre, so they can be accommodated easily in an ice cream maker.
ice cream vs gelato
I've loved gelato for many years. It seems to have a far more intense flavour than ice cream.
Unfortunately, there seems to be an abundance of recipes for ice cream and disturbingly few for gelato by comparison, so I'm attempting to remedy this by adapting ice cream recipes and experimenting.
The basic differences between ice cream and gelato are that gelato should contain less fat than ice cream; typically around 8%, while ice cream will contain 12-15% fat or more.
There is less air whipped into gelato during manufacture, which would account for it having a denser texture.
ice cream making tips
ingredients. I use whole, organic, unhomogenised milk whenever possible. You should be able to buy this easily from your local supermarket. It really is worth the extra money it costs. I prefer to use pure (pouring) cream because it only contains... cream. Thickened cream contains thickening agents and gums etc, which are unnecessary in a natural ice cream recipe. I also use our own fresh eggs but if you don't have access to your own fresh eggs, use the freshest ones possible, and choose free range ones.
knowing when the custard is thick enough. Most recipes advise to stir the custard until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The foolproof way is to draw a line down the back of your spoon with your fingertip, then tilt the spoon sideways. If the custard doesn't run into the line and the line remains intact, your custard is thick enough.
sugar. For most of my recipes I cut the sugar content wherever possible, provided I can still get a good result. Ice cream needs a certain amount of sugar to prevent it from freezing too firmly. My first attempts at making ice cream saw me following recipes religiously, but I've managed to cut the sugar content by half in my current recipes.
fat content. You can cut the fat content by replacing half or all of the cream in ice cream recipes with milk or buttermilk. Or make gelato instead, which contains less fat than ice cream.