stracciatella ice cream

This is the first batch of ice cream we’ve made this summer.  When the warmer weather rolls around, I always intend to make lots and lots of ice cream, but I somehow put off pulling out the ice cream maker. It’s really not such a big deal — retrieve box from the cellar, put the bowl in the freezer overnight, mix up the ice cream base and chill, then spin in the machine.  But as with many things, I manage to procrastinate… I’m not sure we made any ice cream last year.  Anyway, C. suggested we make some chocolate chip ice cream, so when we got home from our annual Cape vacation, I set the above process in motion.

The recipe is from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. The base is a French-style (i.e. using an cooked egg custard mixture) vanilla ice cream (see the recipe on David’s site here). Instead of using actual chocolate chips, which would have turned into hard little tooth-breaking rocks in the freezer, I made stracciatella or Italian-style chocolate chips by drizzling melted bittersweet chocolate over the ice cream at the end of the spinning process (scroll way down on this page to read how to make stracciatella) and then breaking up the chocolate bits as it cools and hardens. The tricky part is incorporating the hot melted chocolate into the just-spun and still very soft ice cream without rendering it all into a soupy mess. I found this really challenging (sometimes I really wish I had a couple more hands) and although there was a bit of melting, it refroze just fine.

I think this is the first time I’ve made a French-style ice cream outside of pastry school.  Before JWU, the idea of tempering a heated liquid into egg yolks would’ve petrified me, but now I’ve done it with such frequency that it doesn’t require much thought. The egg custard base produces a much smoother, creamier ice cream than the easier Philadelphia-style ice cream (which uses an uncooked base and doesn’t contain eggs). It is easily the best ice cream I’ve made at home thus far.

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david lebovitz’s roasted banana ice cream

This is another of David Lebovitz‘s recipes from The Perfect Scoop. The Traveler’s Lunchbox posted a terrific interview with David a couple of years ago and included this recipe. It is sooooooo good — I was standing over the sink scraping the dregs out of the ice cream maker bowl with a spatula because I just couldn’t stand any going to waste. It’s so simple to make — you roast cut-up bananas with a smidge of butter and some brown sugar, then puree the resulting gooey goodness with whole milk, a skosh more sugar, vanilla, fresh lemon juice and a little coarse salt. Chill and then freeze in an ice cream maker (The Traveler’s Lunchbox provides an alternate method using an immersion blender for those who don’t own an ice cream maker). The ice cream is rich and creamy, surprising when you remember that there’s no cream in the mix. There are endless possibilities for different variations — looking at other blogs I see that people have added chocolate chunks, nuts, rum, raisins, even peanut butter. I love it as it’s written — it’s summertime comfort food!

david lebovitz’s strawberry frozen yogurt

I bought an ice cream maker last June, and spent much of last summer making ice cream from the recipe booklet that accompanied the machine. I even made up some recipes of my own. And I was pretty content to leave it at that. There was one ice cream cookbook that piqued my interest though — pastry chef David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. Every time I saw it at my local bookstore, I would look through it longingly but decided I would wait to buy it this summer. Since I am now on a cookbook acquisition moratorium, that purchase will have to wait. Thankfully, David’s recipe for Strawberry Frozen Yogurt is posted on his blog so I don’t have to miss out. The recipe is so simple. First you cut up strawberries, add sugar and let sit for a couple of hours.

Then the strawberries go into the blender with yogurt, a smidge of lemon juice and a dribble of vodka or kirsch (if you wish). Pulse until almost smooth.

Then pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and whirl away until frozen. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes in mine.

Put it in the freezer to freeze until hard. It’s really yummy stuff — so bright and fresh tasting. And I love the simplicity of the ingredients. I just can’t wait for summer weather to come to New England so we can really enjoy it in earnest!

Milk Chocolate Bit Ice Cream

Here is a picture of the ice cream we made yesterday.

Milk Chocolate Bit Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, chopped into small pieces

In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Turn machine on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate pieces during the last 5 minutes of mixing.