Hello! It's Memorial Day Weekend, which means the start of many summertime activities. Grills are fired up, boats are brought out of storage, cottages are opened up for the season, garden plans are put into place, and on and on.
It's also time to make ice cream! Of course, ice cream can be enjoyed all year round, but in general I only make it in the summer. Winter time is for using the oven to bake cookies, cakes and other goodies. But who wants to heat up the kitchen more than necessary when it's hot out? Not I! And short of going swimming, what could be a better way to cool off than eating ice cream?
I have a Krups ice cream maker, the kind that comes with an insert that must be frozen before ice cream can be made. But once that step has been completed, the ice cream mixture only needs 20-30 minutes of churning. The ice cream is more like soft serve at this point, so a few more hours in the freezer are necessary in order to harden it to a more scoopable stage.
(Incidentally, I think my Krups model is no longer available, but there are models from Cuisinart that are similar.)
Why make ice cream? Well, for one thing, it's fun to do, and is also a way to have flavors that are typically absent from the grocery store shelves.
For instance, is raspberry ice cream common? I don't think so, but it's been well-received around here this weekend:
I already mentioned that there's a bit of advance preparation involved in the making and eating of homemade ice cream. One also needs to plan ahead if a cooked custard base is preferred. The cooking together of eggs, dairy product and sugar makes for a very creamy ice cream, but the resulting custard needs to be chilled before being churned. When I make one of these bases, I'll cook it the night before and let it chill overnight. Then it's ready for the ice cream maker first thing in the morning.
Even simpler are the ice cream recipes that don't require any cooking, just a stirring together of the ingredients. The texture is a bit more coarse than that of ice creams made from cooked custard, but these ice creams are still very good. My raspberry ice cream was made from one such uncooked recipe, called "Choose-a-Fruit Scoops". It came courtesy of Midwest Living magazine. I had to reduce the recipe to fit the capacity of my machine, but that's okay - the resulting ice cream is pretty rich, so small servings are satisfying.
And though the recipe is meant to be fruit flavored, I don't see why other flavors (coffee, chocolate, etc) or add-ins (crumbled Oreos, crushed candies, etc) couldn't be used instead. As I'd said, that's the fun part of making ice cream - you can flavor it any way you want!
If you'd like to make your own "Choose-A-Fruit" (or other ice cream flavor using the same base), you can find the recipe HERE.
Here's to the beginning of summer - and to its perfect companion, ice cream! I know I'll enjoy using my ice cream maker throughout the season.