Things I Learned While Making Ice Cream for the First Time
Okay, so I decided to make ice cream for my girlfriend for St. Valentines' Day (a "Holiday" which I do not celebrate: Why is the medieval feast of a man who was clubbed/stoned/beheaded/drug through the streets in Rome for marrying Christians made to be a day when I am supposed to buy flowers/chocolate/diamonds etc. for someone who/when I can find perfectly good reasons to do that throughout the year...but I digress)
Now first and foremost, this is a sort of 'special' occasion as:
1) I don't have an ice cream maker so everything needs to be done by hand (except the freezing I guess, as I cannot do that by hand......yet)
2) I've never made ice cream before so it will probably be an adventure of sorts as I will be guessing not only on flavour, but on equiptment etc.
Before I even start, I have a decision to make: flavour. Now I understand that I do not have a great deal of experience in making Ice Cream (being the first time and all...I'm not dillusional....yet) so I want to go with something that has a very good chance at being tasty, and something that will not hinder the freezing process (liquour for example) so I start with some vanilla...but, in my usual way, figure that is too simple (psh, vanilla ice cream? Come on Shaun, you can make something harder than that......okay maybe I'm a little dillusional) So I look at what else I have kicking around that I could use for flavouring:
Cocoa: nah, chocolate/vanilla
Chocolate Chips: Sounds stressful with the churning
Coconut: Yeah...I don't have enough
Cinnamon: Hmmmmm Vanilla cinnamon it is
I decided to go with an English Custard/Ice cream recipe which I figure will be undoubtably rich. The first thing I learn is the wonders of boiling milk/cream together and the shear amount of expansion the aforementioned ingredients undergo. While I'm using one of my larger saucepans it is (of course) not large enough. As I fight the milk tide, I pull the mixture from the stove (as soon as the mixture boiled it was time to pull anyway to mix the mixture with the egg yolks) However the saucepan/I am now covered in a wonderful foam/film (now browned from the heat on the saucepan, and stared at on me)
Now, covered in a fine, creamy film, I continue my adventure through the ladeling process (slowly adding the milk/cream mixture to the egg yolks and constantly mixing) and it comes time for cooking the custard. You would think (based on my decsion making/how the cooking is going thus far) that something horrible would happen here...but it actually went perfectly fine..I had a warm, shiny custard with little to no egg chunks within (Shaun 1, Ice Cream 1)
The recipe called for the custard to be be placed in a freezer, and then stirred every twenty minutes for two hours (stirring to ensure that large ice crystals don't form and the ice cream is smooth). I have the day off, so all I am doing is watching futball and doing some writing and this 'every 20 minutes' set up does not sound too bad.
The first twenty: still pretty warm, I stir and replace in the freezer (spending my twenty enjoying a shower to rid myself of the milk film)
20 ii: Still warm, stir, replace
20 iii: End of the first hour, yet still slightly warm...I grow concerned about my freezer temperature, re-organize the freezer a bit
20 iv: all cool, okay, we're getting there
20 v: no change
20 vi: so according to the recipe, this should be finished...it is still basically just cold cinnamon milk...I recheck the recipe: Oh, two hours from COLD custard (Shaun 1, Ice Cream 2)
I'll skip ahead a bit:
Hour iii: getting there
Hour iv: starting to get ice cream shavings on the edges
Hour v: Soft serve consistency! DONE! (ish) We have already eaten dinner (Lamb Shoulder chops with a mango jasmine rice) and we finally try the ice cream: Vanilla-Cinnamon: Fantastic!
All in all, I was entertained (it was a sort of cooking adventure) and I ended up with a product I was quite happy with (as was the aforementioned girlfriend), but I like to think I've learned a few things along the way which I will hopefully remember to use the next time I decide to either try making ice cream...or in the case of carefully reading the recipe, you know...always.
Or perhaps maybe I am just dillusional.