I’ve made ice cream four times in the past week. It was supposed to be a celebration of spring and the arrival of warm weather. I woke up this morning, ready to freeze the Vanilla Bean custard I made last night and discovered 15cm of snow on the ground. Where did that come from? The Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt photo was taken only days earlier when the temperature climbed to a hopeful 14°C, (57°F) and now this. I had hoped we were done with snow this year. As much as I like to ski and can appreciate the beauty of a white, snow covered landscape, I’m done with winter. Bring on the sun. I want to see flowers blossoming, asparagus and rhubarb coming up in the garden and I want to ride my bike. I want to continue making ice cream but I want to eat it outside on the deck. And I want it to be so bright outside that I have to wear sunglasses. Is that too much to ask?
There may be another reason I’m making so much ice cream and that would be that I have approximately a million eggs to use up so I’m making lots of egg based things, (challah, egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs…). The source of all these eggs? Chickens! Six of them. They’re in my backyard and each of them is laying an egg a day. For some time now Dad has been complaining that eggs are always on the grocery list and that I go through too many eggs with my baking and ice cream making. He recently came up with a solution to that problem. He built a chicken coop and acquired six chickens. Now I’ve got more eggs than I know what to do with and ice cream is accumulating in my freezer at a rapid rate as that seems to be my favourite thing to make with eggs.
When I want to make ice cream, one of the first places I look for a recipe is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. Sometimes I make his recipes exactly as written and other times I tweak them a bit to suit what I’ve got in mind or on hand. Once I’ve got an ice cream idea I usually check Lebovitz’s book for a recipe before looking anywhere else. Work is usually the source of my ice cream making inspiration, (no real surprise there considering it’s where I spend most of my time) and one of the guys at work is currently addicted to green tea. I think he’s single handedly decimating the kitchen’s supply of green tea so when I felt like making ice cream earlier this week, green tea was an easy choice. It had also been a long time since the last time I used my matcha powder to make ice cream in the form of Matcha White Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream, so it was definitely time. The Orange Popsicle Ice Cream you see here was also inspired by a workplace conversation with someone who said they loved creamsicle bars. This ice cream is pretty close in taste, although I’d like to try making my own version of creamsicle ice cream that incorporates an orange sherbert swirl into a creamy ice cream.
While I was thinking about an orange sherbert swirl I got distracted from ice cream for an instant and somehow drifted into frozen yogurt land, (which is useless for using up eggs, but tasty nonetheless) and I decided that it was imperative I make Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt. I have a few bottles of POM Wonderful sitting in my fridge and I’ve been contemplating what to do with them besides drink them as is. The colour drove me to make frozen yogurt out of one of them. I reduced a bottle of POM Wonderful by about a quarter and could have reduced it even more but I was impatient. I then stirred in a little less than half a cup of sugar, a squirt of lemon juice, a splash of vodka and about 2 cups of plain, strained yogurt, (you could use Greek yogurt if it’s available to you, otherwise strain 2% yogurt overnight in a sieve). I absolutely love frozen yogurt made with strained yogurt, (I also love eating strained yogurt with maple syrup and blueberries and think I should make a frozen yogurt out of that too) and the pomegranate was perfect with it. It was definitely an experiment gone right.
And last but certainly not least, we’re back on track with using up eggs by making Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is not new to me. I’ve previously exalted the virtues of the humble vanilla bean and after recently making vanilla bean cupcakes with a friend I decided I need a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream fix. David Lebovitz to the rescue again, (although I’ve made vanilla bean ice cream using a variety of recipes and never been disappointed) he’s got a modified version of the Vanilla Ice Cream in The Perfect Scoop, posted on his blog. I chose to go for a richer custard and used a couple extra egg yolks, it was a good choice.
Any suggestions for what flavour of ice cream I should make next? What are your favourites?
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, (from DavidLebovitz.com)
For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won't be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.