Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ice cream base!

We have some full fat Bannister Downs milk and cream left from the Breakfast with Benefits, as well as a bunch of fruits - so I decided to make some ice cream and flavour it with mango!

Its such a simple recipe - you can use a machine or just freeze it (Ill explain more about that later!). Ice creams are basically just a custard base with flavours added to it. Any recipe for custard will do, but this one is super easy! For a richer mix, use egg yolks rather than whole eggs - up to you though!

Heres the recipe:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  •  500ml double cream
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod/splosh of vanilla essence
Now, you can fiddle with the amounts of cream and milk, as long as its full cream. If you choose to use skim/low fat milk it still tastes great, but its not as creamy and youll have more ice crystals forming, which isnt what you want from your ice cream!

1) Heat the milk and cream up in a pan (do not boil) with the vanilla pod, take off the heat and leave to steep for the time it takes you complete the next step.
2) Cream the eggs and sugar together until theyre ribbony and pale yellow.

3) Add a cups worth/ladle full of the warm milk into the eggs and whisk - this is to get the eggs at a temperature closer to that of the milk.
4) Pour the egg mixture into the warm milk little by little and whisk - you dont want your eggs to hit the milk and scramble!
5) Pour into your ice cream maker as per the instructions!

Now, if you dont have an ice cream maker that is fine - you can make just as delicious, creamy ice cream without one, its just more labour intensive, sort of! The only thing you have to do is to put it in a container and stick it in the freezer instead of the machine and leave it for an hour. Come back to it and beat it until the ice crystals are gone - thats the secret, to beat it every so often to get rid of the crystals! The more often you do this, the better, and the higher the fat content of your ingredients the less often you need to do it (because theres less water in there). You should do it 2 or 3 times though, to incorporate more air and bust those crystals! 

In terms of flavouring, you can use anything you like really, thats the beauty of the blank canvas that is ice cream base! If you want to add wet ingredients, add them before you put the mix into the machine, or into the freezer. Ive blitzed the flesh of 2 fat juicy mangoes and added it to the machine with the base.

Blended mango goodness

If you want to add dry ingredients you should add them later on in the process (biscuits/maltesers/meringues etc) as they will just break up and you wont get a chunky texture. If its something like berries or nuts you should add them later so they dont all sink to the bottom of the mix, as well as coating them in icing sugar. 

There are soooo many different flavours, you just need to experiment! Pouring in melted chocolate and stirring gives you stracciatlla (choc chip), pureed fruit, broken up chocolate bars, grilled fruits, caramels... The choice is yours! I have made chocolate orange ice cream by Nigella Lawson and it was outta this world!

Once you make ice cream for the first time you will never look back!!

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