More Than One Way to Make Ice Cream

January 13th, 2007

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Remember I mentioned that I had received a few food-related gifts for Christmas? Well, the most exciting, and by far the largest surprise was courtesy of my darling boyfriend, who took it on himself to get me a commercial-style ice cream maker!

Although my original, faithful ice cream maker had been serving me admirably, it was undeniably thrilling to have the chance to make ice cream without the last-minute, stomach-sinking realization that I’d forgotten to put the bowl in the freezer, or the frustration of trying to make ice cream on a scorching summer day when the bowl just doesn’t seem to get cold enough.

That said, I was surprised to read in Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life that she prefers the insert-style cream maker to the compressor-style machine, mostly because she feels that the latter takes too long to churn ice cream. The faster an ice cream base can be chilled and churned into ice cream, the better its texture will be – too long and your ice cream will come out grainy, not smooth.

Zuckerman suggests an ideal of 15 minutes churning time to go from base to ice cream. With both of my ice cream makers, I have been able to make ice cream in between 20-30 minutes, with very satisfactory results. I can see the insert-style maker may have an advantage if you are trying to lower the churning time – if you take the time to chill the insert so it’s really cold, and if you have a second bowl also chilled as a backup in case the first bowl gets too warm (I got two bowls with my insert-style maker when I bought it), it is possible to get ice cream very quickly.

Regardless of which style maker you have, there are still a couple of things you can do to improve your ice cream’s chances of success. 1)Chill the base before churning. Almost all ice cream recipes say to chill the base in the refrigerator for a couple hours. I always chill my bases overnight – not only does a colder base decrease churning time, it will also thicken as it sits, leading to a creamier result. 2) Churn less base in the maker at a time. This is Zuckerman’s suggestion, and it makes great sense: less base will freeze faster and with better results.

So how do I feel about my Christmas present? Well, I made recipes from Zuckerman’s book, with beautiful results:

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Mandarin Orange Sorbet with Hazelnut Shortbread

A gorgeous shard of sun in the middle of winter. A simple sugar syrup is combined with juice from winter citrus and sparked with cinnamon and star anise. It’s like eating snow infused with sunshine. Accompanying the sorbet is Zuckerman’s buttery, nutty hazelnut shortbread. The high proportion of butter in the recipe gives it a dreamy, melting tenderness – just what you want in the best of shortbread.

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Apple Cider and Caramel Ice Cream

The recipe describes this as tasting like Tarte Tatin, and it does. The sweet tang of apples mixes with buttery caramel to make an intriguingly complex – and utterly delicious – ice cream. This ice cream is almost ridiculously creamy; after a couple of days in the freezer it is still soft and scoopable. A crispy butter pecan tuile takes the place of the Tarte Tatin crust – a delicate counterpoint to the lushness of the ice cream.

So my verdict? I think my new ice cream machine performs quite well; both ice creams came out smooth and luscious, without discernible crystals or graininess. And I was able to make two batches of ice cream one after the other without waiting – definitely a plus. However, I’m not sure I’m ready to regulate my old ice cream maker to the donation pile yet. I guess I’ll be making more batches of ice cream before I can come to a final conclusion…

P.S. I’m off for a quick jaunt to Maui to escape the sudden chill that’s descended on San Francisco. See you in a week!

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • Patricia Scarpin #1

    Anita, you are an ice cream artist – both of them look so professional!

    I’m crazy for oranges so the first one is my favorite. But I would certainly eat them both!

    I want an ice cream maker too! :D

  • sam #2

    Congrats on your new ice cream maker! The Mandarin orange sorbet and the apple cider and caramel ice cream look delicious. Happy New Year Anita! I look forward to all your posts in 2007. Cheers!

  • Kat #3

    Now I’m really jealous because you have TWO ice cream makers…these look really delicious!

  • Ellie #4

    Gorgeous photos! I really need to get myself an ice cream maker so I can make my own delicious iced treats!

  • ParisBreakfasts #5

    Total Yummers!
    What else can one say..
    Are you taking the ice cream maker with you to HI?
    Pineapple sorbet…

  • peabody #6

    Oh, that apple cider one looks so yummy.

  • Kate Zuckerman #7

    Dear Anita:

    I’m so thrilled to see your excellent ice cream and sorbet results! I’m happy to hear my tips and recipes worked out for you. And I’m also glad to hear that your new ice cream maker is doing its job. Have fun with it!

    Yours,
    Kate Zuckerman

  • Food Notebook #8

    Hokey smoke Bullwinkle! The bloggers have some good reading tonight!

    Just got back from a fabulous prix fixe dinner at Butterfly in San Francisco (more on that tomorrow), cranked up…

  • bea at La tartine gourmande #9

    They look delicious! What a lovely gift. How big is it?? I have not yet tried Kate’s icecreams but they are on the list!!!

  • Caty #10

    They both look delicious but my favourite has to be the orange sorbet.

    Have a good time in Maui.

  • Shawnda #11

    You’ve made me want an ice cream maker. In the middle of January. When it’s freezing outside :)

  • Maria #12

    Both creations look fabulous! I am jealous you got the commercial gadget…are you loving it? I am debating about getting one. I recently made banana and dark chocolate gelato…a great combo!

  • Sara #13

    Apple cider ice cream sounds fabulous, I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Amira #14

    Hi Pastry girl, Just stumbled upon your blog today….Fantastic! Do you know where I can find the recipe for the Orange Sorbet and Hazelnut shortbread online??

    Also I added you to my blogroll if that is ok?

  • Brady #15

    Hi I just found Dessert First and I love it. I am attempting to get a Baking and Patisserie Certificate and this blog and your Flickr page are Wonderful…..also added you to my links list …wish I could commit to my blog like Dessert First….
    Keep up the good work.!

  • Lisa #16

    I’m so envious! I’ve wanted an ice cream maker for years now but haven’t done anything about it (mostly because I’m afraid I’ll make ice cream every day and eat it every night hee!)

    I love the flavors you made.. I’m a huge fan of anything orange and anything apple – so both are right up my alley! :D

    ‘kay you need to play with the new one more when you get back.. all for the sake of testing. Yanno. ;)

  • Anita #17

    Patricia,
    Thank you! They were both yummy. Once you get an ice cream maker, you’ll wonder how you got by without one…:)

    Sam,
    Thanks so much! They were fun recipes to try. You can expect there will be a lot of ice cream posts this year:)

    Kat,
    Yes, two ice cream makers would make a LOT of ice cream! It’s a challenge deciding which one to keep!

    Ellie,
    Thank you! Ice cream is fun to make but a real pain to photograph! Love making ice cream at home though – I advocate getting a maker:)

    Carol,
    That big guy would be a little heavy to lug on the plane:) I do want to make some tropical sorbet after visiting Hawaii though:)

    Peabody,
    It’s very original and different -great if you can get some real fresh cider!

    Kate,
    I loved using your recipes – thanks for sharing them! I’m looking forward to making more of them!

    Bea,
    Kate’s recipes are great – I know you’re a fan of her book too! The machine is pretty sizable, about 16″x11″x about 11″ high, and I definitely need two hands to lift it! It’s been fun using it, though!

    Caty,
    The orange sorbet was very tasty! I had a great time in Hawaii – will report soon!

    Shawnda,
    Thank you for the compliment:)I’m just warming up the unit for heavy use in the summer:)

    Maria,
    Thanks! Your ice cream creation sounds delicious! I like the professional maker a lot, but like I mentioned in my post, I don’t think it’s necessary for making great ice cream at home – an insert-style maker will work well too, unless you plan on making LOTS of ice cream at one time!

    Sara,
    It’s a very different and delicious recipe – like a caramel apple turned into ice cream!

    Amira,
    These recipes are from Kate’s cookbook and I’m not sure if they have been posted online yet. I would be very flattered if you added me to your blogroll!

    Brady,
    Thanks so much for visiting, I’m glad you like Dessert First! Congrats and good luck on getting your certificate, I’m excited you’re pursuing your love of baking! Doing the blog does take a lot of time- I wish I could post more often – but I feel really good when I manage to get one done!

    Lisa,
    I am definitely going to do a lot more testing on the ice cream machine!:) It’s great to have homemade ice cream – I’m not going to steer you away from buying your own:)

  • Ari (Baking and Books) #18

    What a delicious post. I haven’t made ice cream since I got back from Israel, but maybe I should – even if it is 30 degrees outside!

  • Steven #19

    Hi Anita,

    I’ve just come across your blog and it’s my kind of site since I’m a dessert fiend. The sorbet and ice-cream look fantastic. I’ve got one of those put-in-the-freezer ice-cream makers which I love using. Like you said, the base needs to be well-chilled for it to work efficiently and the product is more than satisfactory.

  • Swee #20

    they looked really good. I’m still yet to try Zuckerman’s recipes even though they look very tempting. But I have the non-commercial one, so, i really have to plan ahead if i’m going to make a couple of flavours of ice cream for a dinner party. :(

  • KB #21

    What type of insert style maker did you buy? I am interested in something that takes less room than my bulky cuisinart maker.

  • Anita #22

    Hi KB,
    I did buy the Cuisinart 1.5 quart ice cream maker – I believe the link is in the post above. I am not sure if there are smaller ice cream makers that work effectively – perhaps one of the ice and salt-type ones? although I have not tried any of them. Good luck!

  • Miss Scarlett #23

    Crossing my fingers that hubby gets me one of the little Cuisinart ice cream makers for Christmas. I need to start dropping hints!!!

  • Linda K. #24

    That apple cider and caramel ice cream recipe looks absolutely divine! I must try it out, maybe during this long weekend. Your blog is a real delight to read. Keep it up!

  • Shari #25

    It’s really great to hear good things about the Cuisinart ice cream maker. I’ve been going back and forth between buying this one and the Musso Lussino. I might even just go out and buy one right now so i can have some of that Mandarin Sorbet ASAP.

    Thanks so much for the awesome recipes!

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