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B*tch Bakes—When Ice Cream Calls …
… Listen, and Make Some!
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds …
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
The above is from one of my favorite poems, Wallace Stevens’ “The Emperor of Ice Cream.” And why shouldn’t ice cream rule? After all, Sunday, July 16th, is National Ice Cream Day in the U.S.
And despite what you may think, ice cream is insanely easy to make, better than you can get in any store or shop!
When I was a kid, ice cream felt larger than life—something so wondrous and easy-to-bring-delight that I never conceived that people actually made it (let alone feature the idea that I could make it). Like the conjunction of the spheres and shooting stars, it just happened, and when it did, everything was right in the cosmos.
Not too long ago, I dared think about making this stuff of happiness. I was inspired watching competitors on The Great British Bake-Off just whip ice cream as part of bigger, more elaborate desserts. Of course, they were equipped with high-end, compressor-and-churn machines that are way out of my price range.
But guess what? Our great-great-grandparents gamed science with buckets, hay, rock salt, and hand-churns, and made gobs of the stuff at family gatherings. Me? I have a KitchenAid stand mixer. All that stood between me and making ice cream was a gel-filled bucket, attachment, and paddle. I use essentially the same ingredients our forebears did—cream, milk, and sugar (with the addition of one ingredient that makes ice cream today beat the pants off what you could get back in horse-and-wagon days).
And I made the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. No, really! It’s that easy. Here’s my recipe for a simple base you can make beforehand and store in the fridge till you’re ready to churn and add your favorite flavorful yummies, like Oreo Cookies (what I’m adding tomorrow!), fruit, cookie dough—your desire means there’s no limits to the magik you can make.
B*tch’s Base—Ice Cream
Prep Time: 20 min, 6-12 hr cure Cook Time: n/a Total Time: 6.3-12.3 hrs Difficulty: Easy Servings: 1-1.5L
Sm mixing bowl
Airtight Container for Curing
0.5C (100g) granulated (caster) sugar
2T (16g) dry milk powder
0.25t xanthum gum
(No, Xanthum Gum is not some freaky chemical; it’s made from simple sugars via fermentation by Xanthomonas campestris bacteria. Its magik is in how it thickens and stabilizes ice cream from the evil enemy—ice crystals. You can easily find it in most any grocery store in the baking aisle. I use Bob’s Mill brand.)
2T (43g) agave syrup (or light corn syrup)
1.3C (315ml) whole milk
1.3C (315ml) heavy cream
1. In sm mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients till fully combined.
2. To med saucepan, add syrup, then whisk in whole milk.
3. Add sugar mixture from Step 1 to saucepan and vigorously whisk to smoothness.
4. Over med heat, stir often, adjusting heat to prevent simmer, till sugar fully dissolves (3-5 min, or hits 160-175°F/71-80°C).
5. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream till fully combined.
6. Transfer base to airtight container and refrigerate at least 6 hrs, up to 24 hrs.
(As Tom Petty sagely noted, the waiting is the hardest part. Another reason our ancestors’ ice cream can’t hold a candle to what you’ll make is that they didn’t have refrigeration technology, meaning they had to eat it as soon as they made the base and churned it. Curing in the fridge allows proteins to relax for the creamiest texture and tastiest flavor. Don't kid yourself by hurrying this crucial step. You want the best ice cream you've ever eaten? Cure this bad girl the maximum time.)
7. After curing, stir base before adding to ice cream maker. (The base will separate during the cure, as Robert Smith might tell you. See what I did there?)
8. When your base hits the soft-serve stage in the churn, add your favorite flavors/yum-yums.
You can keep base in fridge up to a week or freeze up to 3 months (though you must thaw frozen base before using in ice cream maker).