Ice cream! We used our ice cream maker on a pretty regular basis for a few years, but stopped once Chris got pregnant, and then the ice cream maker just kinda stayed buried in a closet somewhere. I decided to break it out today, to make something for James’ birthday party this weekend.
We originally based all of our recipes off of ones in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book, partially because Jeni’s is amazing, but also because Jeni’s isn’t the cheapest option on the shelf. We figured we could pinch some pennies by making it on our own. To an extent, this is true, but also depends on what ingredients you want to use. For example, if you want to use 1/2cup of $18 mead in your recipe, then your cost goes up, and you may be better off with $10 pints. But on the other hand, you get to enjoy the rest of the bottle, so you may just consider this a sunk-cost.
We’ve made boozy ice cream before (it’s actually rare for our recipes to not have a splash of liquor or beer or wine), but this will be my first time using essential oil in cooking. I got it in my head that a mead lavender ice cream sounded amazing. I looked through the book, and her recipe with lavender uses essential oil, so i thought I’d try it. The recipe calls for 2 drops, to give it some aroma. Jeni’s ice cream base can be found all over the internet with just a google search, plus this isn’t one of her exact recipes, so I don’t feel too awkward about posting what I used here (yields one quart):
- 2 cups whole milk (I used Snowville Creamery – the logo isn’t pictured)
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- 1.5 oz cream cheese
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/6 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup mead (I used Brothers Drake)
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
The recipe actually called for 2/3 cup sugar, but i misjudged how much we had left, so I googled sugar substitutions and it was suggested that maple syrup can do 1:1, so i topped off the cup with it. I used Simple Truth’s Grade A Dark Robust (formerly Grade B) for this, and I’m sure it will have a small effect on the final taste. There aren’t too many un-fruited meads available on the shelf around here, so I just grabbed the cheapest one they had, but it’s also one that I’m a big fan of. The Brothers Drake Wild Ohio variety would’ve worked too.
As far as directions go, I’ll go over it kinda quickly. Start by placing a lot of ice inside a large mixing bowl, top with water & set it aside. Make a slurry using the cornstarch & two tbsp milk & set aside. Whisk the cream cheese & salt til smooth & set aside. Combine the remaining milk, cream cheese, sugar, corn syrup in saucepan & get to rolling boil over med/high for 4 minutes, then remove from heat & whisk the slurry in, then gradually whisk the cream cheese in. This is the point where you add your alcohol of choice. Then, if you’re using non-homogenized milk, you need to homogenize it by running it in a food processor for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a gallon ziplock bag (remove as much air as you can) then place the sealed bag in your ice bath. This is the stage I’m at while doing the writeup. Once the mixture is cold (at least half an hour), it goes back to the processor for another 2 minute run, then into the ice cream maker. You can help the mixture chill faster by kneading it periodically, and by spending the mix out within the bag to maximize surface contact – an inch thick blob chills faster than a four inch thick one. Add more ice if it all starts to melt. Once the ice cream maker is flipped on, add your essential oil. You really want to add the oil early to give it time to mix completely – nobody wants a bite of undiluted oil. Once it gets thick & creamy (another half hour minimum usually), it’s time to transfer to a tupperware container with airtight lid, placing a piece of parchment paper over the top of the ice cream, pushing any air out.
I’m still debating whether or not I also want to add some apricot jam to this. If i do, it’s done at the time of packaging, alternating adding ice cream and spooning jam into the container.
Another note is that you don’t -have- to use the exact brands shown, BUT higher quality ingredients yield higher quality results. The first few recipes that we did, we didn’t know about the homogenization step, and without it, the ice cream gets an almost sandy texture to it, so i recommend not skipping it if you’re really looking for smooth silky ice cream texture.