Monday, December 13, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!

I got myself an ice cream machine. The final choices were the cuisinart ice-50bc and the venetto classic. I read somewhere that the cuisinart production has been discontinued (indicating a possbile lack of spare parts in the future) and when I tested the machine at the shop, it was really noisy. Those reasons and the $700 price tag made me go with the venetto.

First thing I made was an apple blackberry sorbet. I used my own standard recipe which gives pretty decent results as a frozen block blended with a hand blender before a JAM service. The results were pretty good, except that I didn't churn the mix long enough so after ripening in the freezer, the texture wasn't as smooth as it could have been due to the formation of larger ice crystals.

After that pretty successful run, I decided to try my hand at ice cream. There was no other way but the vanilla way. I'm not a big fan but I do believe that the best way to judge the quality of an ice cream label is by tasting it's vanilla flavour. I made a standard creme anglais custard I learned at the coriander leaf and churned it. I didn't have vanilla pods so I used extract. The texture was amazing but the lack of real pods really showed in the flavour of the ice cream, it was also a little too rich. Probably too much heavy cream.

I had anticipated this though and only churned half the custard. I loaded up the other half with a copious amount of Irish cream and churned it, curious to see just how the alcohol content would affect the texture. The results were stunning. The alcohol lowered the freezing point even further and after ripening overnight, the ice cream was incredibly smooth. The liqueur had tempered out the richness of the custard and because of the amount I added, putting a spoonful into your mouth immediately released a bold but pleasant alcohol 'cloud'. Unlike the alcoholic ice creams from Skinny Pizza which were a little overpowering, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Irish Ice Cream & Chocolate Fondant

The next day I decided to try something a little more exciting and prepared some salted caramel. I increased the proportion of whole milk to heavy cream and at the last minute decided to go gelato style as a further experiment so corn flour instead of egg yolks were used to thicken the custard. The custard tasted awesome after being cooled down in the fridge but after churning, the caramel flavour became too prominent. I must have burned it a bit too much. The texture though was really nice and I think the gelato style works best for me. The egg yolks in Singapore have a really eggy smell even when they're fresh from the market and this flavour becomes detectable in the ice cream, something I personally don't like. Gelato it is.

In the churner right now, I'm trying out a barley gelato. No corn flour here, just really thick barley water sweetened with melon sugar. Adding some lemon juice to make lemon barley might make it a nice local flavour palate cleanser. Next up is a water chestnut sorbet :)

Will post a recipe for gelato once I get the proportions right.

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