(CNN) — When it’s hot and sticky in the summer, consider it a sign that the universe is giving you an excuse to eat more ice cream. You can get instant gratification by grabbing a cone at your local scoop shop, but why not take the time to make your favorite flavor at home?
This alchemy can be accomplished by any home cook, regardless of skill level. All you need are a few basic ingredients and a little imagination. Here’s how to turn your kitchen into a full-scale ice cream laboratory.
You don’t need pricey equipment
First things first: You’ll need an ice cream maker to churn your frozen concoctions. But you don’t need to dip into your savings to get one that does the job well. “It’s absolutely 100% OK to start off with a basic model — any one will do,” Cuscuna said.
The most affordable models use a bowl that needs to be pre-frozen before use, which does take up space in the freezer and requires advance planning. However, if that additional time and forethought makes sense from a cost perspective, these models are reliable and long-running. Compressor models are more expensive (and heavier) but don’t require any advance freezing.
(If you’re wondering what this food writer uses for her homemade ice cream, after 15 years of developing and testing recipes using a basic freezer bowl model, I switched to a compressor in 2020.)
For a challenge, you can make ice cream without electricity. Though they don’t use it for the large-scale batches sold at The Social, when her family is making ice cream for fun, “we prefer to do the old school method with a hand crank ice cream churner with ice and rock salt,” Cuscuna said. If you’re looking for something to keep the kids busy at the beach house or lake cabin, it may be fun to stash one of these manual models there.
You don’t need to use eggs
Many ice cream recipes use an egg custard base to give the finished ice cream its thick, smooth texture. “Eggs are an emulsifier,” Cuscuna explained, containing both proteins and fats that help maintain the consistency of ice cream as it churns and air bubbles are whipped into the creamy base.
Churning an ice cream base by hand, in an ice cold bowl.
Or try The Social’s method for giving their ice cream bases, all of which are egg-free, more thickness and body. “We puree the mix-ins that we’re using, like brownies or ooey gooey butter cake,” into the ice cream base, Cuscuna explained. Blending ingredients like cakes and cookies into the base gives it “a thicker, creamier, more resonant flavor,” she said.
No-churn and no-dairy ice cream? No problem!
No-churn ice cream might seem like a recent trend, especially if you spend enough time on Pinterest, but the idea has been around for more than a century. The traditional Italian dessert semifreddo, for example, is made by blending whipped cream with eggs and freezing the mixture to a mousse-like consistency.
Homemade lemon ice cream, served with a lemon wedge and mint garnish.
Oksana Bratanova/Adobe Stock
Where to begin?
Whatever you decide to churn, “it’s never going to be bad,” Cuscuna said. Experimenting with homemade ice cream is “more about the combination of flavors that are going to speak to you and resonate to that childlike sense you have,” she added.
July 17, 2022 at 04:36PM