I usually double the recipe when making homemade ice cream. It is so good, that it will not last long!
Making the custard:
In a medium-size bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar; beat until thick and lemon colored; set aside. NOTE: If making Chocolate Ice Cream, add the cocoa powder to the egg mixture now.
In a small heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, add milk. Slowly bring milk just to a gentle simmer or until it begins to bubble around the edges (do not let the mixture boil). Remove from heat.
Gradually stir hot milk into beaten egg/sugar mixture with a wire whisk. Pour mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, stirring constantly, heat until the mixture (custard) thickens and will coat the back of a metal spoon with a thin film, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
On your instant-read cooking thermometer, the temperature should reach between 165 and 180 degrees F. This process is known as tempering. NOTE: Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle. If, of course by accident, your custard base does curdle, immediately remove from heat and place in a blender; process until smooth.
The FDA and the USDA advise consumers to use a recipe that contains a cooked custard base when using eggs in your ice cream recipe. The custard base must reach 160 degrees F, measured with a cooking thermometer, to kill the salmonella bacteria. Additionally, it is important to only used pasteurized milk and cream products in making your homemade ice cream.
This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Remove the custard mixture from heat and let custard cool. NOTE: Cool quickly by setting pan in ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Using the ice water method, the mixture will cool in about 15 minutes. Once the custard is cool, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour or until it reaches 65 degrees F. on your instant-read cooking thermometer.
This is the custard base. This custard base can be used in many other ice cream recipes where you want a rich, creamy ice cream. Place mixture back in the refrigerator for at least 4 hour, but ideally for 24 hours. This aging process will give the mixture better whipping qualities and produce ice cream with more body and a smoother texture.
When the custard base is cold, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean scrapings. Stir or whisk just until mixture is well combined. If you want to add any extra additions (fresh or dried fruit, candies or confections, nuts, or alcohol), now is the time (see below for directions). The ice cream is now ready for the freezing process.
Transfer the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Either churn your ice cream by hand or by motor.
The Science of Making Homemade Ice Cream:
Using salt and ice - The freezing procedure has a two-fold purpose, the removal of heat from the mix and the incorporation of air into the mix. Heat is removed by conduction through the metal to the salt-water brine surrounding the freezing can. To help the ice cream mixture to freeze, the container holding the mixture is surrounded ice and rock salt. If you use too much salt, the mixture will freeze too quickly and will not be smooth. If you use too little salt, the ice cream might not even freeze. Unless your ice cream recipe says otherwise, use 1/2 cup rock salt to 4 cups crushed ice.
Ice Cream freezer is full and ready to go. We are now making homemade ice cream!
Churning - Good ice cream is determined not only by the taste but also the texture. The continuous churning with the ice cream freezer is important because it adds air into the mixture. This makes the ice cream smooth and increases its final volume.
Once you start the churning process, don't stop! If you stop for a long break, large ice crystals would form in the coldest part of the mixture. This would produce a grainy texture in parts of the ice cream and the center may not even freeze. The continuous churning also distributes the flavorings and brings the un-frozen portions of the mixture to the surface. The ice cream mixture usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes to freeze and the freezing container is then placed into a freezer to allow the ice cream to harden.
When the ice cream is done, either serve and enjoy or transfer to freezer containers and freeze until firmer. NOTE: Freshly made ice cream will be soft. To freeze, put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours or overnight.
Makes approximately 1 quart of ice cream.
Storing Homemade Ice Cream: Homemade ice cream does not store as well as store-bought ice cream. For best results, transfer leftover homemade ice cream into a plastic airtight container. Store in the freezer for no more than one week. If the texture of the stored ice cream is grainy, let the ice cream soften, then beat it before serving to smooth the texture.
Customize your ice cream recipes with fruits, nuts, and flavorings: These extra added ingredients should be added about 8 to 10 minutes after the ice cream has begun freezing (at this point the mixture will be thick enough to prevent the chunks from sinking to the bottom). Some additions will need a little preparation before adding, and some ice cream bases may need some adjustments to accept the additions.
Fresh Fruit and Dried Fruit:
Fresh Fruit - Fresh fruit contains a lot of water, which will always result in iciness. One solution is to use a little more cream and a little less milk in the base. It is also recommended to add some skim milk powder to the mixture.
Dried Fruit - Dried fruit, such as raisins or dried cherries, need some liquid before they can be added to ice cream. Plump them in fruit juice or alcohol (such as rum, brandy, or kirsch) for 1 to 2 hours. You will not need very much liquid, approximately 2 tablespoons for each 1/2 cup of dried fruit.
Candies and Confections:
Nuts - For best flavor, nuts should be toasted before adding them to the ice cream. Toasting Nuts - Toast nuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F. oven for about 10 minutes. Shake the sheet occasionally to prevent burning. The nuts are ready when they color. Pistachios do not work well in making ice cream as these nuts absorb a lot of water and quickly become soft in ice cream.
Alcohol/Spirits - Alcohol will reduce the freezing point of the ice cream and also makes the ice cream easier to scoop. After you cool the custard base, add 1 tablespoon of alcohol for each 1 pint of base. For stronger flavor, add 2 to 3 tablespoons alcohol to the mixture as it cooks. The heat will cook out some of the alcohol. Adding some skim milk powder (start with 1 teaspoon) to the base will help make up the difference.
Creme de Cassis
Creme de Menthe
Kahlua or Tia Maria
Rum or whiskey