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Things I Learned While Making Ice Cream for the First Time

PengemuS's picture

Okay, so I decided to make ice cream for my girlfriend for St. Valentines' Day (a "Holiday" which I do not celebrate: Why is the medieval feast of a man who was clubbed/stoned/beheaded/drug through the streets in Rome for marrying Christians made to be a day when I am supposed to buy flowers/chocolate/diamonds etc. for someone who/when I can find perfectly good reasons to do that throughout the year...but I digress)

Now first and foremost, this is a sort of 'special' occasion as:

1) I don't have an ice cream maker so everything needs to be done by hand (except the freezing I guess, as I cannot do that by hand......yet)

2) I've never made ice cream before so it will probably be an adventure of sorts as I will be guessing not only on flavour, but on equiptment etc.

Before I even start, I have a decision to make: flavour. Now I understand that I do not have a great deal of experience in making Ice Cream (being the first time and all...I'm not dillusional....yet) so I want to go with something that has a very good chance at being tasty, and something that will not hinder the freezing process (liquour for example) so I start with some vanilla...but, in my usual way, figure that is too simple (psh, vanilla ice cream? Come on Shaun, you can make something harder than that......okay maybe I'm a little dillusional) So I look at what else I have kicking around that I could use for flavouring:

Cocoa: nah, chocolate/vanilla

Chocolate Chips: Sounds stressful with the churning

Coconut: Yeah...I don't have enough

Cinnamon: Hmmmmm Vanilla cinnamon it is

I decided to go with an English Custard/Ice cream recipe which I figure will be undoubtably rich. The first thing I learn is the wonders of boiling milk/cream together and the shear amount of expansion the aforementioned ingredients undergo. While I'm using one of my larger saucepans it is (of course) not large enough. As I fight the milk tide, I pull the mixture from the stove (as soon as the mixture boiled it was time to pull anyway to mix the mixture with the egg yolks) However the saucepan/I am now covered in a wonderful foam/film (now browned from the heat on the saucepan, and stared at on me)

Now, covered in a fine, creamy film, I continue my adventure through the ladeling process (slowly adding the milk/cream mixture to the egg yolks and constantly mixing) and it comes time for cooking the custard. You would think (based on my decsion making/how the cooking is going thus far) that something horrible would happen here...but it actually went perfectly fine..I had a warm, shiny custard with little to no egg chunks within (Shaun 1, Ice Cream 1)

The recipe called for the custard to be be placed in a freezer, and then stirred every twenty minutes for two hours (stirring to ensure that large ice crystals don't form and the ice cream is smooth). I have the day off, so all I am doing is watching futball and doing some writing and this 'every 20 minutes' set up does not sound too bad.

The first twenty: still pretty warm, I stir and replace in the freezer (spending my twenty enjoying a shower to rid myself of the milk film)

20 ii: Still warm, stir, replace

20 iii: End of the first hour, yet still slightly warm...I grow concerned about my freezer temperature, re-organize the freezer a bit

20 iv: all cool, okay, we're getting there

 20 v: no change

20 vi: so according to the recipe, this should be is still basically just cold cinnamon milk...I recheck the recipe: Oh, two hours from COLD custard (Shaun 1, Ice Cream 2)

I'll skip ahead a bit:

Hour iii: getting there

Hour iv: starting to get ice cream shavings on the edges

Hour v: Soft serve consistency! DONE! (ish) We have already eaten dinner (Lamb Shoulder chops with a mango jasmine rice) and we finally try the ice cream: Vanilla-Cinnamon: Fantastic! 

 All in all, I was entertained (it was a sort of cooking adventure) and I ended up with a product I was quite happy with (as was the aforementioned girlfriend), but I like to think I've learned a few things along the way which I will hopefully remember to use the next time I decide to either try making ice cream...or in the case of carefully reading the recipe, you know...always. 

Or perhaps maybe I am just dillusional.

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Joe.Bush's picture
Welcome to Thanks for sharing your experience. The process is fun and your narration is great. What matters is that you enjoyed it.
vikas.kumar's picture
well written! thanks for sharing your experience with us. i too go through my share of fun (mostly) when i'm experimenting with cooking. your profile indicates that you're 'creatively inclined'. it'll be great to read more stuff from you.
shantihhh's picture
Very enjoyable read! My husband makes wonderful ice cream - custard method. My favourite is fresh nectarine-raspberry. There were actually three Valentine's according to Catholic history. The reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s is perhaps what Valentine's Day is based upon. Shanti/Mary-Anne
PengemuS's picture
Thanks for checking out my misadventures :) I have really enjoyed reading a great deal of your blogs/posts as well as I have wandered around the site. As for the Feast of Saint Valentine turning in to Valentines Day: I had heard there were three Valentine's and even came across something talking about how the imprisoned Valentine (one of the three :))sent a "Valentine" to his jailors' daughter, with whom he was smitten and his signing the note "from your valentine" stuck... I dunno, I still will pick something small up or do something (like the aforementioned making of ice cream), but I find it much more enjoyable to surprise people with gifts etc throughout the year :) Oh and I may have to try some of that Nectar/RaspB for the next round This note ended up a little longer than I intended, but it is helping me procrastinate from writing programming code :P
shantihhh's picture
I am fortunate that my husband often surprises me with flowers, a gift, or something nice he will cook. He is a fabulous home-chef-I am blessed. I think when he does things for no-ocassion is always the best and means more for sure! Shanti/Mary-Anne
vandana's picture
Good blog. I guess this is something all of us can relate to...the excitement, the adventure, at times disappointment and of course when it turns out well like ur vanilla-cinnamon, the sheer joy of achievement is really something else. Trying out recipes can be real fun. I am reminded of the first time my hubby and I tried making ice cream and we were peeping into the ice cream maker (while it was busy churning) every few minutes.
shantihhh's picture
Another fabulous ice cream is white pepper ice cream-like wow. Jean-Georges Vongericten serves this on his Black Tower plate as I recall. Shanti/Mary-Anne
Things I Learned While Making Ice Cream For The First Time