Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jeni Knows Beans About Ice Cream

carton of ice creamspoon of ice creamHappy Birthday to Me! Thanks Mom for the gift card and thanks girls for pointing out that Jeni Britton Bauer has a cookbook full of her splendid ice cream recipes. (Those of you who were with us last summer for Kristin’s grad party know all about our love of ice cream and my…ahem…overestimation of the amount we would need. Let’s just say our church was very, very happy to partake of the leftovers.)  But that is Amy’s and this is Jeni’s and boy are we in love!
When visiting our favorite Nashvillians, we do love to find the local hot spots and this summer was no different. We gladly stood in a long line with the other friendly folks and waited for our turn to order Roasted Cherries w/ Goat Cheese, Ugandan Vanilla, Brambleberry Crisp, & Buckeye State. Well worth the wait!
So where is the recipe? Well sweet readers, I’m not going to give you one this time. Instead I’ll give you a few previews and encourage you that for the same price of 1 pint bought locally (Hubbell & Hudson, $12.99) you can buy the book and reach ice cream nirvana for yourself. It’s really that good. No, make that incredible!
What I’ve learned from Jeni-My-Mentor:
Ice, therefore water, is the enemy. Cook the milk and cream down to eliminate the excess. Use a little cornstarch and corn (or tapioca) syrup for their thickening and sweetening properties that don’t add water.  Don’t mix fruits directly into the ice cream (hello frozen ice chunks) but reduce them to a concentrated syrup that can be layered with the ice cream before the final freeze.
Flavor is key. Use the very best ingredients and don’t muddy them up with unnecessary things. Like eggs. That’s right, you will have an incredibly smooth, thick frozen dessert but no eggs needed. My vanilla beans weren’t from Uganda but I do believe they were from Madagascar. Use the good stuff and you won’t be sorry!
Equipment:  A Cuisinart countertop ice cream maker, the kind with the insert you keep in the freezer, is what you need to get. It takes less than 10 minutes to make the base, 30 to quick chill in an ice bath, 30 to freeze, and then 4 hours to finish in the deep freeze.
Dairy Specs: Organic whole milk, organic cream cheese (helps bind and thicken – you only use 3T. so no worries about this tasting like frozen cheesecake. Organic is milder tasting.), and heavy cream.
Chocolate: Oh yes you knew we would get here sooner or later didn’t you? Jeni includes plenty of sauces and toppings in her cookbook and yesterday we made our very own Bombe Shell topping. Melt chocolate with the secret ingredient (coconut oil), layer in with the vanilla bean base, and you have pieces of dark chocolate that will melt in your mouth.
Don’t let the crazy flavors scare you off. If Cardamom Lime or Black Raspberry Sweet Corn sound a little odd, wake up your tastebuds with some Dark Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla, or Roasted Strawberry.  Have fun!
(*Yes, I bought some cardboard freezer containers and let my artist-in-residence have fun with the labeling.)

No comments: