Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Defining Granita

Granita is sorbet's Sicilian cousin.  It is coarse and crystalline and will thrill you on a humid day.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

If Books Could Chill: Pops!

I thought I was so clever last time I went to Ikea, but then again, Ikea always makes me feel clever. I go around pushing that jumbo shopping cart picking up not just a table, but a Forsby table. Dishes are called Ljuvlig and beds are Noresund. After twenty minutes, I'm like, "Ja, I caan toaatally speak Sveeedish now!"

On the way to the checkout I spied some molds for making ice pops. Score! I mean, Skoar! I went home and got busy making lemon-mint syrup. The syrup turned out A-okay and while I was filling up the freezer molds I nearly collapsed under the weight of my brilliance. "I'm going to suspend whole pieces of mint in these. No one has EVER done THAT before. Ja, ja, ja I'm the cleverist girl in Brooklyn!" Two days later, I was at a bookstore and saw this -

Okay, so I'm not that clever or Swedish but I am industious and terribly excited. Ms. Krystina Castella has put all things delectable in an ice lolly from sour plums to rum. I will be experimenting with this book often. Stay tuned...

Defining Ice Cream

Ice cream, ice-cream, or the ever charming, iced cream, is a frozen dessert usually made from milk and cream combined with fruits or other ingredients, such as chocolate. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with honey, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavorings and colorings are used in addition to, or instead of, natural ingredients (booo!).

The mixture is stirred slowly while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming. If all goes well, the result is positively delicious!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Defining Ice Milk

In my quest to take a baby step or two away from heavy whipping cream, I started wondering - whatever happened to "ice milk?" I seem to recall the term but hadn't heard of it in years. I Googled ice milk recipes and didn't yield much. Further checking revealed that "ice milk" disappeared from the scene in the mid 1990's. Man, I wish the goatee would do the same but I'll save that for another day.

Then it hit me like a ton of Webster's, I need an ice cream dictionary!

Ice milk or iced milk is a frozen dessert with less than 10% milkfat but with the same sweetener content as ice cream. In the United States, the term is now virtually unknown. A 1994 change in the Food and Drug Administration rules allowed ice milk to be labeled "low-fat ice cream."

Ice milk of the '60's, '70's, and '80's, however, was a fairly different product from low fat ice creams of today. In the past, ice milk was simply a low butterfat version of ice cream. With less fat, it retained an icier, almost sherbet-like texture. Manufacturers of today's low fat ice creams attmept to duplicate the texture of ice cream by using gums and stabilizers (boo!).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream or, I love this job

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream is delicious and I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I could take a bath in it. I love it so much I could put it in a tux and take it to the prom. And I'm betting that in some countries, it's a form a currency. Luckily, it's not at all difficult to make. But I don't think you want to let on to to that. I think you want to impress your guests by nonchalantly implying that making it was wildly complicated.

I've done two batches thus far and both tasted amazing. The second one had a better consistency as the first was a little lumpy.

What I learned:
  • If you are making custard and the phone rings, don't stop stirring to answer it. Your custard will be a little lumpy and if you forget to strain it before putting it in the machine, your ice cream will be, too.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c milk
3/4 c honey
dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 c half and half
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbs vanilla

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat but do not boil. Stir in honey and salt.

Pour small amount of hot liquid into eggs then mix into the milk mixture. Stir mixture over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

Cool thoroughly at room temperature. Stir in cream and vanilla then refrigerate until cold.

Prepare in ice cream maker as per manufacturer's instructions.

The Sweet Taste of Success!

Well, it worked. The stars lined up, the angels sighed sweetly, and I had success with the machine - huzzah! Behold, Mango Ice Cream. I would not lie to you, 'tis delicious, doesn't rely on a frightening amount of double cream, easy to make, and it holds its shape rather nicely.
3 c chopped frozen mangos - I got them at Trader Joe's 1 1/4 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c mango nectar
1 c half and half
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a blender, combine 1/2 c sugar with the mangos and salt. Blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine nectar, half and half, the rest of the sugar, and the vanilla.

Mix both lovely concoctions.

Follow ice cream maker's directions.

What I learned:
  • You can spell it "mangos" or "mangoes."
  • Food styling is an art unto itself
  • I can eat a lot of ice cream

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who's on First?

My first batch was boysenberry ice cream. The recipe called for heavy whipping cream and whole berries. Dutifully, I followed the instructions which said nothing about mashing up the fruit but just throwing the berries in. So, that was my first lesson:


After making the custard and pouring the whole thing into the machine, I knew something wasn't right. In a panic, I fished out some of the fruit fruit with a spoon then started smashing them with a fork. It wasn't cute. Because I am a Libra (always searching for balance/somewhat noncommittal) I squished half of the berries and left the other half whole. What I learned:
  • Squish all of the berries. The whole, frozen berries lacked flavor and were too big to chew comfortably.
  • Strain the berries after mashing them. The seeds were bitter and got in the way of fully enjoying all those calories.
  • This is just a personal preference but I realized I don't love large amounts of heavy whipping cream.
So, now, here's the challenge - how to make delicious frozen desserts with minimal heavy (double) cream?

The Machine

How did my boyfriend come to decide that an ice cream maker was the best Christmas gift for me?

"It was a choice between an ice cream maker or a new jacket," he said. "I picked the ice cream maker because, you're a nine year old girl and that's what a nine year old girl wants for Christmas."

Like butter, allow me to clarify.

Because I am silly, enjoy dancing like a maniac, and happen to find fart jokes positively hilarious, my boyfriend thinks I am a nine year old girl. I've told him time and again, "I'm 10! Double digits, dude! Double digits!"

This was our goofy little joke until a friend of mine pointed out, "If you're a nine year old girl, what does that make him?"

Now, it's not our funny joke anymore.

So, the machine. It's the Cuisinart ICE-20. Here's the glamour shot straight from the Cuisinart website:
I happen to love this appliance. It's simple and straightforward. However, I will admit, I miss the old school kind of machine. No, not the hand crank. Only people who don't love themselves miss the hand crank. I mean the kind that were electric and you added your own ice around the sides to the chamber. You had more control with those. If the ice cream wasn't stiffening, just add more ice. The new fangled variety has a chamber that is kept in the freezer. That is, it's taking up valuable real estate in your freezer at all times. Woe be the person who keeps it in the cabinet for it takes eight hours or so for it to freeze. Mine lives in the real estate and truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way. You have to be ready!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Hello.  My name is Raina and I got an ice cream maker for Christmas from my boyfriend, Murray.  This blog shall be about all that I freeze.  I hope you like it.