Wednesday, July 28, 2004

speaking of ice cream...

i made an incredible lemon ice cream at work the other day. i admit, i've never eaten lemon ice cream before (chocolate is usually my first choice), but the description was intriguing. from cindy mushet's Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style, "the ice cream equivalent of a tall, tingly glass of lemonade on the hottest day of the summer, this is the most refreshing dessert i know of." mmm, how could i resist?

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Double-Lemon Ice Cream
from Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style
by Cindy Mushet

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (8 oz.) sugar
Zest of 3 lemons, in strips
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (6 oz.) freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice

In a medium pot, heat cream, half-and-half, sugar, and lemon zest slowly until barely boiling, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let steep for 30-40 minutes.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks just to blend. Re-heat the cream mixture until just boiling, then slowly pour about half into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks constantly so they don't scramble. Now whisk the yolk mixture
into the remaining cream mixture. Switch to a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula. Cook mixture over med-low heat, stirring constantly, until the the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon (about 170 degrees F). Do not boil. Immediately pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Stir to cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Add the lemon juice to the custard right before freezing in an ice cream machine.

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one thing i would change next time would be to add a pinch or so of salt to the custard, probably after it was cooked, but still warm. one of my old pastry chefs taught me that. it really enhances the flavor of a custard (and many other things), and gives it a longer finish (food speak for makes the flavor last longer in your mouth).

now all this ice cream talk has made me again want to buy a new ice cream machine. maybe someone out there can help me. i only want to spend a few hundred dollars. i want a machine that has its own compressor, and is relatively compact. i don't need to crank out a lot of ice cream. i just want something that will give me super-smooth ice cream. i haven't done a whole lot of research yet. just checked out the selection at sur la table and williams sonoma. there are so many brands out there: musso, de longhi, simac, and i noticed that cuisinart has come out with a new one at williams sonoma. so does anyone have any recommendations? do these mid-priced machines make superior ice cream to the $50 krups and cuisinart? any help would be appreciated.

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