Monday, 7 December 2009

Ice cream recipe ~ an easy treat

Ice cream is a pleasant summer treat which I've discovered is very easy to make - thanks to Pete of the "Kai time on the road" television show for mouthwatering inspiration and the Edmonds recipe book for getting me going!

I'm still experimenting with the ingredients. When I first made it I did three samples: one with cream and no yoghurt, one with yoghurt and no cream, and one with a mixture of both.

This one was made with all cream and no yoghurt. It was deliciously, well, creamy!

A number of people enjoyed sampling the three and the most popular flavour was combination of the two. The yoghurt gives it a mild tang. I expect it could be made with less sugar. Readers will no doubt enjoy arriving at their own favourite version!

The basic recipe I arrived at is scrumptious, easy to make and requires only five ingredients. It's comparable in price to shop-bought ice cream depending on which yoghurt you buy. Cyclops is fairly costly but has the advantage not only of being delicious but also seems to be one of the few available in New Zealand supermarkets which exclude gelatin. It is also distinguished by being made from organic milk and containing the beneficial bacteria acidophilus. The low fat variety is fine.

The following ingredients make a bit over two litres of ice cream. 
If you want to make less the quantities are easily divisible by either two or three.
Cream - 300 ml / half an imperial pint / a cup and a half
Yoghurt, unsweetened - 500 gms / a cup and a half
Castor sugar - a cup and a half
Vanilla essence - a teaspoon and a half
6 eggs - separated.

For an even simpler version using a third of the ingredients use: 
1 cup or cream (no yoghurt)
Half a cup of castor sugar
Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and
Two eggs.
This is a great way to use up the last cream in the bottle which might otherwise go to waste.  Then you can have a bit in the fridge to scoop out when you feel like something a bit special to have with a slice of cake or a little preserved fruit.
It makes enough to mostly fill three 250 gram cottage cheese containers!

The method: 
This requires that all ingredients are beaten thoroughly so an electric beater may be helpful. However an ordinary egg beater would be fine, just require a bit more effort!

In addition to the egg beater I use three large mixing bowls and a couple of spoons. Also required is a metal or plastic container with a lid in which to freeze the ice cream.

The following method works well:
Separate the egg yolks and put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Pour the cream into the third bowl and add the vanilla essence to it.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat until stiff. Add half the sugar and beat until the whites turn glossy.

Beat the cream until it's nicely 'whipped'.

To the egg yolks in the third bowl add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture turns pale and resembles creamed butter and sugar. Add the yoghurt to it and beat it in well. The idea is not just to combine it thoroughly but to aerate it as much as possible. Add the whipped cream and continue beating. Add the egg white mixture and beat until everything is evenly combined and smooth.

Your mixture is now ready to freeze.

If you want to add further flavouring fold in additional syrup and or fruit at this point.

Pour into your container, cover it and place it in the freezer. It will freeze fully in about twenty four hours. Yum!!!!!!!!!!

Later Notes:
I've been experimenting with this recipe and have found out a number of things:
  1. Whole pieces of fruit, either fresh or preserved, really aren't suitable for inclusion - they freeze along with the mixture and are then encountered as hard lumps which aren't all that flavoursome.  
  2. Syrup made from blended or mashed fruit is fine - yummy in fact. Last time I made it I used two thirds of the quantities given here and added in a cup of pulp from preserved apricots. It set just as usual and had a good texture and a delicate flavour, so the other ingredients can perfectly well accommodate that much fruit pulp. 
  3. It tends to get a little icicly on keeping, which I suspect is due to exposure to air, and / or changes in temperature from going in and out of the freezer, however briefly. Whatever the reason, it works best to freeze it in smallish containers.
  4. In any case, a little goes a long way - for example, a third of the quantity given above, ie: 2 eggs, half a cup each of cream, yoghurt and castor sugar and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence makes a generous amount for up to two to four people, depending on your appetites and whatever else you serve with it. 
  5. The aeration which comes from the whipped egg-whites, etc, does contribute quite a bit of volumn - if you re-blend the mixture after freezing it - or allow it to melt completely (but why waste it!) you'll find it reduces in volume to about half the size.  So, if you have a nice sized helping and imagine that half of it is cream.... it isn't!  :-)
My purpose in sharing this recipe, along with others, isn't to present the perfect formula, but to pass on what I have enjoyed (and found remarkably easy) in the hope that it will encourage others to experiment and also enjoy!

An even later note (March 2010):
I have amended my notes at the beginning of the recipe to recommend only the one variety of yoghurt which I know is suitable, rather than the two which were there previously.  I experimented with the second brand and found it wasn't suitable at all: although perfectly delicious by itself or on porridge, the texture and flavour it gave the ice cream seemed somewhat starchy and tasted all wrong. This surprised me. I mention this in case you find that your ice cream isn't as pleasing as I have led you to believe it should be - it might be worth trying a different brand of yoghurt. I'm sure there will be other brands which I haven't yet tried which will be fine.


Grace Dalley said...

I made a coulis out of strawberries and found that mixed in beautifully. I toyed with the idea of mixing some sugar in with the fruit but was glad I didn't: it was sweet enough! Although obviously this will depend on the type of fruit you use.
A brilliant recipe, thank you!!

Leigh said...

Thanks Grace, sounds yummy! Could you describe what a coulis is exactly. I think I know... :-)

Grace Dalley said...

Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the case of strawberries, there's no need to strain the puree, because if the fruit is ripe there shouldn't be any chunks left. I just whizzed the strawberries in the blender and poured them into the icecream mixture. If you use frozen fruit you need to fully defrost it first.

Grace Dalley said...

Can I raise a flag here for Easiyo Greek Yoghurt? It's extra thick and creamy, and if you have an Easiyo maker, it works out a lot cheaper than buying readymade yoghurt to put in your icecream. Of course nothing is *quite* as yummy as Cyclops, but it's pretty good.

Grace Dalley said...

I've just made a chocolate version, and I kept everything the same except I added an extra half-cup of the caster sugar and one cup of cocoa. It makes quite a strong chocolately mix. Mmmmm.