Many years ago I was introduced to Bill Cosby’s album titled Wonderfulness. On that album is a track called Tonsils, in which Bill is promised ice-cream in return for the removal of his tonsils. “Ice-cream, I’m gonna have ice-cream,” he crows gleefully before the surgery. To this day I recite that line through my head whenever ice-cream is on the menu – whether I’ve made it or not!
A few years ago, intrigued by the whole process of ice-cream making, I went out and bought a little cheap and cheerful Krups ice-cream churner. It’s the standard sort, where the bowl is frozen for 24 hours beforehand (these days I just keep my bowl in the freezer permanently) and the custard is well chilled even before thinking about churning it.
I did a heap of reading and research and set to work making my first egg custard in about 20 years (I’m not into custard powder, I have NEVER purchased a carton of custard from the supermarket – I just didn’t make custard at all!). I’m a bit of a purist, so there was no cornflour to help with the setting – just eggs, vanilla bean, sugar, milk and cream.
The ice-cream was a success, and although it did set rather hard, it tasted sensational. Since then I’ve experimented with different custard base recipes and have made quite a lot of ice-cream. One day I’m going to actually buy a churner with a built in compressor to make the process that bit quicker, but until then, my little Krups does the job just fine.
For Christmas 2011 I made a batch of white chocolate and raspberry ripple ice-cream and decided to photograph the process. So it is with pleasure I present the recipe I used for this ice-cream, which uses 8 eggs (luckily we have chooks and the most delectable, deep golden free range eggs) and is so smooth and creamy I’m sure even Bill Cosby would enjoy it – tonsillectomy or not.
2,1/2 Cups cream
2 C milk
2 fresh vanilla beans*
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1x100g block of the best white chocolate you can find (for this recipe I used Green & Black’s organic vanilla bean white chocolate)
The raspberry coulis
1,1/2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar (more or less – it’s up to you. I like it a little more tart for this ice-cream)
2×1″ pieces of lemon rind (optional)
For the coulis
Place all ingredients into a stainless steel saucepan and heat gently. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the juices start to thicken. Remove from heat, remove lemon rind and push raspberries through a fine strainer to separate the seeds. Place into a small jug, bowl or jar and chill until ready to use.
For the ice-cream
Warm the cream and milk in a small saucepan with the split vanilla beans (or, in this case, lemon rind) until it just reaches simmering point but doesn’t boil.
Remove from heat.
Remove the vanilla beans (if using) or lemon rind and scrape the seeds out into the milk. Return the beans to the milk, set aside and let infuse for 30 minutes. After infusing, remove the vanilla beans and set aside. They can be rinsed, dried and poked into a jar of sugar for instant vanilla-infused sugar to use in your cooking.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale and thick.
While still whisking, very slowly and a little at a time, pour the hot cream and milk mixture into the egg mixture and mix well to temper the eggs. Be very very careful at this stage – the eggs will cook and curdle before your eyes if you pour too quickly.
Pour the egg and milk/cream mixture into the top of a stainless steel double boiler or a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 80C (180F). Be very careful while cooking – the custard can turn into scrambled eggs very quickly. Believe me, it’s very yucky and you have to start again as they can’t be salvaged once scrambled. Rule of thumb: DO NOT STOP STIRRING! Not once. Not ever.
If you don’t have a thermometer, coat the back of a spoon with the custard. If it looks thick, test by running your finger through it. There should be a clear break holding in the custard where your finger went through. I like to carefully hold the custard at this temperature for a few minutes as it seems to help eliminate the eggy taste that can sometimes happen if it’s not cooked just right.
Remove the custard from the heat and add the chocolate while still steaming hot. Stir well, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
Pour the custard into a clean glass or ceramic jug or bowl. You can strain through a fine sieve if you wish, but I tend not to strain chocolate custards.
Let cool slightly (about five minutes), then cover with plastic wrap so it’s touching the surface of the custard.
This prevents a skin from forming on top of the custard and is easy to peel away when it’s time to churn.**
Chill at least 6 hours.
When well chilled, take out of the fridge and prepare your ice-cream churner.
Start the churner turning and then pour the custard in. Churn until ready, which will be, as they say, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you’re making plain ice-cream at this stage, it’ll be ready for the freezer once churned. As this recipe calls for raspberry coulis, there’s just one more stage.
Take your freshly churned ice-cream and spoon half the mixture into a freezer container (I just use plastic containers with lids – nothing fancy or specialised about that!).
Drop small teaspoons of the raspberry coulis onto the layer and, using a skewer or something similar, swirl the coulis to ripple it through the ice-cream. Repeat with the rest of the ice-cream.
How much coulis you add is up to you, but be careful not to add too much as you’ll end up with pink ice-cream, not rippled ice-cream!
And here it is. Freshly churned, freshly rippled, fresh home-made ice-cream.
I wish I’d taken photos of it being served, but that’ll have to wait until the next batch I make.
*I infused my milk with lemon zest instead of vanilla beans for this ice-cream to cut through some of the sweetness of the chocolate.
**If you have a churner with a built in compressor you probably don’t need to chill the custard. Just go ahead and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.