Friday, 5 June 2009

Ice-cream o’clock and the Supremes

What does any sensible girl, who has to get up at 5.30am the next morning start doing at 10pm in the kitchen? That’s right, start making ice-cream for the first time of course. This sort of thing is very me, you will come to discover, the unusual time-keeping and totally impractical decisions.

I haven’t ever used my ice-cream maker before, as I’ve never had a freezer big enough to accommodate the separate mixing bowl that you need to pre-freeze as well as all the frozen food, ice-cubes, baby food and UFOs (or unidentified frozen objects) I don’t think there is a freezer i n the land without UFOs stowed in their chilly bellies. Lots of icy things in Tupperware whose label has dropped off. I think they might be casseroles?

Anyway, I am here to tell you my friends that making ice-cream is a complete doddle and very tasty indeed (though you knew that about ice- cream before, dur!)

Likewise, if you have never made custard before, and rely on Mr Bird for your essential partner to your apple crumble (I must tell you about Mr Bird sometime, it’s the most romantic story ever) you need to give making it yourself a go. If I can do it at bedtime, on the aga, then I reckon anyone can do it. The quantities of eggs, sugar and milk seems to vary from recipe to recipe, but I went with;

3 egg yolks (with the whites stashed in the freezer to make meringues or cats tongues at a later date, or indeed macaroons, yum! Don’t forget to label them, hoho)
3 oz caster sugar
300ml milk
300ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla essence (or a proper pod if you are minted)
Motown Gold on your ipod
(I find the symmetry of this recipe very pleasing)

You heat the milk to boiling point, whip it off the heat. Beat the yolks and sugar in a separate bowl, add the milk and put it all back in the saucepan on a low heat and stir for 10minutes or so, dancing about to Diana Ross and the Supremes (this bit is essential) Then once it has thickened and looks custardy, splash the saucepan into a sink of cold water and carry on beating from time to time. When it’s cold, add the double cream and vanilla essence to taste. You need to make your ice-cream custard much sweeter than normal custard as the cold will turn the volume down on the taste.

So, I had done all of that and, after some instruction reading shenanigans, got the machine all set up. I turned it on and poured the golden yellow mixture into the frosty bowl. The ice-cream maker churned its magic on the custard and after 10-15minutes it was ready. I tasted a sneak preview before popping the rest in the freezer. It was so scrummy, so creamy, and vanillary. Handsome husband was dozing on the sofa, but I woke him up to taste the fruits of my labour. He was very impressed and we agreed that a certain little someone would also probably by very keen too.

Now I have conquered vanilla, next on the hit list for ice-cream is strawberry, blackberry and chocolate. Not all together of course, but 3 more ice-creams. I plan to reduce the berries to a sweet goo before using them. We are having friends and babies to stay soon, so I will get busy with my new best friend – the ice-cream maker- and fill up the freezer with ice-cream, all whilst still imagining I am in a gold dress, with a giant beehive, dancing to Diana Ross.

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