One of the things that we’ve established as a little tradition is to make ice cream at Christmas as gifts for our friends. There’s not much coming off the allotment, so instead we can dig out some fruit from the freezers. And although we have to supplement eggs from our own flock with commercial eggs, it harks back to the prolific days of summer and autumn.
We’ve stuck to simple classic flavours this year: just vanilla and raspberry. We made the custard last night, using our now much-loved Jamie Oliver Home Cooker. It’s not precise enough to heat a custard to an exact target temperature, but set to 90oC on the base, and using a temperature monitor set to 74oC to beep a warning, the tedious process of making a high-cream high-egg custard becomes very straightforward indeed, with no risk of scrambling the egg yolks.
There are any number of variations on the recipe for ice cream. For the record, for each batch of custard we gently heated 1 litre of double cream with half a litre of whole milk, plus a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Meanwhile we beat 8 egg yolks with 300g of golden caster sugar. Once well-beaten, we added warm cream a ladle-full at a time until the mixture was sufficiently thin, then poured it back into the cream and continued stirring and warming until it reached 74oC. It then matured and cooled in the fridge overnight before the final flavourings were stirred in and it was frozen in smaller batches in the Gaggia Gelatiera.
The last batch of ice cream is churning as I write this. It has of course been necessary to carry out organoleptic tests on the product (that is, enthusiastically to taste it), and I can say that I’m very much looking forward to our own share!