Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ice Cream Maker Update

I have, in fact, been using my ice cream maker quite regularly. I just haven't posted many recipes, partly because so few of the desserts I've made have stuck around long enough to have their pictures taken. It's a pity, since some of them were quite pretty, but so be it. I may as well post the recipes, anyway. (Several can be made without an ice cream maker; I'll mention that wherever applicable.)

One of my first dairy desserts was a maple-pecan ice cream from Joy of Baking. It was very good, rich and custardy, with a prominent maple syrup flavor. I served it with bread pudding, but it could easily stand alone.

I also tried making Coffee Heath Bar Crunch from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book, but for various silly reasons I didn't end up quite following the recipe. It was yummy, anyway, but I'd rather not post what I did — there were too many little mishaps. Instead, I offer this "concept recipe":

Not Quite Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch

  • ingredients for 1 quart coffee ice cream, from your favorite recipe*

  • 4 original Heath Bars (1 1/8 oz each) or 4 1/2 oz (about 1 cup) Heath Bar pieces (available in the baking isle of many supermarkets)

If using whole Heath Bars, use a sharp knife to cut them into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks. Place the chunks or pieces in a bowl, cover and freeze.

Make the ice cream. After the ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it's done), add the candy, then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.

I've also tried a couple of David Lebovitz's frozen yogurts. I made this strawberry frozen yogurt twice, with fresh California strawberries (the local ones weren't in yet), and Stonyfield Farms whole milk organic yogurt. It came out a gorgeous shade of pink, which I was determined to photograph the second time, but I couldn't find the camera. The flavor was slightly tart and very refreshing. (DH said, "I don't usually like strawberry ice cream, but this I like.") Since I made it with unstrained yogurt, the texture was very light, more like sorbet than traditional frozen yogurt, with just a bit of creaminess.

Just last night, I made this vanilla frozen yogurt, and Oh My Goodness, was it ever wonderful. (Bear in mind that I love yogurt, even plain. This recipe is for real yogurt lovers, not those looking for a less fattening substitute for ice cream.) It would be superb with a little bit of fresh lemon juice and zest, topped with fresh berries. (There are a few tips in the comments for making frozen yogurt without an ice cream maker. Sandhya's method looks simplest.)

Now that I know how creamy frozen yogurt can be, I'd like to try the strawberry version with strained or Greek-style yogurt. Stay tuned.

In the parve department, I returned to my berry sorbet, this time using fresh berries rather than frozen. The berries weren't terrific (I got them from Haymarket), but they still made delicious sorbet. I don't think it was better than the one made with frozen berries, though. Oh, and I accidentally left out the vodka, which didn't seem to do any harm to the texture. (See DebraG's comment on the original post for a tip on making sorbet without an ice cream maker.)

Finally, I tried this chocolate sorbet recipe, also from David Lebovitz. It was rich and chocolaty, and the texture was much smoother than that of my first chocolate sorbet, but it was still slightly gritty. (One of the commenters had the same problem.) This won't stop me from making it again; maybe I can improve the texture by boiling it longer, or something. I served it in a dish of strawberry rhubarb compote, a nice combination that I may repeat.

That's all for now, but there will definitely be more.

*For that characteristic Ben & Jerry's richness, you'll want to use a recipe that makes ice cream with about 25% butterfat. Based on my estimation, this Emeril Lagasse recipe should fit the bill (not that I've tried it). If you prefer to use fresh coffee rather than instant, you can try this recipe, from David Lebovitz (via Elise).

(Cross-posted to the Kosher Blog.)


Middle Sister said...

How do you strain yogurt? Or do you just buy it that way?

elf said...

There are instructions for straining yogurt here. You can also buy strained yogurt (usually called "Greek" or "Greek-style"). The most common brand is Fage Total, which doesn't have a hekhsher but is approved by the Vegetarian Society. I recently discovered a brand called "Greek Gods," which has an OU, but I haven't tasted it. I think Trader Joe's brand also has an OU, but I'm not completely sure.

JZ said...

The ice cream sounds terrific! What a great idea to use yogurt cheese in the froyo.

elf's link involved cheesecloth, so for the lower tech: I put a pasta strainer over a bowl, and line the strainer with a quadruple or more thickness of papertowels, empty a quart of yogurt in, and come back in 4-12 hours. The liquid comes out quicker if it's unrefrigerated, and the lactic acid in yogurt will preserve it. There are lots of uses for it, so no point in only making 1 cup.

katie said...

I remember the maple pecan ice cream! It was sooooooo yummy!!

elf said...

Thanks, Katie!

JZ: Thanks for the tip. Cheesecloth is actually sold at most supermarkets in the kitchen gadget isle, and the only thing that makes it harder to use than paper towels is that you have to have a clean pair of scissors to cut it with. Still, it's nice to know that paper towels can be used. (I recently learned that paper towels are best for straining rehydrated mushrooms.) One of the few product loyalties that I have is to Bounty, and I doubt that you'd need a quadruple layer of those; I think you'd need one or two at most.

Incidentally, I tried "Greek Gods" yogurt today. It's very creamy but doesn't have the tanginess that Greek yogurt is known for. When I read the ingredients, I realized that it was thickened with cream and pectin rather than just strained, which is probably why.

The Greek-owned convenience store where I bought the yogurt also had Oikos, a Greek-style yogurt produced by Stonyfield farms that is also certified by the OU. Oikos has no additives but is only available in fat-free form. (I haven't tried it yet; I just looked it up.) The good news is that at least one of the commenters on the fro yo recipe says that fat-free works.

velorutionary said...


Tried the fro-yo with fat free yogurt once and was a bit disappointed. Tried it again with the "Brown Cow" brand fat free and it was fine...

I also tried cheesecloth and paper towels for straining, and the neatest and best results are still from the lint free towels.

Funny that you mention brand loyalty to Bounty... I too have that loyalty, though I have tried weaning myself off of Bounty in favor of the Seventh Generation product. I then concluded that it may be better to buy fewer rolls of Bounty and finding ways to reduce dependence on paper towels than buying an inferior brand that uses ecologically friendlier materials.

elf said...

Wow, velorutionary -- you're really into this fro-yo thing. (Look who's talking.) I'd like to try it with Oikos, but my next fro-yo will probably be strawberry rather than plain, since I have 4 pints of rather disappointing strawberries in the fridge.

I think you made a good move on the paper towels. Not to sound like a commercial, but Bounty's absorbency allows you to use a lot less paper towel, thereby reducing waste. And reducing dependency on paper towels in general probably does more for the environment than buying an ecologicaly-friendly product (although I confess to using paper towels far too extensively myself).

middle sister said...

Now I feel awkward plugging bounty but I made the strawberry frozen yogurt yesterday and I too was going to mention how well my paper towel straining went. Oh well. This yogurt turned out to be super delicious btw, although I think it would have been better with half as much sugar and more lemon.

elf said...

I didn't know you guys had an ice cream maker!

It's interesting that you say that the strawberry yogurt was too sweet. When I made it with unstrained yogurt I actually thought it was a bit on the tart side. More recently I made blueberry fro-yo with Greek-style nonfat yogurt and it seemed sweeter, for some reason. I wonder whether straining has that effect.