easy desserts & recipes: serious vanilla ice cream recipe by alton brown
We’ve all heard it. As kids we say it and as adults we think it. “I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.” We are sure that there are some folks out there who don’t care for ice cream. However, ice cream is by far one of our favorite desserts. So, as the weather continues to warm we would like to devote a post or two or three to our all time favorite summer treat: ice cream.
Let us take this opportunity to define ice cream and a few other frozen treats.
1. Ice Cream: a frozen food containing cream or milk and butterfat, sugar, flavoring, and sometimes eggs.
2. Gelato: a rich ice cream, made with eggs and usually containing a relatively low percentage of butterfat.
3. Sorbet: a frozen food made from fruit puree that is whipped.
4. Sherbet: a frozen food made from fruit, milk and less than 2% butterfat.
Of course, there is frozen yogurt, ice milk, low fat ice cream, Italian ice, etc. We love them all and will write about most of them; however we will now get to a brief history of our beloved ice cream:
According to food historians ice cream’s origin can be traced back to China as early as 3000 BC. The first frozen treat was probably more closely related to sorbet and less like ice cream. This frozen treat from the China is thought to have made its way to Italy due to the travels of Marco Polo, but there is no definitive proof.
During the 17th century a more modern version of ice cream found its way to the tables of Italy where some food historians believe it was invented. It is thought that the first ice creams were simply sweet cream or custards (more like French ice cream that is egg based) and chilling them with ice, calling it “iced creams”. Because retaining ice during warm months, before the invention of refrigeration, was something that only the well-to-do could afford, ice cream was not enjoyed by the masses during the summer months.
Once refrigeration was invented the ice cream industry took off. Today we enjoy a variety of ice cream as manufacturers continue to delight us with their flavorful sweet concoctions. Making ice cream your own ice cream allows you to create your own flavors, however if you have never made ice cream a good place to start is with a recipe for good ole’ vanilla.
We love all the fancy, complex flavors of ice cream available on the market, but there is something to be said for the creamy, rich goodness of vanilla ice cream. It is humble and inviting. Plus, it is a blank canvas awaiting any number of toppings to accompany it.
We adore Alton Brown and have used yet another of his recipes. What we like best about this recipe is his use of the peach preserves. Who would have thought to add them in a recipe for vanilla ice cream?! The preserves add to the richness in flavor, allowing it to stand on its own, no topping needed. The name for this ice cream suits it perfectly:
Serious Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe from Alton Brown)
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peach preserves (not jelly)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.
Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.
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