You need to make the base far enough ahead of time that it can chill thoroughly before going into the freezer. The night before is good.
When the ice cream machine has finished its work, the ice cream will be very soft set. It will need to be removed from the ice cream freezer and packed into a container to become firm enough to scoop. (This is called ripening in old cookbooks.) This can take from two to four hours.
To speed freezing, line a 9-inch square baking pan with a long enough piece of plastic wrap to fold back over the top. Spoon the ice cream into the prepared pan and fold the plastic wrap to cover the ice cream. The shallow metal pan will conduct the cold so the ice cream will set up faster, but the time needed will depend on the temperature in your freezer.
If you can’t bear to wait, spoon the soft ice cream into a glass and eat it with a spoon.
The recipes make a little more than four cups before freezing. That amount fits into a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker, the kind with the canister you keep in the freezer.
Your ice cream maker may hold a different amount. You might want to double or half this recipe, depending on your own machine.
Each of these three ice creams are made with the same vanilla base. I’ve used pure vanilla extract here because I didn’t want the flecks of vanilla bean in the finished ice cream. If you don’t mind them, omit the vanilla extract.
Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the milk mixture as it begins to warm.
Tahini and honey both flavor and sweeten the base to make Sesame Cherry ice cream.
Sesame brittle candy and dried cherries are swirled into the ice cream as it finishes freezing. This flavor is a little nutty and slightly bitter, not unlike halvah candy.
The sesame brittle is usually found in the produce department of grocery stores in small packets of 4 pieces. Rap the unopened packet on the counter several times on each side to break up the candy. Open and dump onto a cutting board and give it a chop to break up any large pieces. Two packets should give you about 2⁄3 cup of brittle pieces and crumbs.
Dried cherries give a more intense cherry flavor than fresh and a nice chewiness. Chop them roughly in halves or smaller so the pieces will distribute more evenly through the ice cream.
For the blackberry ice cream, add the blackberries at the end of freezing so they retain more of their shape and give a swirl of color. If you like, you can add the berries as the ice cream just begins to freeze. That will make the ice cream more of an even color with pieces of the berries.
You could switch out the blackberries for raspberries or crushed peaches, but whatever fruit you use, it should be perfectly ripe verging on just past that so you have the best flavor.
Frozen under-ripe fruit is tasteless.
If you make peach ice cream, add 1 ½ teaspoons of almond extract along with the vanilla, either bean or extract.
The chocolate ice cream is made with the same base ingredients but combined in a little different order. Cocoa powder gives a deep chocolate flavor but it’s airy consistency makes it difficult to mix with a liquid. Combining the cocoa powder with the sugar and salt first gives the cocoa powder something to grab onto.
Slowly whisking in some of the milk makes a paste you can whisk energetically until smooth.
Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time, then the rest of the milk and cream.
Each recipe calls for four egg yolks. Use the leftover whites to make ice cream cones. They are best made ahead of time so they have time to cool and become crisp.
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature until you’re ready for them. They should keep for several days.
Vanilla Ice Cream
- 4 large egg yolks (save whites for cones)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt Combine yolks, sugar and salt in large saucepan.
Slowly whisk in milk. Cook over low heat, stirring slowly and constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Strain and chill. Freeze according to ice cream freezer instructions. Pack into a bowl or other container and freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
Sesame Cherry Ice Cream
- Vanilla ice cream base
- ½ cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2/3 cup chopped dried tart cherries
- 2/3 cup chopped sesame brittle candy (2 to 3 packages) Measure tahini in a bowl.
Stir in honey. Slowly whisk in about ½ cup of the strained but still warm ice cream base to loosen the mixture. Stir back into the rest of the base.
Freeze according the ice cream freezer instructions.
When the ice cream is done, sprinkle the cherries and chopped sesame brittle into the ice cream freezer as it turns, letting the machine run for a minute to mix in them in.
Pack the ice cream into a bowl or other container, cover airtight, and freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream
- Vanilla ice cream base
- 1 ½ cups blackberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar Combine the blackberries and sugar. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften the berries, then cover and refrigerate until the ice cream is almost frozen.
When the ice cream is done, slowly spoon the blackberries and juice into the ice cream freezer, letting the berries make a swirl through the ice cream. Pack into a bowl or other container, cover airtight, and freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
Chocolate Ice Cream
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks In a saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk.
Whisk until smooth. Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk in the rest of the milk and cream.
Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, to 160 degrees. Strain and chill. Freeze according to ice cream freezer instructions.
Pack into a bowl or other container and freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
Waffle Ice Cream Cones
- 4 egg whites (about ½ cup)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 4 tablespoons ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt Preheat a waffle-cone maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions OR preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat.
Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and extract for a minute, until it looks a little foamy. Whisk the flour and salt into the egg mixture until completely incorporated. Whisk in the cooled butter. The batter will be very thick.
Scoop a scant ¼ cup batter onto the waffle-cone maker. Using a small offset spatula, spread the batter evenly over the surface.
Close the lid and until golden brown. Wait at least one minute before raising lid to check.
If using the oven, scoop a scant ¼ cup batter in two evenly spaced places on Silpat. With an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread thinly and evenly to a 5-inch circle.
Bake about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Quickly remove the waffle from the waffle-cone maker and shape it around the cone that should be included with the wafflecone maker. Hold the cone for a few seconds to set its shape. Set the cone on a rack, seam side down, to cool completely.
Shape oven baked cones in the same way, rolling them around a triple-layer piece of foil rolled into a cone.
You also can drape the cookies over an upside down custard cup to form a bowl.
Let cool and store airtight.
Makes about 10 cones.
Variation: If you’re using a krumkake or pizzelle iron, pour about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture onto each portion of the iron. Press down a little to distribute the dough and make the cones thinner. Bake about 1 ½ minutes or until golden brown. Shape into cones.