Awesome Recipes, Dessert
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The Ice Cream Files: Ben, Jerry & Mr D

It is said that Marco Polo was the first European to taste ice-cream, having sampled it (often I’m sure) during his travels in Asia.

He was sufficiently impressed by the sweet and sticky stuff that he brought the process home with him and introduced it to the polite members of Venetian society.  Marco PoloAnd the rest, as they say, is history, as ice cream has become a firm favourite in every country.  (It’s important to acknowledge here that while Marco Polo has the best story, the Persians also have a claim on inventing ice cream.)

Of course, cold and creamy desserts have evolved immensely over the centuries and each culture has added its own twist.

ice cream historyFor example, while most use dairy products some use sheep or goat’s milk, while other variations may include the use of grains and nuts such as rice flour or almond milk.

Traditionally, the Italian word “gelato” is associated with ice-cream, however there is an important distinction between the two.  Gelato has “less air” than ice cream, meaning that the base it is not as intensely whisked as the ice cream, but it also contains less fat – always a good thing for the sweet-toothed to hear.

The result is a cream with a thicker consistency but a lighter density. Magical.I was born and raised in Mexico, a sun-kissed country where, as children, my brother and I had the most amazing mango, coconut and strawberry ice-cream made especially for us by our grandad during spring and summer. Many decades after, I find myself again in the loving company of a highly-skilled ice-cream-maker.

We’re big ice cream fans here, the first thing ever that MrD made for me  as an edible token of his love was chocolate, followed by raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, cookies, and later, cherries and Oreo cookies.

Until recently I haven’t attempted to prepare ice-cream simply because I much prefer being spoiled and having someone else make it for me instead.  However, while I’ve overcome my selfishness and dabbled with the ice-cream maker (with some sublime results, even if I do say so myself), I must confess that I’d still rather have someone else making it for me instead.  Old habits die hard. It all begins with a classic Ben & Jerry’s sweet cream base. It will produce almost 1/2 litre.

To prepare this base you will need: 

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup of milk

Method:

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy for a couple of minutes.

Add the sugar gradually and whisk for another minute.Finally incorporate the cream and milk and mix for a couple of minutes.


At this point you can pour the base into an ice cream maker and leave it for about 10 minutes. Add the ingredients of your choice to flavour the ice cream, mix with soft movements.

Transfer to a plastic container and pop it into the freezer for at least 1 hour before eating.Alternative method:Once the base is ready, transfer to an aluminium container and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes. Take out and using the slowest setting of your electric mixer whisk for a couple of minutes. Freeze for another 10 minutes and repeat.

Add the ingredients of your choice to flavour the ice cream, mix with soft movements.

Transfer to a plastic container and pop it into the freezer for at least 1 hour before eating.

Here are some successfully tested combinations:

Raspberries.

  • 2 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Simmer 1 cup of raspberries with 2 tbsp of sugar for 3 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Add the other cup and incorporate into the ice cream base.

Cherry Garcia.

  • 1/4 cup of shaved dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup of pitted and diced fresh strawberries

Simply add and mix when the base is ready.

 Rose and strawberries.

  • 2 tbsp rose syrup
  • 1 cup of chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of chopped shortbread
  • 1 tsp of pink food colouring

Simply add and mix when the base is ready. 

Cherry and Oreo.

  • 1/3 cup of black cherry fruit filing (if you are in the UK I’d recommend buying Princess, a good American alternative is Oregon Fruit Products’s “Red tart cherries”.)
  • 5 Oreos roughly chopped

Simply add and mix when the base is ready. To serve garnish with 1 tbsp of cherries and 1 Oreo.Here’s a fun link for the Ben & Jerry’s enthusiasts, this is the “Flavor Graveyard” including: Cool Britannia, Peanuts! Popcorn! and Bovinity Divinity amongst others.

Want some ye olde freebies? How about this from 1933 – Fruits in ice cream and ices book – or this one from 1886 – Practical recipes for making ice cream.

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