Dr. Agatston, of South Beach Diet fame (see my last post), says that the two WORST diet disasters that you can inflict upon yourself are beer and ice cream, so let me just make it clear right now that Hubby and I will NOT eat this. Well, I won’t eat it anyway. Hubby, however, has absolutely NO willpower when it comes to ice cream, so I bet he’ll have some. I’d feel guilty for tempting him, but he’s lost more weight than I have, so I can sabotage his diet just a little, right? The idea, though, is that this is for the kids. We have a ton of leftover Halloween candy around here and thought it might be fun to “smush” some into ice cream, like at our favorite ice cream place. I like to make my own ice cream, so that I can use organic milk, cream, eggs, etc. Some wonderfully thoughtful friends (Thanks J and D!!!) even brought us back some organic Mexican vanilla (the best in the world – really!) from their trip this summer. Making your own ice cream is MUCH simpler than you might think, it just requires a bit of pre-planning. You need to allow enough time for the custard to cool before freezing and also you need to remember to put your ice cream freezer cylinder in your freezer (most require 24 hours). This is a great dessert to make for a dinner party, though – make the custard ahead of time (morning of the party or even the day before) and have it chilled in the fridge, then just pour it into the ice cream maker. By the time the coffee’s ready, you have ice cream. Your guests will be very impressed!
Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup milk
(we use lowfat and it turns out fine – yes, I used to be one of those people that would order a chili cheeseburger, onion rings and a diet Coke)
1/2 cup sugar (see note below)
2 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract (Mexican, if possible)
Warm the milk over low heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a separate medium-sized bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg/sugar mixture, while continuing to whisk.
NOTE: This is VERY important and may require someone else to help pour while you stir. If you pour too quickly, without enough stirring, the warm milk will cook the eggs too quickly and the finished ice cream will taste like scrambled eggs. Blech!
Here is the egg/sugar/milk mixture as it starts to cook:
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it slowly until thickened, stirring constantly (until it looks like very liquid pudding). Do NOT let this come to a boil (see “scrambled egg” warning above).
Here’s the egg/sugar/milk mixture, once it’s reached the right consistency:
Remove from heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. Stir in the whipping cream and vanilla.
Here’s the custard, after adding the cream and vanilla:
Pour custard into a Tupperware-type container and chill until thoroughly cooled. Freeze in your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer directions. Top with your favorite crushed candy bar, toasted nuts, etc.
If you happen to feel like getting REALLY fancy (and happen to have an extra $2 or so on hand to buy a vanilla bean), you can cut 1 whole vanilla bean in half, then cut it open (lengthwise) and add it to your custard right before cooking it (after mixing the milk and the eggs/sugar). Let the vanilla bean sit in the custard as it cools. OMIT the vanilla extract if you do this. Right before freezing, remove the vanilla bean and scrape out all of the tiny seeds inside, discarding the outer bean pod afterwards. Then you’ll have “Vanilla Bean” ice cream, with the authentic little vanilla specks. This is Hubby’s favorite.
NOTE on sugar: I like to use organic cane sugar for most recipes. It’s organic, first of all, but it also has a richer, molasses/brown sugar taste, because it’s unrefined. It is darker and does have larger granules, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it for any recipe where the sugar doesn’t really have a chance to be heated/cooked enough to dissolve well. I would NOT use it for things like: meringue, sweetened whipped (Chantilly) cream or rimming a cocktail glass. You need finer, whiter sugar for that. But, I do love the cane sugar flavor for cookies, muffins, custards, adding to hot beverages, etc.
Here’s the ice cream, freezing in the machine:
Speaking of ice cream makers, have any of you ever used one of these?
I’m thinking of getting one for a friend’s children for Christmas. It looks like it would be really fun, even though it only makes a little bit of ice cream at a time.
Here’s the finished ice cream, in a storage container to finish freezing to serving consistency:
Here it is, ready for serving, with the candy inside. Boy and Hubby put Reese’s in theirs, Girl chose a Crunch bar. The ice cream was still a little soft, but gets a little “harder” after it has been in the fridge overnight.