I have decided that you should buy an ice cream maker.
Here are my reasons:
1) It’s not terribly expensive. It will run you about $50 for the Cuisinard brand that I bought. Maybe $50 is out of your price range, but think about it this way: how much do you spend on ice cream already? And cones? And funny white hats?
2) Making ice cream is incredibly easy and incredibly rewarding. It will taste better than any ice cream you’ve ever had.
3) Your social life will improve ten-fold. People will say, as you walk by, “Who’s that?” And other people will answer: “That’s the person who makes ice cream!” “No way,” will say the first person. “Yes way,” will say the second person. The second person hasn’t watched a movie since the 1992 smash hit “Wayne’s World” and therefore thinks that “yes way” is still a hip term.
But the best reason is #4:
4) If you make great ice cream using a mostly cream-base as I will show you tonight, it will stay soft and delicious in your fridge for the rest of the summer! Or until it’s gone. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Tonight I made Alton Brown’s Burned Peach Ice Cream. Actually I started last night because it requires a night in the fridge.
This recipe was e-mailed to me a while ago by a loyal reader whose e-mail I now lost, so thank you loyal reader whoever you are.
Alton asks you to get cream and half-and-half. I was in the market without the recipe handy so I only bought cream. This proved wise, anyway, because it makes the ice cream softer. I find that milk freezes more like water and becomes icy in the fridge. Cream stays creamy. Only problem is, you’ll die sooner…but who wants to be alive when Jenna Bush is president?
Now then you also have to buy peach preserves:
“Not jelly,” writes Alton in the margin of the ingredients list. He wants peach preserves.
I tasted a spoonful to see what a preserve tastes like as opposed to a jelly. I came to this conclusion: a preserve tastes like a jelly.
The first night (last night, for me) you basically just throw everything into the pot. The cream, the vanilla bean, and 1/2 cup of the peach preserves. And sugar. It looks like this:
You cook it until it reaches 170 degrees and then you strain it:
Place the lid on the Tupperware (I strained it into Tupperware) and refrigerate overnight. Or in my case, overnight and all day.
Thus, this afternoon I began Phase II of the process. Phase II involved turning on my broiler. You know “broiling” is one of those things that eluded me for the longest time. If you told me that my fish was broiled, I used to think that meant it was thrown directly on a flame or cooked in an ancient Mayan crockpot. Now I know that it means that the top of your oven gets very very hot and basically shoots heat rays downward to whatever you put on the topshelf. In today’s case, that would be peaches.
I bought 3 peaches yesterday, though the recipe requires 4. When you make it, then, you should buy 4.
I cut the peaches in halfway and put them on a cookie sheet:
Alton says to broil them until they are brown. I put them in the oven, left, came back 5 minutes later and they were not brown.
I left again. I came back. Still not brown.
Left. Back. Not brown.
What was going on?
Finally, some of the skins started to blacken so I had no choice but to take it out pre-brownness:
If I had to do it over again, I’d have sprinkled some sugar on the top like the Barefood Contessa does in her roasted fruit recipe. That would help in the caramelization process which is what I think we were going for here. No matter, I cut a piece off and it tasted great.
Now we pour the refrigerated cream mixture from yesterday into our ice cream maker:
I licked a bit in transference and it tasted marvelous. Vanilla beans are the mac daddy of homemade ice cream. They’re worth every penny, I say. I’m going to start a vanilla bean farm when I move to New York. Land there is cheap, right?
Now we chop our broiled peaches:
You can see some brownness, can’t you? Maybe I didn’t fail completely.
After the ice cream churns for a while (and “the volume has increased by half”) add the peaches:
And churn it some more.
La la la la la lo. La la la la la lo. Churn it churn it some more.
Pour into another container and freeze:
While that’s freezing, ruin your dinner and lick the freezer bowl clean:
Holy cow is that delicious! I love peaches. I love vanilla beans. I love ice cream.
Hours later, Lauren came back and I served up two scoops.
Lauren is a tough judge. She’s the Anton Scalia of food-tasting. She’s bald and goes duck hunting with Cheney.
“Wow,” she says, “I really like it. Really interesting flavors. Mmmm.”
Another satisfied customer. Won’t you help the poor retail people at Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma? Won’t you get them their commission and buy an ice cream maker today? Think of the children. More importantly, think of the ice cream.