I learnt the basic principles of ice cream making when I did a course at Leiths a few years ago, and picked up some great tips and recipes. However I rarely dabbled at home due to the lack of ice cream maker.
It’s one of those kitchen gadgets I never quite dared to purchase as it felt like a slippery slope. Freshly made ice cream on tap surely leads to instant obesity?!
Well I held fast until I was given an ice cream maker by the Appliance Fairy – I kid you not! I happened to be on Fuss Free Flavours blog where the Fairy from Appliances Online was residing, left a comment about wanting a dishwasher… and ended up with an ice cream maker instead.
The first thing I tried making was frozen yoghurt. I just poured a whole 500g pot of Mango and Passionfruit yoghurt into the machine, and 20 minutes later I got smooth and creamy frozen yoghurt. I was shocked at just how quick it was to make.
Next stop, ice cream.
We’re all pretty united on our favourite flavour in this house – it has to be mint choc chip. I wasn’t entirely convinced I’d be able to recreate it at home, but thought it was worth a go.
There are four basic types of ice cream bases to which you add your desired flavours:
- Mousse parfaits
I opted for a custard-based type and in shameless corner-cutting style I picked up two pots of ready-made custard in Waitrose. If you wanted to keep the costs down or if you’re lucky enough to be blessed with time you could of course make your own!
I used fresh mint in a sugar syrup to flavour the custard, and found some fantastic after-dinner type wafer thin chocolates with crunchy mint bits in to cut up for the choc chip element.
It was all a bit of an experiment but turned out a dream. The boys were mad for it – Sam loved helping me make it and everyone enjoyed eating it! It was fresh without being sickly and the crunchy mint chocolate bits were pretty heavenly.
All in all I’m pretty blinking chuffed with my efforts.
Mint choc chip ice cream
(makes 1 litre)
50g caster sugar
1 handful of fresh mint, very finely chopped
1 litre fresh custard
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks – after dinner crunchy mint thins are ideal
1. Heat the sugar and water in a pan until it’s dissolved to make a syrup. Leave to cool and then stir in the finely chopped mint leaves.
2. Pour the custard into a large mixing bowl and gradually add the minty syrup stirring well. Then stir in the chocolate pieces. Tip your mixture into your ice cream maker and churn until the desired consistency is achieved.
The churning is vital for a creamier texture, so even though an ice-cream maker is not essential, it makes life easier and the quality a lot finer.
For total perfection ice cream should be eaten the day it is made – but a few days’ freezing should be fine. It never seems to last very long in this house anyway! If it has frozen absolutely solid it’s best to leave it in the fridge for half an hour before serving it.
So having given the ice cream maker a bit of a road test I’d say
- Small enough to fit in a cupboard
- A bargain at £23.99 on Amazon
- Does the business in superquick time
- Perfect for getting the kids involved in cooking as they could invent their own flavour combinations
- Once the ice cream starts to thicken up and the mixing paddle is fighting to get through the mixture, the lid of the machine actually came loose and I ended up having to hold it down.
- You have to keep the bowl in the freezer 24 hours before using it. This is fine for me as I have a large enough freezer to keep it in there permanently, but others might find this annoying.
- It’s a bit tricky to clean.
I’m not sure if the fairy is still granting wishes, but why not leave a comment telling me what you would like and you never know! It does not have to be things that appliances online sell, such as cookers and fridge freezers. When the appliance fairy sees a wish she would like to grant you will get an e-mail from her.
Thanks to Appliances Online for sending me the ice cream maker… I wonder if they’ll pay for a personal trainer to counteract the adverse calorific effects??!!