Absolutely delicious homemade espresso ice cream
Readers!! I have been dying to tell you about this for months, and finally. Finally, the time has come. You are going to love me and Jeni from Jeni's Ice Cream forever. Well, even more than you do now.
A few months ago, Jeni from Jeni's asked me if I would be interested in testing out some recipes for her. Did I have an ice cream machine? Would I mind buying gallons of heavy cream and milk and seeing if I could duplicate her success in my home kitchen?
Years ago, I had the worst roommate ever. The only good thing that came from this roommate was a leftover Krups Ice Cream machine (which has been toted from house to house - and never used - ever since) and a washer and dryer (which have been toted from house to house and used extensively, ever since). I dusted off the ice cream maker, put the freezer bowl in the deep freeze, and bought some milk and cream. Ever few days, I'd get an email - try some honey, reduce the sugar, add a little corn syrup, boil the milk - until the recipe was perfected. I made batch after batch, using my Husband and coworkers as guinea pigs, and then letting everyone down by telling them the recipe was top secret! Ha ha ha! Classified ice cream recipe!
The background is this: Food & Wine was doing a profile on Jeni, and wanted her to include some great recipes. As Jeni explained it to me, she really thought that most people who wrote ice cream recipes didn't take into account the fact that most home cooks are dealing with rather subpar equipment. They don't have the great machines or technology to create a homemade ice cream with a great mouthfeel. Furthermore, Jeni thought the taste of the cooked eggs in custard-based ice cream interfered with the pure flavor of the cream. This ice cream is amazing. It is hands down the best homemade ice cream I have ever had. The mouthfeel is amazing - it isn't gritty, lumpy, or full of ice crystals. It is smooth, creamy, and rich.
The first batch I made was plain cream flavored. I ventured out to vanilla, Ovaltine, coffee, green tea, cherry vanilla, and chai, just to name a few. For awhile, there wasn't a time when there wasn't ice cream either being made, frozen, or ready to be frozen. I think all of this recipe testing is responsible for those last 4 winter pounds I gained, but hey, there's loads of calcium, so it made me strong, too.
When the testing obsession began to wind down a little, Husband would sometimes look at me forlornly and ask if there wasn't any ice cream in the freeazer? His favorite was espresso, my favorite was triple Ovaltine, and a few coworkers were particularly fond of the cherry vanilla. The green tea was also good, but a little strange for most people. Anyone fond of an intense matcha flavor would probably find it pleasantly bitter.
I love the ice cream straight from the ice cream freezer, when it has a texture almost like soft serve. In theory, you can start the freezer right before dinner and have it ready for dessert, or you can make it in advance and have it ready for scooping.
As with most cream-based desserts, I found the texture, consistency, and flavor to be improved if the batter was left in the fridge overnight, but this isn't necessary. Just better. Of course, I imagine you'll be chomping at the bit to get started soon. I found myself fervently wishing I had two freezer bowls so that I could make as many batches at once as possible. And, thanks to a tip on the RW Forums, I snagged a reconditioned Cuisinart freezer for $20 (alas, they are sold out now, but here's the same ice cream maker, only new).
I'm not going to reprint the recipe, because you should show your support for Jeni by picking up June's Food & Wine, or at least click through here for the recipes. There are also recipes for yogurt and sorbet, which I will be trying very soon.
Here are my variations:
Espresso - Add 1/2 cup instant espresso powder to the milk/cream combination
Triple Ovaltine - reduce sugar by half. Add 1 cup chocolate Ovaltine, plus 1/2 cup each unflavored Ovaltine and 1/2 cup European Ovaltine (available in Asian grocery stores). You can also use all chocolate Ovaltine.
Cherry Vanilla - Mix the recipe as directed. Pour the mixture into the freezer and add 4 ounces chilled tart cherry jelly (no fruit). I made my own, and it had a loose texture. If you purchase a firm jelly, thin it slightly with a touch of hot water, and then chill.
Matcha (green tea) - whisk on heaping tbsp green tea powder into the milk when it is boiling. Proceed as usual
So, get out there and make some ice cream - I promise, you will be glad you did. Next up, I'm making yogurt. I keep you posted, of course!