I like making ice cream. I admit it. In fact, I like making it almost as much as I like eating it. Of course, I'm not big on sharing, either, which could very well explain much of what you see, if you meet me. Any way you look at it, though, ice cream is one of my favorite things in modern life, and homemade always beats others.
These days, I live far enough away from a source of pasteurized eggs, though, that I've had to resort to making frozen custard, instead. (In case you're wondering if that's a non-sequitur, it isn't. The best real ice cream recipe I ever came across has raw eggs in the finished product.)
So, not wanting to risk salmonella or worse, I found a few different frozen custard recipes, and tried them all out. Some are more complex and sophisticated than others, of course. After experimenting with about a dozen of the likeliest, I finally settled on one as being simple enough to prepare with the help of younger kids, and tasty enough that you don't notice the shortcuts too much.
When you make it with kids, though, you have to leave out one of my favorite parts – the bone-warmer. I like adding a spot of liquor to the mixture, partly for the flavor, partly for the softening effect on the dessert (alcohol lowers the freezing point, so you end up with soft-serve, if you add enough). If you don't have any good liquor on hand, though, all you need to do is take the container of ice cream out of the freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving, to allow it softening time.
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cherry juice
up to 1/2 cup bourbon (optional)
1. Pour cream into the top of a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks until well- scrambled.
3. When cream comes to a simmer (do NOT allow to boil), add into egg yolks VERY SLOWLY while constantly whisking. You don't want to dump too much hot cream into the egg too quickly, or it will cook & curdle the eggs.
4. Once the eggs and cream have been thoroughly mixed, return them to the double boiler. Stir constantly with whisk or wooden spoon, until the custard becomes noticeably thickened. Remove from heat, pour through sieve into a medium-sized bowl, and allow to cool a few minutes.
5. Add the sweetened, condensed milk and cherry juice. Mix well.
6. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (overnight is good).
7. Follow your ice cream freezer's instructions on how to freeze this mixture properly. If you wish to add alcohol to the custard, wait until the freezing process is nearly finished, and mix it in completely. To simply keep the custard from becoming too hard to scoop, add only a tablespoon or two. To make it strictly adult, add no more than a half-cup, as any more than that will keep it completely liquid. A half-cup of any standard liquor will make your ice cream soft-serve, as it is.
8. Put in separate, covered container in refrigerator freezer or deep freeze.
Instead of cherry juice, try key lime juice, or strained orange juice, or another favorite unsweetened fruit juice. In the final stages of freezing, you might also add some chopped fruit, swirl in a half-cup of your favorite fruit preserves, or, instead of using fruit juice, add some dark chocolate syrup and powdered malt, then add swirls of fudge syrup in the final stage.
For liquored-up variations:
My latest is to cover 1/3 cup dried tart (unsweetened) cherries in honey-infused whisky, and let chill overnight. Strain the cherries & mix the liquid with regular whisky to bring it to 1/3 cup for final stages, finally stirring the cherries into the mix right before going into the deepfreeze.
Daiquiri ice cream: switch out key lime juice for the cherry juice, and use rum instead of bourbon.
Mojito: key lime juice, then muddle some fresh mint into the rum before adding (or use a drop or two of mint essential oil).
Margarita: key lime juice, 3 tbs triple sec and fill the rest of 1/2 cup with tequila. Serve with a sprinkling of sea salt and a wedge of fresh lime or lemon. (fresh, strained orange juice may be substituted for triple sec).
Tequila Sunrise: Divide custard in halves after adding sweetened condensed milk. In one half, mix 1/4 cup pulp-free orange juice. In other, mix 1/4 cup pomegranate juice or 1/4 cup grenadine. Chill. Freeze separately, adding tequila (plus 1/4 cup halved - or coarsely chopped- maraschino cherries into the pomegranate/grenadine mixture, if you wish). Store either in one container, side-by-side or in separate containers, to mix upon serving.
Go ahead. Play a little.