Archive for Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Culinary institute brews up ice-cream treat for summer

July 14, 2004

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— Ice cream is a universally favorite dessert, widely loved by young and old. Just try to imagine summertime, or a child's birthday celebration, without it.

If you've never made ice cream, consider churning a batch of sweet, creamy coffee ice cream for your next get-together. Infused with coarsely ground coffee beans, this frozen treat is best served with crisp butter cookies and a touch of whipped cream.

In the United States, ice creams are often referred to as custard-, French-, or Philadelphia-style. The base of custard- or French-style ice cream is made by cooking cream or milk, sugar, egg or egg yolks and flavorings. This style has a rich and smooth texture.

Philadelphia-style ice cream, on the other hand, is made without eggs, resulting in a product that's not nearly as rich and creamy. Its base is made simply by heating the cream and milk to incorporate the sugar and other ingredients.

When preparing to freeze the custard, make sure the base is very cold before it's added to the machine's canister. If possible, let the base chill and "ripen" in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to ensure it is properly cooled and the flavors are fully developed. Fill the canister no more than two-thirds full to allow space for the base to expand as it freezes.

The ice cream is properly frozen when it looks like slightly grainy soft-serve ice cream.

Stephane Weber, lecturing instructor in baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of America suggests, "An ice-cream mix should always be made a minimum of 24 hours before churning. This will allow the protein to relax and absorb any excess liquid to avoid formation of ice crystals."

You can flavor ice cream a number of ways.

Ingredients such as vanilla beans, tea, coffee or spices are steeped in the liquid of the custard base, infusing it with their flavors.

Ingredients such as caramel, ganache or fruit purees can be folded into the ice cream at the end of the churning stage for a rippled or marbled effect.

Pieces of poached fruit, nuts, chopped chocolate and crushed candy bars can add an element of texture to ice cream.

A scoop of sweet and creamy coffee ice cream, top, is a frozen
treat made even more special when it's served with other flavor
variations as here, with vanilla, left, and chocolate.

A scoop of sweet and creamy coffee ice cream, top, is a frozen treat made even more special when it's served with other flavor variations as here, with vanilla, left, and chocolate.

To incorporate additional ingredients, transfer the ice cream from the canister to a mixing bowl and fold in the pieces with a rubber spatula.

This recipe, along with many other desserts, is explained and illustrated in The Culinary Institute of America's "Baking and Pastry, Mastering the Art and Craft" cookbook (Wiley 2004, $65).

Coffee Ice Cream

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2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup coarsely ground coffee beans

18 egg yolks

Combine the milk, heavy cream, half of the sugar, corn syrup, salt and ground coffee in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture (to remove the coffee grounds) into a clean pan and return to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a glass or metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Gradually add about one-third of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon (about 180 degrees). Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Place the bowl into an ice bath and stir every few minutes until cool. Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before freezing in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack the ice cream in containers and freeze for several hours, or overnight, before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts, or 8 servings.

Nutrition information per 6 1/2-ounce serving: 490 calories, 10 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams fat and 140 milligrams sodium.

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