Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Homemade ice cream makes tasty summer treat

July 6, 2005

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Q: Homemade ice cream sounds good this summer, but I want to make sure it is safe to eat. How should I make it?

A: The proper handling of homemade ice cream ingredients ensures a safe product. One ingredient that can taint the entire dessert if it isn't handled properly is the eggs. Traditionally, homemade ice cream is made with raw eggs, which could contain salmonella. If the eggs are uncooked, they create a food safety risk.

Eggs add rich flavor and color to ice cream. They also prevent ice crystallization to ensure a smooth product. Because they are perishable, handling eggs safely includes keeping them in the refrigerator before use and cooking them to eliminate the bacteria. Salmonella does not grow below 41 degrees; however, refrigeration or freezing will not kill or destroy the bacteria. Cooking the eggs is the only way to kill salmonella. The bacteria causes higher risk for children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

It's recommended to cook the eggs in a custard mixture. Heat slowly to 160 degrees Fahrenheit while gently stirring. Use a thermometer to determine that the temperature reaches 160 F. The mixture will eventually solidify enough to coat a metal spoon.

If you prefer not using a cooked custard mixture when making homemade ice cream, use egg substitutes in place of the raw eggs. Because egg substitutes are already pasteurized, they do not need further cooking.

The following recipes create refreshing ice cream without the risk of consuming raw eggs.

Vanilla Custard ice cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 quarts half-and-half

1/4 cup flour

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vanilla

Use a double boiler or a heavy metal pan over low heat for cooking this recipe.

Combine the sugar, flour and salt in the pan. Stir in 1 quart of half-and-half. Cook over boiling water or low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cook two minutes more. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the slightly beaten eggs before adding the eggs to the remaining hot mixture. Cook one minute more. Remove from heat. Add the remaining quart of half-and-half and the vanilla. Chill thoroughly. Freeze in a gallon ice cream freezer using one part salt to six parts crushed ice. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts.

Egg-Free Vanilla Gelatin

2 tablespoons gelatin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk, hot

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

6 cups half-and-half

Soften gelatin in cold water before adding to the hot milk. Be sure gelatin is completely dissolved. Add remaining ingredients. Chill thoroughly. Freeze in a gallon ice cream freezer using 1 part salt to 6 parts ice. Makes about 3 quarts.

Low-fat Vanilla ice Milk

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 quarts skim milk (may be made from nonfat dry milk)

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy pan. Gradually add 1 quart of the skim milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened, about 12 to15 minutes. Stir a little of the hot cornstarch mixture into the beaten eggs; then stir the eggs into the remaining cornstarch mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes. Stir into hot mixture. Chill thoroughly. Stir in vanilla and remaining 1 quart of skim milk. Pour into a 1-gallon ice cream freezer and freeze. Use 1 part salt to 6 parts ice. Yield: About 3 1/2 quarts.

Note: 1 to 2 percent or regular homogenized milk may be substituted for part or all of the skim milk. However, these milks will increase the calories per serving.

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