There’s a huge amount of mystique associated with making ice-cream, not to mention downright mystification and, I must confess, I was as much a victim of it as anyone else. I thought it was impossible for anyone to make real ice cream unless they were born under the shadow of Mount Etna.
All the same, I decided to give it a shot even though I have no ice-cream maker. The odds were against anyone in 17th-century Sicily having an electric ice-cream machine either and they somehow managed to turn out a passable frozen delight, so I thought it was worth taking a chance.
I do have a fridge, which is always an advantage in making ice-cream, unless you have access to a 20,000-ton iceberg towed south from the Arctic circle, as they used to do in centuries gone by, and anyway we’ll soon have melted all the ice in the Arctic, rendering the question completely abstract.
But anyway, despite my ignorance of ice-cream making, I plunged in, ignoring the advice of Polonius to Hamlet:
As the monkey knoweth not his father, so the fool knoweth not his own folly.
All right. I made that bit up.
I tried a few different ways of doing it before settling on this, but I’m a complete beginner, and there’s every chance you know of much better techniques, so please tell me if you do.
A warning. This recipe uses raw eggs. Do not make ice cream this way if you’re giving it to an ill person or somebody of a great age because there’s always a danger of salmonella. If you’re concerned, use a little custard instead.
Here’s what you need.
Some whipping cream.
A couple of eggs.
Colouring and flavouring of choice. For this recipe, I just used vanilla extract, but you could use anything you like, from cardamoms to lemon juice, with or without alcohol. I understand that booze makes the ice-cream a little softer out of the freezer but I can’t say for certain since I haven’t tried it yet.
It’s remarkably easy to do.
First, separate the yolks and the egg whites.
Whip the egg whites using a hand whisk. I’ve found that this works much better than mechanical devices like stick blenders, though I don’t know why. Perhaps they’re a little too violent, but anyway, the resulting foam is much lighter. If the yolk breaks, discard the whole lot because the egg white won’t whisk properly if it has any yolk in it.
Whisk in some icing sugar to taste, along with whatever colouring and flavouring you choose. I just used vanilla for this example because it’s all new to me.
Beat the egg yolks and fold them into the whipped egg whites.
Whip the cream, also using a hand whisk. You can of course use an electric mixer, but the whisk seems to make the results much lighter which is a good thing in an ice cream.
Then fold in the egg mixture.
Pop it into glasses, tubs or whatever you prefer.
Serve it to your family and friends.
Accept compliments with good grace.
Feel good about yourself.