Happy Ice Cream Day!

16 Jul

So apparently it is National Ice Cream Day. July is also National Ice Cream Month according to Ronald Reagan, who established these holidays back in the 80s. I suppose there’s a reason why they don’t make greeting cards for National Ice Cream day, and that is because everyone is too busy stuffing their faces full of ice cream to look at any card. Plus, cards do not taste nearly as good as ice cream.

Being the model citizen that I am, I celebrated the holiday by making some REAL TASTY ICE CREAM. A few weeks ago I met Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. She is a totally awesome lady who is now a James Beard winner among other shining accolades. She makes delicious ice cream. I visited one of her retail stores in Nashville while we were on tour in February. Ben, Brandon and I stood in front of the counter sampling literally every flavor. Plus some. Seriously. The kind lady behind the counter asked if we wanted to sample the ice cream sandwiches, some things from the back (that’s when I tasted Influenza Sorbet for the first time…). Anyways, the point is that Jeni’s jazz is to die for. I would probably consider buying a franchise if she’d let me, except I’d probably gain 100 pounds and lose money due to “disappearing inventory.”

So, since I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel or anything, I made one of Jeni’s recipes. It’s her best seller (she told me herself) and it’s pretty easy to see why once you shove just one (or several) spoonfuls in your mouth.


2 cups whole milk

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)

1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp tapioca syrup (or light corn syrup)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the tapioca starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color.

NOTE!!! This is the “dry-burn” technique. This means it’s just the sugar in the pan. In order to get this right, do NOT give in to the urge to touch the sugar! It could “seize up” and be done for. But do not fret! It’s actually quite easy to successfully caramelize sugar. Simply turn the stove on to medium heat and let the sugar sit. When you see the edges of the sugar beginning to brown, you can begin to swirl the sugar simply by shaking the pan a bit. It’s always safest to not touch the sugar, since you lessen the chance of any impurities making their way into the process. Continue to shake the pan as more of the sugar melts until it’s melted evenly and has an amber color.

When the sugar gets little bubbles popping, remove the pan from the heat and immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture in with the sugar (carefully! it’ll pop and spit). Stir til incorporated, then slowly incorporate the rest of the cream mixture.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the tapioca starch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes (alternately, you can just put the mixture straight into the refrigerator-we were waiting for the ice cream maker to chill entirely, so I just left the mixture in the fridge for a while and it was totally fine).

Pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker canister and spin until thick and creamy (usually around 25 minutes or so). Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

So, ice cream is not simple to make by any means, but it sure is worth it. Stay tuned for another flavor!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: