I should have written this when it happened. Instead, I’m writing it a little over a year after it happened. In a previous article, A New Kitchen Appliance!, I talked about getting our DeLonghi GM6000 ice cream maker, and the delight that we were experiencing with the ice creams we were making.
We were making two batches a day. And that delightful state of affairs continued for two weeks. We were buying LOTS of eggs and LOTS of cream. It is a sinful luxury to open the refrigerator and see six or seven different ice creams. Sadly, on the 14th day, there was an ominous “clunk” from the inside of the machine and it refused to work again. The compressor was working, and I could hear the motor that stirred the ice cream moving, but there was no motion in the ice cream bowl. This was a tragic moment. The big question was, do we get another DeLonghi or try a different machine? The DeLonghi was still within Amazon’s 30 day no-hassle return period.
We’d been talking to Daisy, who is mentioned elsewhere in our Blog, about our adventures in ice cream. She was also making ice creams and gelatos, but she had the small Lello Gelato maker. (Is it just me, or does “Lello” sound like a child who can’t say “Yello”?) That turned out to be the Lello 4070 Gelato Junior. We’d considered that model when we bought the DeLonghi, and the ratings on it were as high as those for the Delonghi. Daisy told us she’d had hers for two years, which gave us hope it would last longer than the DeLonghi.
We contacted Amazon and asked to return the DeLonghi. Amazon has an amazing no questions asked return policy, and they even paid for the return shipping. We got the new Lello ice cream maker before we ran out of ice cream.
The Lello was quickly put to work. It is a very different machine. The port where you can add ingredients, like coconut flakes, nuts, M and M’s, or bacon is really too small. I’d really have wanted to have a larger port. However, I have found mixing the add-ins after the ice cream is as firm as its going to get works very well.
In some ways, I still miss the DeLonghi. It looked nicer, it was easier to clean and it was easier to use. Still, we had to use Vodka to keep the DeLonghi’s bowl from freezing inside the machine which always struck us as a waste of even the cheap vodka we bought for the purpose.
However, the Lello has survived a year of heavy use and keeps on running. And the Lello makes a quart. It is easier to scale recipes to the quart size than to the 1 1/2 pint of the DeLonghi.
Now that we’ve been making ice cream for over a year, we have some real favorites. Since Christmas (or whatever winter celebration you embrace) is just around the corner, here’s one of them:
Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream
When we were growing up, you could find this ice cream in the store every winter. A rich pepperminty ice cream with chunks of candy canes in it. The peppermint just filled your mouth and even your nose and beyond! The candy canes were a real treat – adding crunch to the ice cream (we LOVE crunch), more peppermint, more flavor. We were always sad when that flavor went away after the holidays. As with spumoni, we could have eaten this ice cream all year long!
This started with a recipe from Simply Recipes. There are SO many good blogs online- and that is certainly one of them! I have adjusted the quantities for a 1 quart batch, and have changed some of the instructions.
You’ll need the usual tools and implements for this – measuring cups and spoons, a 2 quart sauce pan, a wooden spoon, a ladle, a large strainer, and an ice cream maker. A thermometer is handy but not essential. If you’re in a hurry, you’ll also need a way to make an ice bath for the freshly cooked custard.
1 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
scant 1/4 tsp salt (not quite 1/4 tsp)
1 1/3 tsp peppermint extract (pay close attention to the instructions)
1/3 cup crushed candy canes – I like the more colorful ones best!
I prefer to make a custard base and freeze it, also known as French style ice cream, It IS more trouble, but it pays off – it tastes richer and it feels better as you eat it. It’s less likely to have ice crystals in it and will have a smoother creamier texture.
- Start by putting the heavy cream, the milk, the salt and the sugar into a 2 quart sauce pan and begin heating it over medium heat. You don’t want to scorch ice cream. Stir it until the sugar is dissolved.
- As this heats, separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a measuring cup and beating the slightly. Save the whites for another project – maybe a meringue pie or meringue cookies, maybe egg white omelets or scrambled egg whites, or perhaps to make an egg wash for bread.
- When the cream mixture is very warm – between 120 and 140F if you are using a thermometer – use your ladle to add some of the cream mixture to the eggs. Add the cream mixture slowly and beat it into the eggs vigorously. This is called tempering the eggs. It keeps the eggs from cooking as a separate thing. If you don’t do this, you risk having strands of cooked egg yolk as strands in your ice cream, which is not what we’re trying for today.
- When the eggs have been mixed with the ladle of cream mixture, add another ladle of the cream mixture to the egg and cream mixture. Again, slowly and beating vigorously.
- Now add the egg and cream mixture to the rest of the cream mixture that is still in the sauce pan on the stove. Stir it in quickly. Now this is a custard, or an ice cream base.
- Continue heating the saucepan until the custard is around 180F, or until it coats the back of the spoon. By this, I mean if you pull the wooden spoon out of the custard and run a finger through the custard on the back of the spoon the rest of the custard should stay where it is, not flowing into the spot your finger cleared.
- Despite our care with tempering eggs, you sometimes get cooked egg in the custard. Put your strainer over your ice cream maker’s bowl and pour the custard through the strainer and into the bowl. You can use the wooden spoon to help the custard through the strainer. My feeling is if it goes through the strainer, it’s good enough to be in the ice cream.
- If you’re in a hurry to make ice cream, fill a container large enough to hold the ice cream maker’s bowl and fill it with ice. I usually use a large mixing bowl. Pour a cup of cold water over the ice. Put the ice cream maker’s bowl in the ice and stir the custard frequently until it’s around 40F.
- If you’re not in a hurry, cover the ice cream maker’s bowl and put it into the refrigerator until it is around 40F.
- Adding the peppermint extract. This is a matter of taste and judgment. Some extracts are stronger than others, some people like peppermint more than others. Start by putting 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract into the chilled custard and stir it in. Using a clean spoon, taste the custard. Does it need more peppermint? If so, add another 1/4 tsp or so. Stir it in, and taste it with a clean spoon (i.e. – not the same spoon you tasted it with last time – use a fresh spoon for each tasting). Keep repeating until you think you have the peppermint taste where you want it. Bear in mind that freezing the custard my enhance the peppermint taste.
- Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to make the ice cream.
- As your ice cream maker is working, put a number of colorful candy canes into a zip seal baggie. Use a rolling pin to coarsely break up the candy canes. You don’t want powder, you want chunks. However, you want chunks small enough that they will be the right size in a spoon of ice cream. Measure out about 1/3 cup.
- Put a mixing bowl into the freezer so it will be cold when the ice cream is done.
- When the ice cream is done, decant it from the ice cream maker’s bowl and into the frozen mixing bowl. Add the candy cane chunks and mix it together using a spatula or dough knife. Put the ice cream into freezer containers and let it harden for at least an hour. Despite people’s love affair with ice cream fresh from the ice cream maker, we find that ice cream improves as it ages, at least for a while.
Beth and I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as we do! It has brought back so many happy memories. But, you know, we only make this during the holidays. Even through we could make it year around (there are lots of candy canes in our pantry), as adults we think it’s more special if its only available part of the year. Somewhat like a McRib. Only good.