It's difficult to recall a time I wasn't contented and at peace while eating ice cream. Ice cream is made for happy times, summer warmth, and running outside with sweat dripping down your forehead. Actually, I must amend that statement. I can remember vivid exchanges, pouring my heart out to a girlfriend or listening on with angst as we both tucked in to a pint of Very Chocolate Chunk, distressed and vulnerable. But nonetheless, we were not alone, and there's value in that at least.
I received Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home as a gift. A gorgeous body of work, it set my summer off on a promising trajectory - countless flavors boasting inventive combinations and beautiful applications. For my first pass at Jeni's ice cream, I made Backyard Mint, both my favorite flavor and quintessentially indicative of summer.
I cleared a Sunday afternoon and stood in the corner of my kitchen, alone, prepping all the components. First, a slurry (semiliquid mixture) is made of milk and corn starch. Milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup are brought to a boil in a saucepan.
She instructs 4 to 12 hours for steeping. I was seriously excited for ice cream sundaes, so I took out my mixture at 4 hours on the dot. The mint is strained and the cream is poured into the frozen maker. Note: The bowl must be entirely frozen so freeze well in advance of any ice cream-capades.
Within 15 minutes or so of churning, the ice cream should be ready and placed in the freezer to harden. Meanwhile, I began preparing the cookies. While I intended to make ice cream sandwiches per Jeni's serving suggestion, my macaron cookies came out a bit flat. Fortunately, they still made a nice garnish, and were fun to prepare. I had to trace biscuit cutters as a guide for the cookie batter - I felt like a preschooler learning new things about the world all over again.
While the cookies baked, I shaved some chocolate and stored it in the freezer. I'm fond of cold and almost crispy chocolate, like day old bread.
Making homemade ice cream is an exercise in patience. The initial steeping phase for the cream, and then the ice cream hardening in the freezer brings you to about 5 hours or so start to finish, minimum.
But as the adage says, good things take time. We were all pleased with the outcome and will look to Jeni's book for more ice cream adventures this summer. And if I am really lucky, I'll make it to one of her shops.