Making good ice cream is no art, especially with today’s amazing technology and the vast knowledge of the Internet – but in my years of freezing and eating custards after custards, there are always a few common mistakes people make that cease to amaze me. These are simple, easily rectified mistakes that could be plaguing your homemade ice cream maker recipe – so I urge you to give them a quick skim-through to see if you’re guilty of any of these!
Eating the ice cream straight outta the machine.
There’s a common misconception that ice cream is ready straight after it’s been finished by the machine – this is false. Don’t just take the bowl out of the maker, unless you like your ice cream a bit, y’know, soupy. I know it’s a pain, but if you want nice, firm ice cream, you need to give it another few hours in the freezer.
The custard base is important!
It’s surprising how people get this bit wrong. A custard is made with milk, cream, egg yolks and sugar – you have to beat the yolks with the sugar, heat the milk slightly, mix the two, heat them again, and then throw the mix into a chilled bowl to shock it, mixing cream in until the entire thing is cooled by an ice bath from below. During this period, you mix in what you’d like to actually make – your chocolate, your caramel, your strawberries – whatever it may be.
But! You have to be careful not to overcook your custard, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands.
‘Too much ice cream’ DOES exist.
Old ice cream is both unpleasant to eat, and a waste of resources and money. Make less and have mercy on your figure, rather than making too much and finding yourself in a situation where you have to find a way to squeeze a few scoops into your day-to-day program for several days in a row. Another thing old ice cream develops is skin – which only gives you even better reason to act sparingly when you’re preparing ice cream for yourself.
Of course, this isn’t a big problem for my family. We practically inhale the stuff, anyways!
Mix-ins shouldn’t be added early!
Mix-ins are tricky business. Depending on what you’re using to make your ice cream even more delicious, you may want to hold off until the ice cream maker has stopped running before you stick ‘em in – otherwise, you’ll both mess up the uniformity and texture of the ice cream and you’ll mess up your mix-ins, either rendering them too hard, or crushed to unwanted proportions. Timing is everything.
Wet your scooping spoons!
An important trick to scooping hard, concrete-like ice cream – wet spoons. Don’t try to heat your spoon up, because you’ll only end up melting your ice cream and complicating things with a delicious mess – a wet spoon will glide through the ice cream with less difficulty and no problems.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed these tips, and I hope they turn out to be useful to you next time you’re planning to make some ice cream – until next time!