Joined: 23 May 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
|Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:28 pm Post subject: ice cream/sorbet tips
|I adore my little Cuisinart ice cream machine. It and my stick blender are an unstoppable duo of ice cream-makin' gadgetry. I've recently done a delightfully pink strawberry sour cream batch, and the David Lebovitz lemon frozen yogurt recipe (recently in the LA Times). I may have mentioned these tips before, but the warming weather (in the northern hemisphere, at least) calls for ice cream, so I think it deserves a revisit.
One of the best things about making this stuff yourself is doing it how you want it. I am diabetic, so I like being able to make low sugar/low fat--but there is a reason most ice cream recipes call for heavy cream, egg yolks, and/or a bunch of sugar. Here are a few of my tips:
*Honey (though still a sugar) is a bit sweeter than table sugar, and has twice the antifreeze effect per gram (fructose is a monosaccharide, sucrose is a disaccharide, having both a fructose and glucose)
*Cornstarch (~2T per qt base) or gelatin do thicken the base and keep things softer (though I don't do this often, as cooking/warming the base necessitates chilling it--thus delaying delicious ice cream!)
*If I'm not using much sugar, I use more alcohol than called for by most recipes (up to 4T liquor per quart of base). You may want to avoid this if kids will be eating it, though.
*Bananas, peaches, and other pulpy fruit tend to work well for sorbets, as the texture of the fruit pulp interrupt the ice crystals.
The one tip I haven't seen anywhere else, though, is xanthan gum. It's weird stuff (a thin residue on your fingers will become really slippery when wet), and can apparently be used for gluten-free baking, but blending ~1/2t straight into 3.5-4c base thickens it nicely (more than that will turn it pudding-y, and you may want less for a base that has other thick ingredients like banana or melted chocolate). No cooking necessary, and it does keep the ice cream or sorbet softer (and fluffier). I got a bag of Bob's Red Mill in the grocery store for about $11, and it's enough to last for years.
Anyone else have great ice cream/sorbet tips?
(Or any other uses for the bag of xanthan in my fridge?)