I wanted to make French vanilla ice cream last night, but couldn’t find fresh vanilla beans I figured that when making vanilla ice cream, the quality of the vanilla probably plays a large part in the quality of the final product, so I didn’t want to use vanilla extract.
Instead, I made coffee ice cream.
Now, the recipe I used for coffee ice cream called specifically for instant espresso powder. While at the grocery store, I noticed that most of the coffee products on the shelf were for regular or decaffeinated coffee, not for espresso. In my intent search for espresso on that shelf, I happily forgot about the “instant” and “powder” parts of the instructions. I made my first batch of custard, tasted it, and then realized I’d forgotten to get instant espresso powder. Waste tally: 6 egg yolks, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream. And three tablespoons of ground espresso.
I repeated the process with some regular instant coffee powder. Keep in mind that the process takes 30 to 45 minutes. You have to separate the eggs, slowly heat the milk, beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes, slowly temper the egg yolk mixture, then slowly incorporate the egg yolk mixture into the heated milk, all the while ensuring that the milk never boils, never simmers, and never goes above 140 degrees farenheit. Then, stirring constantly, you have to bring the entire custard up to 180 degrees farenheit, and no more, otherwise you’ve just got milky scrambled eggs.
This batch was successful. I chucked it into the fridge to cool down, and started a new custard for strawberry ice cream. Unfortunately, I got distracted by TV (I was watching the new FX show, Nip/Tuck) and this batch became milky scrambled eggs. Waste tally: 12 egg yolks, 4 cups of milk, 2 cups of heavy cream.
Finally, I made one more successful batch, which is currently sitting in my refridgerator waiting for me to add mascerated strawberries to the mix. Lessons learned: when making a custard for ice cream, don’t get distracted. Don’t try to rush it. The mixture has to come up to temperature very slowly, over 10 or more minutes. And for the love of god, don’t stop stirring.
On the up side, the coffee ice cream is yummy. And I expect the strawberry ice cream to be equally so.