The summer season in Taiwan lasts from about late May until about October or so. During this time, average temperatures are usually about 30 Celsius and above, and humidity levels are usually through the roof. I spend these few months daydreaming frequently about snow, and more realistically, about ice cream. Ice cream in Taiwan is readily available, at various price points and qualities. Imported ice cream, such as Haagen Daaz and Ben and Jerry’s, is available, but for a price of nearly $7 USD for a pint. One steamy afternoon while standing in front of the freezer section at 7-11, contemplating yet another overpriced purchase, it dawned on me, “I could make my own ice cream!” That revelation has since snowballed into two months of what can only be described as an ice cream frenzy; a happy phase where I have been devouring ice cream history, recipes and techniques. To this day, the obsession continues, and will be documented and shared in this blog.
Equipment & Ingredients
After reading several online reviews, I decided to get the Cuisinart ice cream maker (model ICE 21 TW) because of its ease of operation and compact size. I have an aversion to reading instruction manuals, so the fact that this model looks like it only has four big parts really appealed to me.
一到悶熱的夏天， 我每天都會想吃冰淇淋。 在國外長大的我最懷念超市的多樣選者。 回台灣發覺好吃，比較有天然成分的冰淇淋好貴。 所以這暑假決定買冰淇淋機， 自己動手做做看！ 後來決定買 美國 Cuisinart 牌的冰淇淋機～因為看起來設計簡單，而且體積不算大（差不多一個10－12 份大同電鍋的size）
It turns out, the hardest part about operating this machine is waiting the 24 hours for the freezer bowl to freeze. I tried to use the machine after about 12 hours of freezing, and I ended up with a puddle of vanilla flavored soup. So I had to dump the ice cream back out, and return the freezer bowl to the freezer for the remaining 12 hours.
一定要把冰桶放入 freezer 完完整整的 24 小時! 我因為等不及了， 12 小時過後就拿出來用。結果做了一鍋冰淇淋湯! 只好把冰淇淋倒出來，冰桶放回freezer, 乖乖的等待。
除了這個小插曲其它的過程算是順利的我從基本的香草豆口味開始， 用的是 David Lebovitz 的食譜。 David 是一位住在法國的廚師跟蛋糕師傅。他的食譜會吸引我的原因是因為他用的材料很簡單，實在，以天然，新鮮為主。而且他寫文章的風格不但很清楚 還很親切， 就像跟朋友一起在廚房裡面邊做菜邊聊天的感覺。
First Recipe: David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
The first ice cream recipe I tried in my shiny new ice cream maker was David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream. Most of the ingredients are relatively easy to locate in Taipei’s larger grocery stores (such as Carrefour or Geant) however; one special trip to the baking supply store was required for the vanilla bean.
I experienced some slight confusion about the different cream varieties available in Taiwan. My first impulse was to grab this one:
But a quick reading of the ingredients yielded that this was a non-dairy cream, with the inclusion of both sugar and artificial color and flavorings, so I opted for President’s UHT whipping cream.
In the future, I would prefer to find a locally sourced cream, rather than an imported one. On a side note, one of my favorite coffee shops uses milk from Fourways Ranch (四方鮮乳牧場) which is by far the best milk I’ve tasted since coming back to Taiwan, so I will definitely be looking into getting a delivery of their products for my future ice cream.
One tip is to measure out all the ingredients and gather all your equipment together before you begin. Sometimes I’m so excited about starting the recipe that I forget this critical step. This usually results in frantic scramble in the cupboards for that seldom used, long-forgotten strainer. Unlike baking cookies, where the batter sits quietly in the mixing bowl, making ice cream usually involves foaming, overflowing pots of hot cream and milk that demand your undivided and immediate attention.
David Lebovitz’s Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)
For richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.
When following the recipe for the first time, I was tempted to skip step 5, of straining the custard into the heavy cream, but I am so glad that I didn’t. Due to my inexperience, I probably turned the heat up too high while cooking the custard, so the egg yolks ended up curdling. Luckily, I did find the strainer, and stopped the little curdles from ruining my ice cream! [Note: the second time I tried the recipe, I kept the heat on low, and the egg yolks were a much smoother consistency]
I have to mention, the novelty of watching the ice cream mixture swirl around ice cream maker never wears off. I’ve made several different batches of ice cream since the first batch, and one of the most delightful parts of the process is to watch ice cream mixture turn into ice cream.
After about 25 minutes in the ice cream maker, the ice cream reached a soft serve consistency. I quickly dumped the mixture into a waiting LockLock container, covered it with a piece of Press ‘N’ Seal wrap before snapping the lid shut. According to the information found on David Lebovitz’s website, keeping the container as airtight as possible prevents the ice cream mixture from getting icy and absorbing other odors from the freezer during the freezing process.
The ice cream reached a scoop-able consistency in approximately four hours.
The texture and flavor was very different in comparison to the store-bought variety. The ice cream melts quickly, but the texture is smooth and velvety, and the vanilla bean holds its own amidst the rich flavor of cream and eggs.
等待了四個多小時之後，終於到了試吃的時間了！ 我吃了第一口的感觸就是 從此以後我應該會比較少買市面上的冰淇淋。 因為 homemade ice cream 的口感， 味道真的跟外面買的差很多。 So, 雖然比較花時間，而且比較費力 但是從現在開始我要繼續用心做冰淇淋跟家人及朋友分享！