Frozen favorites: Indulge in custard and other frozen treats without the long lines

Posted May 29, 2012, at 4:09 p.m.

Would you like to try to reproduce the summer custard-stand experience at home?

The bad news is that you probably won’t be able to get your hands on one of the prepackaged mixes virtually all frozen-custard stands use. (What, you thought they kept a few thousand eggs in the back room?) Nor will you have access to the industrial-strength churning and freezing machines that result in the denseness that allows that nifty inversion trick for which our best-known local stand is famous.

The good news is that eggs, in fact, are what differentiates frozen custard from regular ice cream. And the small quantities you’re going to produce allow you to use fresh eggs in every batch.

We’ll get you started with a basic Vanilla Frozen Custard recipe that includes a variation for a Cookies and Cream version that might remind you of one of your favorite local flavors. If you’re not in the mood for cookies, substitute another favorite mix-in instead.

If you’d like to feature some additional flavors but don’t want to work as hard, we’ve also included an ultra-simple way of making Pineapple Ice Cream — not frozen custard, but still richly flavored. And if you don’t mind a few extra steps, take a look at Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream, which uses buttermilk and cream cheese to tack on an added layer of richness.

If you really, truly want to make it seem like your favorite local stand, invite several dozen of your friends. Just be sure to get your home ice cream machine churning away several days in advance.

Vanilla Frozen Custard

Makes 4 servings

1¾ cups heavy cream

¾ cup 1 percent or 2 percent milk

½ cup granulated sugar, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 vanilla bean

5 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together cream, milk, ¼ cup sugar and salt. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the knife to scrape the seeds carefully from the bean. Add the seeds and the split bean to the pan.

2. Put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture just begins to bubble around the edges, remove from the heat, cover the pan and let steep for about 30 minutes.

3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in the remaining ¼ cup sugar until smooth. Set aside.

4. Uncover the cream mixture and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.

5. Carefully scoop out about ½ cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another ½ cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.

6. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula or wooden spoon, and holds a clear path when you run your finger along the spatula or spoon, 1-2 minutes.

7. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container in an ice-water bath, wash your spatula and stir occasionally until the mixture is cool. Remove from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

8. Add the vanilla extract and stir until blended.

9. Freeze in your ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the custard is churning, put the container you’ll use to store it in the freezer. When fully churned, serve right away or, for a firmer custard, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Per serving: 555 calories, 45 g fat, 27 g saturated fat, 380 mg cholesterol, 7 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 28 g sugar, no fiber, 190 mg sodium, 150 mg calcium.

Variation: For Cookies and Cream Frozen Custard, during the final minute or so of churning, add 1¼ cups roughly chopped chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, or fold them in by hand after the custard is removed from the machine.

Adapted from “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones,” by Kris Koogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough (Ten Speed Press, 2012)

Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Makes 4 servings

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced ½-inch thick

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ cups whole milk, divided

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt

1¼ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

¼ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries and ⅓ cup sugar in an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Roast for 8 minutes or until just soft. Let cool slightly.

2. Puree the berries with the lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Measure ½ cup of the pureed berries and set aside; refrigerate the rest for another use. (You’ll have more than enough for another batch of ice cream; the recipe makes this amount because the berries must fill the baking dish or they will dry out or scorch as they roast.)

3. Mix about 2 tablespoons milk with cornstarch in a bowl to make a smooth slurry. With a wooden spoon, stir together cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

4. Combine the remaining milk, cream, the remaining ⅔ cup sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

5. Return to medium-high heat; bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

6. Gradually mix the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved ½ cup strawberry puree and buttermilk; blend well.

7. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon zip-closed freezer bag; submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice if necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

8. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice-cream machine and churn until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Per serving: 600 calories, 36 g fat, 22 g saturated fat, 130 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 64 g carbohydrate, 51 g sugar, 0.5 g fiber, 195 mg sodium, 190 mg calcium.

Adapted from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home,” by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan, 2011)

Pineapple Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

1 (12-ounce) can frozen pineapple juice concentrate

2 cups heavy cream

½ cup water

½ cup granulated sugar

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, then stir again to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Scrape the mixture into a shallow pan, cover and freeze.

2. Break the frozen mixture into small chunks with a fork, then process in a food processor or blender until smooth. If some of the frozen chunks are stubborn, continue processing; extra processing makes the ice cream smoother and creamier.

3. Serve immediately as a slushy spoon drink, or scrape into a container and refreeze until firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours. If the ice cream freezes solid, let it soften in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer, or carefully soften it in the microwave on the defrost setting a few seconds at a time. For best flavor and texture, serve within 3 days.

Per ½-cup serving: 345 calories, 22 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, no sugar, no fiber, 35 mg sodium, 65 mg calcium.

Variations:

• For Pineapple Mango Sherbet, substitute 12 ounces plain low-fat yogurt for the heavy cream. Puree 1 heaping cup fresh ripe or frozen mango chunks in a food processor; blend with the other ingredients before freezing the first time.

• For Pineapple Banana Sherbet, substitute 12 ounces plain low-fat yogurt for the heavy cream. Reduce the sugar to ¼ cup. Puree 1 heaping cup banana chunks in a food processor; blend with the other ingredients before freezing the first time.

Adapted from “Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts,” by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012)

©2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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