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Plain ice cream is OK, too

October 01, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Ice cream recipes can come out of left field, as did the bacon ice cream a "Top Chef" reality show contestant made with liquid nitrogen.

And then they can come out of deep left field, as in PETA's request last month that a popular commercial ice cream company use human breast milk in it's ice cream instead of cow's milk.

But the truth is, you're in good company if you like your ice cream plain. Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the U.S., according to International Dairy Foods Association, a Washington D.C.-based trade group.

And if you're making ice cream for the first time, the safe route is usually be the best route.

The process of ice cream-making is pretty simple. Nowadays the equipment does most of the work -- no more hand churning. Most recipes call for some combination of eggs, salt, sugar and cream.

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There are a few things to be cautious about. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using raw, undercooked eggs, citing salmonella risks.

The FDA recommends a recipe from the American Egg Board. In this recipe, the eggs are heated to 160 degrees to kill potential germs. Germs aside, it's an easy, adaptable, custard-style vanilla ice cream recipe with several variations, like banana-nut, cherry, chocolate and plum -- no bacon, human breast milk or liquid nitrogen needed.




The top five flavors of ice cream in the U.S.



1. Vanilla

2. Chocolate

3. Butter pecan

4. Strawberry

5. Mint chocolate chip

-- Source: International Dairy Foods Association, www.idfa.org.




Frozen custard ice cream



6 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Crushed ice
Rock salt

In medium saucepan, beat together eggs, milk, sugar, honey and salt.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees on a kitchen thermometer and is thick enough to coat a metal spoon with a thin film.

Cool quickly by setting the pan in ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Cover and thoroughly chill, at least 1 hour.

When ready to freeze, pour chilled custard, whipping cream and vanilla into a 1-gallon ice-cream freezer can.

Freeze according to manufacturer's directions, using 6 parts ice to 1 part rock salt.

Transfer to freezer containers and freeze until firm.

Yields 1 1/2 to 2 quarts.

-- Source: American Egg Board, www.aeb.org

Variations

Banana Nut

Reduce vanilla to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Cook and cool as above.

Stir in 3 large, ripe, mashed bananas and 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans.

Freeze as above.

Cherry

Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon.

Add 2 tablespoons almond extract.

Cook and cool as above. Partially freeze.

Add 2 pounds pitted, puréed, dark, fresh, sweet cherries or 1 can (16 to 17 ounces) pitted, dark, sweet cherries, drained and chopped.

Complete freezing.

Chocolate

Add 3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate to egg-milk mixture when heating.

Cook, cool and freeze as above.

Plum

Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon.

Cook and cool as above. Partially freeze.

Add 1 1/2 pounds pitted, puréed, ripe, fresh plums.

Complete freezing.

Strawberry

Omit vanilla.

Cook and cool as above. Partially freeze.

Add 2 cups sweetened, crushed, fresh strawberries.

Complete freezing.

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