I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. – Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King
Here in North America, summer has started and the weather is starting to get hot; one of the nicest ways to beat the heat is with a dish of homemade ice cream. You may think it’s hard to make, but you’d be very wrong; modern electric ice cream freezers are quite inexpensive, and most of them use table salt now instead of rock salt. The freezer can sit in the sink while running to catch any spill, and the canister can be placed in the freezer to harden the ice cream. Nor do the recipes have to be difficult; while custard-style ice creams (like French vanilla) require cooking, simple fruit- or syrup based ice creams or sherbets do not, and are both simple and delicious. Here are three recipes I always use; note that these are for a two-quart freezer, so if yours is larger or smaller just adjust everything in proportion. It won’t look like enough when you pour it into the canister, but it expands considerably during the freezing process.
Syrup-based ice cream
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups whipping cream
¾ cup syrup
¼ cup sugar
Pour all ingredients into container and process as directed by your freezer’s instructions. Yes, it really is that easy, and the results are delicious. You can use any kind of syrup, thick or thin; I like to use those Italian syrups that go in sodas or coffee. Note that if you use a syrup stored at room temperature, the freezing time may increase somewhat. Also note that this recipe is fully compatible with the fruit-based one, so you can make, say, chocolate banana or cherry vanilla by simply mixing a half-batch of syrup-based with a half-batch of fruit based; the machine will do the rest.
Fruit-based ice cream
2 cups chopped or pureed fruit, as you prefer
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar (if fruit is already sweetened, reduce to ¼ cup)
I prefer to use pureed fruit because it gives a more even consistency and flavor. Note that if you use frozen or near-frozen fruit, the freezing time may be shortened somewhat. See above for comments about combined flavors.
2 cups fruit juice
3 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
You can use any drinkable-concentration fruit juice; if it’s too concentrated to be a pleasant drink (lemon juice, for example) you’ll need to dilute and/or sweeten it to beverage strength before using it or your milk will curdle and the sherbet will be much too sour. Of the three recipes, I have tested this one the least; it works perfectly with orange juice, though. The first two recipes I’ve made many, many times and the only time the results were less than perfect was the time I used insufficiently-pureed frozen bananas, resulting in more banana chunks than I personally care for.