Introduction: Homemade "Super Premium" (Old Fashioned) Ice Cream

For a long time there was only 'ice cream'. It was made just the way you'd make it at home, with real milk, eggs, sugar, etc. Over the years manufacturers found ways to make it cheaper by using artificial ingredients (and by 'artificial' I mean just things that weren't in ice cream before--like guar gum, carrageenan, artificial flavors, etc.)

This caused the flavor and 'mouth feel' of ice cream to slowly degrade. It wasn't as good as it used to be, but we didn't notice because the trend was slow.

Then some companies like Ben & Jerrys and Hagen Das started making regular old-fashioned ice cream without artificial ingredients and people said 'Wow, this is great!' They were either too young to remember what it used to be like, or else they had forgotten what real ice cream tasted like. So maybe they shouldn't call it 'super premium', they should just call it REAL ice cream.

With that in mind we're going to make REAL ice cream. It doesn't depend on what kind of machine you have ( Automatic or manual, frozen container or rock salt style ), it depends on what you put into it and how you prepare what you put it into.

Okay, let's get started...

Step 1: Bill of Materials

What you'll need for this:

An ice cream machine. As you can see I'm using a Cuisinart although any style of ice cream machine will do. You'll need a machine of some sort.

Sugar - 1/2 cup
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk - optional
2 cups heavy cream - If milk it omitted use 3 cups
Vanilla flavoring
Fruit or flavoring - I'm using fresh strawberries which have been washed, hulled and quartered.

You'll need a medium sauce pan, a spoon and a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Preparing the Custard Ingredients

Real ice cream starts with an egg custard which is mixed with fruit and then frozen.

In the mixing bowl put the egg yolks (or the whole egg), the sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly until light yellow and smooth. I used a whisk but all that is required is a good mix.

On the stove pour the milk and cream into a saucepan over medium heat. It is very easy to burn milk to err on the side of caution but don't be afraid of it.

You want to get the milk to the point of just before boiling. This is a neat trick and if you master it you will also make the world's best hot chocolate.

When the milk starts to get "foamy" around the edges its just about ready to go.

The next step is a little tricky and requires some patience....

Step 3: Mixing the Custard...

This is just a little bit tricky. If the eggs and the hot cream are mixed too rapidly there is a chance the eggs will begin to cook. This looks quite a bit like scrambled eggs and while it doesn't taste bad its a bit disconcerting to find scrambled eggs in your strawberry ice cream.

First carefully mix 4 tablespoons of the hot cream into the mixing bowl contents. Then slowly pour the egg mix into the hot cream mixing as you pour.

Once everything is all mixed together well reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture begins to thicken enough to cover the back of a spoon.

Once the mixture has thickened remove from the heat and allow to cool. You can cover and refrigerate overnight (if you haven't pre-frozen your Cuisinart bowl or picked up the rock salt ).

Alternatively the preparation can be cooled over an ice bath in about 30 minutes or so. As you can see from the picture I simply placed the pot in a mixing bowl filled with ice. The towel insulates the pot a bit to prevent premature freezing of the custard.

Step 4: Bringing It All Together

Once the custard has completely cooled we're ready to make our ice cream.

Most recipes will suggest at this point that the fruit be processed with a food processor. By all means if you have a food processor then process this food with it.

As you can see I used an old fashioned manual food processor to dice the fruit up into tiny little chunks.

Once the fruit has been diced up it can be added to the cold custard mix and put into the ice cream machine for processing. The amount of time and work it takes to freeze the ice cream varies considerably from machine to machine (and recipe to recipe).

So prepare your ice cream machine according to the directions and process your ice cream.

Note: There is still one more step. All ice cream machines produce a soft style ice cream. Personally I prefer my ice cream frozen pretty solid.

Also an ice cream machine can make a lot of ice cream. More than can be convenient.

Step 5: Final Freezing, Portion Control and Ice Cream Novelties.

Okay, remove the freezer from the ice cream machine.

Decide how the ice cream will be eaten ( individual portions, dessert for couples dinner ). Pour/Scoop the ice cream mixture from the freezer into individual containers.

If you have an insulated soup mug you can fill it, let it freeze solid (leaving the top off helps) and enjoy a refreshing bowl of super premium ice cream at lunch. Beats the hell out of vegetable soup...

A variety of molds can be used to produce ice cream novelties including ice cream sandwiches ( freeze in hamburger forms and add cookies ), push ups ( freeze in a cylinder with an popsicle stick ) and so on.