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Volume 41 Issue 6 • June 16.22, 2011
now in our 41th season

Ice Cream Anyone?

by Jenn Farmer - Chef and Food Fancier

One food that evokes vivid emotions of summer in me is milk chocolate ice cream, or more specifically, my friend Pastry Chef Catherine’s milk chocolate ice cream.  Catherine and I met about ten years ago.  We worked together at Straight Wharf restaurant.  She and I were side-by-side every day, and lived in the same house to boot.  I can honestly say she made the most delicious sweets I have ever eaten.  Cat actually had to bake treats for the staff every day; otherwise her dessert coolers got ransacked.  She knew we just simply could not help ourselves.  No one could resist her heavenly goodies, which drove her crazy during the busy summer, since her creations were very time consuming.  She eventually realized that it was flattering, and enjoyed the attention.

One morning I arrived and Cat asked if I could help her with the ice cream, she needed me to take the milk chocolate out of the extruder machine while she took tuilles (thin delicate cookies) out of the oven.  I understood since tuilles were finicky and had to be worked with while hot, and could not be left in the oven or they would burn quickly.

I was allowed to have some fresh milk chocolate ice cream for my assistance while I cleaned the machine.  The first spoonful touched my tongue and I was floored.  The texture was of velvet, so smooth and creamy.  It was precisely the correct temperature, not too firm, not too soft, nor too cold.  And the flavor was of the most precious milk chocolate I have ever tasted.  The balance of flavor and texture literally brought me to my knees.  I wanted to weep with joy, the ice cream filled me pleasure and an odd sense of contentment.  I remember the moment so vividly.  I begged to help her make the rest of her ice creams, anytime she wanted.  You can only imagine my excitement when I tasted this very similar ice cream.

Next Best Thing Chocolate Ice Cream

  • one and one half cups whole milk
  • one and one half cups heavy cream
  • 1 T natural cocoa powder
  • One third cup granulated sugar
  • 7 oz. milk chocolate, fine chopped ( I use high quality)-in a large bowl
  • 8 egg yolks

In a heavy saucepan combine the cream and milk.  Carefully sift the cocoa powder into the cream and milk, and then whisk thoroughly.  Sprinkle half the sugar into the saucepan and bring to a simmer (don’t boil).  Prepare a large bowl with and ice water bath.  Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar.  Continue to whisk until the eggs become a pale shade of yellow, 3-4 minutes.  Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk by slowly pouring half the milk into the yolks why whisking constantly to temper it.  The mixture should be whisked back into the milk, and cooked on very low heat, stirring constantly.  (Using a figure eight motion, with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  The custard will be ready in about 10-15 minutes, and will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Pour the cooked custard over the bowl of chocolate, and whisk until all the chocolate has melted.  Set the custard over the ice bath, and continue to stir until it is cooled completely. Pour it through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps.  Refrigerate the custard, and then make according to your ice cream makers directions. Makes about one quart. 

Ice cream or at least ice desserts, have been around for a very long time.  In fact most historical references date back to ices served in Persia and China as early as 400 B.C.  Many were made from snow that was brought down from the mountains and kept in underground chambers so, it could be enjoyed during warm weather.  Recipes for ices mixed with saffron, rose water, and fruit were served to royalty in Persia.  The first mention that I could find in my research of milk being used to make ice cream, was by the Chinese during the Tang dynasty (A.D.618-907) who had ice cream chefs who made a yogurt from buffalo, cow and goat milk.  It was flavored (often with camphor), and frozen by packing snow, and a type of salt around it.  The Chinese are believed to be the first to have figured out that adding salt to ice helped reduce the freezing point, making freezing the yogurt possible.   It is believed Europeans got the knowledge for iced dairy products from China via Marco Polo.  It is also well known that Kublai Khan ate ice yogurt and tried to keep the dish a royal secret. 

Most Americans believe the first ice cream cone was invented during the 1904 world’s fair in St Louis, but this is an urban legend.  The ice cream cone (or cornet) was mentioned in French cookbooks circa 1825.  Mrs. A. B. Marshall’s Cookery Book, written in 1888, by Agnes B Marshall, of England had a recipe for “Cornet with Cream.”  This recipe is basically for a tuille with almonds.  It was baked, not made with cooking irons, like the later waffle cones.   It is true that a waffle maker, helped popularize the cone in 1904.  He was selling Syrian style waffles at the St. Louis world’s fair, but due to the heat, he wasn’t too successful selling them.  There was an ice cream booth next to his, who had enough ice cream but had run out of the cups.  They worked together to the delight of ice cream lovers for generations to come.  In 1912 the first machine for mass producing cones was invented by Frederick Bruckman.  He patented and sold the machine to Nabisco in 1928.  They are, surprisingly, still producing the cones in the same manner. 

Here is a recipe that can be made without any special equipment. They are delicate and very pretty, great for impressing guests or just for fun.

Homemade Ice Cream Cones

  • 2 large eggs
  • One half cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • One half teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
  • One third cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil spray

Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a bowl until frothy.  Whisk in the butter, milk and vanilla.  Add the salt and the flour, and whisk together until the batter is very smooth.  This batter should be very thin, basically like crepe batter.  Don’t hesitate to add a bit more milk if necessary.

Heat a 9 inch sauté pan over medium heat.  When it is hot, reduce the pan to medium low heat and lightly spray pan with the vegetable oil.  Ladle about 4 tablespoons of batter, and tilt the pan around immediately so the batter forms a very thin 6 inch circle.  Place the pan back on the heat and cook until the batter is set, and it is golden brown on the underside.  Flip the crepe carefully, and continue to cook for a moment more until that side is also golden brown.  Remove the pan from heat and slide the crepe onto a clean work surface.  While the crepe is very hot, roll the crepe into a cone shape.  If you squeeze the bottom of the cone the ice cream is less likely to drip out of it. Let the crepe continue to cool on a wire rack and continue the process. Alternately the crepe can be draped over a small bowl until cooled to create mini sundae cups.  The cones are best eaten the day of creation, especially with the humidity here.  Makes 8 cones.


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