I LOVE ice-cream. It makes me smile. Notice that I said "Ice-Cream", and not "Frozen Dessert". Next time you go to the grocery store, go look in the freezer section, for that matter go look in your own freezer if you "think" that you have purchased "ice-cream" for you kids. I'll wait......... did you go look? I am not a gambling type of a girl, but if I were, I would bet you a thousand dollars that what you have purchased as a special treat for your family is "frozen dessert". What is frozen dessert? I can tell you what it's not. It's not "Ice-Cream"!
Admittedly I am an ice-cream snob. I will only eat "ice-cream". That means the expensive stuff, or I make it myself. Growing up my Mom had a huge (it may not have been huge, but to my child's eyes it was ginormous) wooden ice-cream maker. It was one of those babies that you filled up the outside cavity with rock salt, and the inside you poured your mixture into. We would then take turns turning the crank. Our ice-cream was "real" ice-cream. We raised goats and the ice-cream was made of cream that had been skimmed off of the top of milk that had been milked that day. Mom and Dad also used to buy great jugs of milk from a local dairy farmer, something that the farmer could never do today.
I cannot purchase milk from my local dairy farmer, that's illegal. I can however do the next best thing and purchase pasteurized cream from the grocery store and make my own ice-cream. I am now on my second ice-cream maker. My ice-cream maker is one that you freeze the drum in the freezer for 24 hours. I don't have to use rock salt or crank it, it is electric. My first ice-cream maker was the cheapest that I could buy. We loved the ice-cream. After a few years the drum got a pin-prick leak and I had to throw it out. My second ice-cream maker / current one is a more expensive model. The difference in the taste of the ice-cream made from the exact same recipe from the two different machines was night and day. I discovered that if you want the best ice-cream that you can make, go with the best model that you can afford. The better machines pump more air into the ice-cream, and more air makes richer, better ice-cream.
I really love a lot of things about making my own ice-cream. I love that I can pronounce all of the ingredients that I am putting into it, which means I can pronounce all of the ingredients that I am putting into my growing children. I love that I can be creative and have fun making ice-cream and my family is all too happy to taste test for me. I have tried dozens of different combinations. Every family member has their own very favourite.
Tonight I made Tutti Fruiti ice-cream. My idea for Tutti Fruiti hit me as I was making fruit salad for the kids. I chopped up cantaloupe, pineapple, and then put in grapes. It struck me that might make a delicious ice-cream combination, and I was right. I put approximately two cups of fruit into my food processor, and added some maraschino cherries. I used the pulse setting because I wanted there to be some texture. It looked really pretty.
I had my pint sized helper in the kitchen today, Elly. Elly was very hands on (by hands on what I really mean is that she grabbed everything out of my hands and announced that was her job). In a separate bowl my assistant and I mixed the creams. It's a good idea to use one of the big Pyrex glass measuring bowls, or something that has a lip on it, it makes for so much less mess when you get to the pouring stage. There are as many recipes for ice-cream as there are types of ice-cream. I prefer the simple base. The simple base involves 3/4 of a cup of white sugar, 1 cup of half and half cream and two cups of whipping cream. That's it, short and sweet. Elly and I then used a whisk to thoroughly blend the sugar into the cream. When the base was mixed Elly poured in the fruit. My assitant flipped the switch on, and I poured the ice-cream mixture into the ice-cream maker.
One of our favourite things about the ice-cream making process is stealing ice-cream before it's really ready. It takes half an hour for the ice-cream maker to work it's magic. Most times I put way too much mixture into the machine and it causes it to mushroom up to the top. Everyone then quietly goes into the kitchen (their theft aided by the loud noise of the ice-cream maker) and takes a spoon out of the drawer, then scoops off a small helping of the ice-cream. Every single one of them does it, including myself (I justify as taste-testing). My theory is that the sneakiness of it makes it taste all the better.
It takes half an hour to make the ice-cream. When it is done it is more the consistency of a soft serve.For scoop-able ice-cream it is a good idea to put it into the freezer for an hour or more. Home made ice-cream does not have all of the added chemicals to make it more scoop-able, so you will really have to work for your cone. Trust me it's worth the extra effort. My other tip is to scoop the ice-cream into a tupperwear instead of just freezing it in the drum. I took the lazy approach the first few times, and the metal of the drum makes it nearly impossible to scoop it out.
Tutti Fruiti was not a big hit with the younger kids, they did not really like the texture. Grace and Christopher and I loved it. Christopher even declared that it might be the best ice-cream that I have ever made. It has a really nice clean taste. It also has two cups of fruit in the batch. The fruit unfortunately does not cancel out the calorie content, nor does it render this ice-cream "healthy", but what it does do is add "health" to a treat. So there you have it, home made Tutti Fruiti ice-cream.