delicious discourse

what i wish for you: real ice cream

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on March 27, 2009


On Monday, I entered every Texan ice cream lover’s dream land – the Blue Bell Creamery headquarters in Brenham, Texas. Since I was on a press tour, we got the royal treatment: greeted before we even entered the building by the Public Relations Manager, ushered into the board room for a special chat and Q & A with Paul Kruse, CEO, a VIP tour of the production facilities, and our very own exclusive ice cream tasting from 3 flavors that had just come off the production line. Life was good. Or so I thought.

Having inherited the ice cream gene (my grandfather is a notorious ice cream eater, known for satisfying late-night cravings sitting in a dark kitchen with a long-handled spoon, eating straight from the carton), I know a thing or two about ice cream. And ever since the ice cream attachment to my KitchenAid mixer came as a birthday gift last year, I have been a sort of home made ice cream connoisseur.

Now, home made ice cream has very few ingredients – the number really depends on the flavor pursuit as well as whether you are making French or American-style ice cream. French-style ice cream involves using yolks and cooking a custard that you eventually freeze. It is known for its silkiness and smoothness due to the emulsifying properties of yolks. American-style ice cream, better known as Philadelphia-style, is made with cream, or a combination of cream and milk, and no eggs. It tends to freeze a little harder and is said to have a chewier texture, but believe me it is good and so very easy to make.

Back to Blue Bell. I was pleased to hear Paul Kruse, whose family started Blue Bell (named after a long-stemmed flower that appears in July and August—peak ice cream eating season), talk about quality and authenticity. Three things he said come to mind. The first, “Ice cream can’t get any better than what you start with,” the second: “It is about making ice cream the way it should be,” and the third: “When people think of Blue Bell, they think of real ice cream.”

You can imagine my surprise when up in our private tasting room, where we were sampling fresh, not yet blast-frozen ice cream, I glanced at the ingredient list on the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla container I was spooning Pralines & Sweet Cream out of and there, the second or third ingredient was HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP a.k.a. one of the most processed forms on sugar known to man. There is nothing about high-fructose corn syrup that is “quality, real, or as it should be.” If ice cream cannot get any better than the ingredients you put into it, Blue Bell has a serious problem and I highly doubt years ago when grandma was hand cranking ice cream on the front porch, she was using high-fructose corn syrup.

My suggestion to you? Invest in an ice cream maker. I really think the ice cream tastes better when you make it and you know that you started with REAL ingredients and that in every bite there is quality, authenticity, and craftsmanship.

The recipe below is one of my favorites. And yes, it is this easy. I must tell you, this recipe comes with a warning – ignorance can be bliss – once you go homemade, you never go back.

You can’t say you weren’t warned. Now, get to work. And once you have some ice cream, take those strawberries you bought at the farmer’s market and slice them over a scoop and enjoy the teat on your front porch. I can’t wait for peach season … REAL homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches, peach ice cream, peach cobbler with homemade vanilla … the possibilities are endless.

Vanilla Ice Cream, Philly Style
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

by David Lebovitz (a.k.a. my ice cream bible)

3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour one cup of cream into a medium saucepan. Add sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add remaining two cups of cream and vanilla extract. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready, freeze the mixture in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: This post was written as part of Fight Back Fridays with Food Renegade.


2 Responses

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  1. FoodRenegade said, on March 27, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I also got a Kitchen Aid ice cream mixer as a gift last year, and I haven’t used it yet. This recipe looks delightfully simple. I would probably nix the table sugar, though, as we’re pretty sworn off refined sweeteners in my home. But I could use something else mildly sweet — like honey. Hmmm. I wonder how well honey would go with vanilla? That doesn’t sound too good. Perhaps just honey. Honey flavored icecream. Now there’s an idea!

    Thanks for participating in today’s Fight Back Friday carnival.

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  2. Dana said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Summer 2007, Philadelphia. Visited my cousins who presented a feast of smoked meats and home-made ice cream. It was hands-down the best ice cream I’d ever tasted and I couldn’t believe it when they told me that the made it themselves and that it was easy.

    When I got home from my visit, I immediately googled ice cream makers and found a Cuisinart model that got good ratings. I put it on my Xmas list — and the rest is history.

    I’m usually the first to scoff at people who buy expensive kitchen gadgets, but my little ice cream maker is worth it’s wait in frozen yumminess.

    There is nothing better than the strawberry ice cream we make from freshly-picked berries!

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