Soft serve ice cream is one of the best summer treats.It's creamy and satiny all in one. Unfortunately if you're hankering for it , it's a trip out to the local ice cream parlor or boardwalk. Not anymore.It can be made at home.
How can this be? Easy, thanks to a recipe by Melissa Clark in her A Good Appetite column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Home chefs don't need one of those special machines that churn out the treat. They don't even need an ice cream maker. The fanciest gadget required is a food processor (although the recipe works well with an ice cream maker so use it )It's an easy recipe that only requires six large egg yolks, heavy cream and melted cream cheese! Why the last? Because it's a sub in for the usual gums commercial ice cream manufacturers use to solidify the product. Ms. Clark leaned this from Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, an up and coming maven in the industry..Ms Bauer asserts that cream cheese gives body to ice cream and gives it body.. Another suggestion from her is using a mix of granulated and liquid sugar to increase the ice cream's elasticity. Liquid sugar could be corn syrup or honey. .Ms Clark recommends the last but it's not the average honey. For more flavor think a lavender one or chestnut , linden flower or even buckwheat. Adding the honey gives a caramelized sweetness that amps up the flavor.
Is making soft serve hard? No. It's basically creating a custard and then freezing it. The base is really considered French ice cream or sort of like frozen custard. The recipe calls for six large egg yolks that will be first whisked together with the honey, sugar ,vanilla and salt. The cream is also heated for a better blending and to prevent the eggs from curdling. The entire mixture should just be simmered until the custard can coat the back of a spoon otherwise it could curdle.Transfer to a heatproof bowl and add the cream cheese. This last should be cut into cubes for more manageability and it will melt faster . Then the bowl should be nestled in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Then the custard should be whipped until thick and cold. Use a hand mixer or immersion blender for this. After five minutes spoon it into ice cream trays.It's best frozen overnight but if you're pinched for time then just stick it in the freezer for three hours . (It's maximum time is one week)Once frozen, pop out the cubes with a butter knife or off set spatula and into a food processor.Pulse cubes with a half cup of milk until smooth and the consistency of soft serve. serve immediately . It can last up to one week but you probably won;t have to worry about that.Buy or make cones for the real experience.
Soft serve ice cream is one of the hallmarks of the summer. Now you can have it right in your kitchen, thanks to an easy recipe. Make it and enjoy this classic treat, whether in a bowl or in a classic cone