Remember in my last post I said that I was going to introduce you to my other new toy? I have been waiting a long time to write this up. I got the machine before I got my Canon DSLR, but have resisted the urge to post anything because I was waiting for the new camera to arrive. And when it finally did, these were the first photos I took. But then I was getting busy completing my first Daring Bakers Challenge, and since that had a deadline, it took precedence over my regular blogging.
But here we are finally. As much as I want to exclaim "And the new toy is....." while whisking away a red velvet shroud covering the surprise, the more impatient of you (yes, I'm looking at you Oakley), would've scrolled further down first thing to discover what my new gadget is. So yes, it's an automatic ice cream maker. Which I got at approximately half the retail price.
The machine is a factory second that was selling for $159 at the Preston Market. I was skeptical at first, but turns out that there was no major damage or anything that would affect the normal operation; the only reason it was sold so cheaply was due to a minor scratch on the wall of the cannister. And it came with a 6-months warranty. So yes, the bargain shopper in me could not resist. To tell you the truth, I've had my eyes on it since a few months ago, when I first saw the machine. But it was priced at $200 then. It was a good $100 cheaper than the retail ones, but I still had to consider it.
And then J and I celebrated our first full year of being together (it may not seem like a lot of time together, but trust me, it is my longest and best yet). He asked me what I wanted for a present, and a few days plus a few hours of heavy lifting (mostly done by him) later, my glossy new machine was well set up and roaring to go.
The first recipe that came to mind was Claire Clark's Quick Strawberry Ice Cream, from her book Indulge:100 Perfect Desserts. Most ice cream recipes you find will contain either eggs or egg yolks, as their addition makes the ice cream taste richer and creamier. This one, however, uses only double cream. In her book, Claire explained that the first time she saw her friend Matthew Hardy---who was also her fellow lecturer at Le Cordon Bleu--- prepared it for an ice cream demonstration class, she was shocked and convinced that it wouldn't be as good as the egg-based ones. But to her surprise, the resulting ice cream was just as rich and creamy as the ones she had made in the past.
I did two variations on this recipe---one using frozen forest berry mix, and another using bananas. I also played around with the recipes for a bit, after J insisted that I was puree-ing way too much berries for the mix, and because I find that brown sugar goes much better with bananas.
Forest Berries Ice Cream
300g frozen forest berries (you can substitute any kind of berries)
320g caster sugar
500ml double cream
Puree berries in a blender and then pass through a fine sieve. Mix half the sugar with the cream and bring to the boil. Pour this over the berry puree and mix well, then stir in the rest of the sugar. Leave to cool completely. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions (it took 15-20 min for mine to be ready).
Banana Ice Cream
180g brown sugar*
60g caster sugar
250ml double cream
Puree the bananas in a blender. Be sure to choose very ripe bananas for best results. Mix 120g of brown sugar with the double cream, and bring to boil. Pour this over the banana puree and mix well, then stir in the remaining 60g brown sugar and 60g caster sugar. Leave to cool completely. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions (it took 15-20 min for mine to be ready).
*Although I find that brown sugar goes better with bananas, I noticed that it alters the texture of the ice cream. The end result is a softer and stretchier ice cream. I am not sure about the chemical explanation to this, but I can guess that it has to do with the molasses contained in brown sugar. The recipe recommends the use of caster sugar, but feel free to experiment with the proportions o brown sugar if you like.