Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad likes to make ice cream using a combination of cream and milk, and quite a few egg yolks. This no-machine ice cream also can be made with fewer egg yolks, more milk and less cream -- a good idea if you count calories, but the texture will be a bit grainy.
Most commercial ice cream contains a lot of air; this has very little, so servings can be small.
Make Ahead: You can process more than one bag of ice cream at the same time, as long as the larger bag of ice and salt can accommodate it.
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
- For the ice cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups regular or 2 percent milk
- 2 to 3 sprigs thyme
- 4 to 6 tablespoons honey
- 8 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- For processing
- 3 quarts crushed ice
- 3 cups salt
- Water, as needed
For the ice cream: Combine the cream, milk and thyme to taste in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the honey to taste; stir until it has dissolved. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes close to a full boil and has picked up quite a lot of thyme flavor. (You'll know by the fragrance; our taste receptors pick up more sweetness and flavor when subjected to a hot substance, so the mixture should be quite but not unpleasantly sweet, with a distinct thyme flavor.) Discard the thyme.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. First, whisk in a third of the beaten yolks into the almost-boiling cream mixture to help prevent curdling; once that is well incorporated, whisk in the remaining yolks. Keep whisking; the heat should be enough to thicken the mixture to the consistency of pancake batter. (If you prefer a thicker texture, transfer the mixture to a bowl placed over, but not touching, the water, of a saucepan containing a few inches of barely bubbling water over medium heat.)
Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a 2-gallon resealable plastic food storage bag, press out all of the air, seal and refrigerate.
For processing: Combine the crushed ice and salt in a larger plastic bag. Add water a few tablespoons at a time as needed; this will speed up the melting of the ice, which in turn will help freeze the ice cream.
Nestle the bag containing the ice cream mixture inside the larger bag so it is surrounded by the ice. At this point, it's best to wear gloves or use a towel to protect your hands. Close the ice bag and shake or massage for 10 to 14 minutes, until the ice cream has firmed up to the desired consistency.
Remove the bag of ice cream. Give it a quick rinse to remove most of the saltwater on the surface, open and serve.
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.