Western Living Magazine
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Get ready for a sweet summer with our easy primer on making artisanal ice cream.
Ice cream is no less a treat than it was before the days of refrigeration, when having some meant you also had classic Canadian commodities like ice and salt and enough mettle to churn your cream by hand.
These days there’s no shortage of commercial ice cream options on the market, but making your own is worth the effort—flavours can be inspired by fruit in season, and you can play with ingredients to satisfy your own cravings. Most ice creams are made with a thin custard base, but making one isn’t necessary; it’s easy to whisk together cream, sugar, fruit and flavourings when it’s instant gratification you’re after.
An ice cream machine makes it easy to achieve a smooth texture, breaking up ice crystals as your mixture freezes, but owning one isn’t the only route to ice cream success; for no-churn ice cream, freeze your cream mixture in a loaf pan, removing it from the freezer regularly to stir it up as it freezes until it transforms into ice cream.
When it comes to flavours, just about anything goes. Fruit is always a good call—berries, mango, stone fruit and other juicy fruits are best, simmered or mashed to break them down before adding to your base. Pour them in toward the end of the freezing time for a swirled effect, or add them to the mixture early on for fruit throughout. And don’t worry about an accurate ratio of fruit to cream: the more fruit you add, the more fruit-forward your ice cream will be, and even puréed fruit on its own makes a delicious sorbet. For chocolate, free-pour chocolate sauce into the mix. And if you want additions like chopped cookies or peanut butter cups, stir them in as your ice cream is finishing the churning process but is still soft.
Chocolate ice cream is a classic; this version is creamy and rich—add another layer by stirring some extra chopped chocolate into the ice cream once it’s partially frozen. To make mint chocolate ice cream, substitute mint extract for the vanilla or espresso powder.
Sorbets are dairy-free, generally made with fruit and sugar. This refreshing version is like a cocktail, made with puréed cucumber, fresh mint, gin and lime—perfect for patio season.
Why limit yourself to strawberry? The ultimate pie flavour translates perfectly to pale pink ice cream—use any ratio of chopped strawberries and rhubarb, fresh or frozen, to total about three cups.
Sour cream adds tang and a smooth texture to ice cream; it’s a particularly tasty accompaniment to sweet fruit pies, cobblers and crisps. Use brown sugar for a more caramelly flavour.
Burnt sugar and espresso—a flavour combination inspired by Paris food writer and ice cream aficionado David Lebovitz—has a sharp burnt-caramel flavour that pairs well with espresso and is mellowed by smooth cream.
A granita is even easier to make than ice cream: freeze fruit juice, or even coffee, in a pan—don’t bother stirring it as it freezes—and scrape the mixture into a granular snow with a fork to serve. Try adding a scoop of granita to your glass before pouring in Prosecco or cava.
Photographer Makito Inomata and Art Director Paul Roelofs (who, rumour has it, was doing impromptu puppet shows) kept the kids laughing throughout the entire shoot.