A new ice cream machine, and a new method!
I love making ice cream - at least in theory. I've had an ice cream machine since I was about 8 - and I still have that same one, an old Philips. It still works, but lately it's occurred to me that maybe it's not as good as it once was. It doesn't freeze the ice cream very solidly, and the freezing disc itself is looking a bit wonky. I started looking around for new machines, and realized that the Kitchen-Aid ice cream attachment had gotten pretty good reviews. I asked for more input on Twitter, and would you believe that one of my followers, @helenagullberg, quickly replied that she had one, she wasn't using it, and I was more than welcome to borrow it for a while. Really, the kindness of people!
So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we visited with Helena and her husband in their beautiful home, admired their vegetable patch and their greenhouse, and were entrusted with the Kitchen-Aid attachment. I was pretty excited to get home and put the bowl in the freezer, where it stayed for two weeks until I could make up my mind on what to try.
My first recipe was from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, a book that I really, really enjoy. I've tried three recipes so far - first a Honeyed Peanut Butter Ice Cream with dark chocolate freckles (or streaks, as it happens) that I made with the old machine. Great in texture, but too sweet for my liking, and too much honey flavor. Next, Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk, which was also the first one to try in the Kitchen-Aid. Roasting the strawberries was a great idea to make them more intense, but adding buttermilk (or filmjölk, as I did) isn't something I'll repeat, it was too tangy for me. I layered the finished ice cream with more strawberry purée (as the recipe yielded extra) and it was delicious! A little hard once frozen in the freezer, but I'm blaming the added liquid from the purée. My third flavor was Creamy Lemon Ice Cream and that turned out brilliantly!
If you're not familiar with Jeni's ice creams, they're pretty un-traditional. Instead of using eggs, she has a special recipe that involves cream cheese, and corn starch. Sounds weird, but the reasoning behind it is very sound, and more importantly, both flavor and texture is great. Egg-based ice cream can be a little too egg-y tasting, and the base is better if prepared the night before - while this ice cream can be made very quickly. I'm impressed - and I'll definitely keep using her recipes.
The Kitchen-Aid works really well. It spins the ice cream quickly, and that's a key for getting as small ice crystals as possible. The big downside is that it's a pretty big bowl to keep in the freezer, but then again, that's the issue with almost all ice cream machines. The upside: if you already have an Kitchen-Aid, you don't need another big bulky machine! And it's pretty big, so you can easily make a fairy big batch of ice cream. I've bought one of my own now, so I can safely return Helena's!