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How to make your own ice cream

Photo Credit: Ramona King

Vanilla ice cream on top of chocolate cake


How to make your own ice cream

To keep you cool this summer season, Chef Jeffrey Gardner shares a recipe with step-by-step instructions to show you how to make homemade vanilla ice cream. You'll want to serve this recipe all summer long.

First things first: You'll need a few items in your kitchen to make the ice cream. That includes an ice cream churn or attachment, a couple of bowls (at least one that's made of metal), a whisk and a pot. Once you've got all that in place you'll be ready to get going.

Start with a bowl of egg yolks, which will provide the fat, and sugar. Chef Jeffrey said he always starts with a pinch of salt as well, due to its power to enhance flavors and make foods "taste more like themselves", or in this counterintuitive case make something sweet seem sweeter.

He then adds corn syrup as an inverted sugar — one that has been processed into a semi-liquid substance — to help the ice cream freeze with smaller ice crystals and therefore develop a softer texture (unless of course you like crunchy ice cream).

Next, heat up the dairy mixture, which consists of half and half and heavy cream. Once that mixture is hot, slowly whisk it into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks, or in other words make everything in the mixture the same temperature. If not careful here, you could end up with scrambled eggs and a soupy mixture, which, due to the watery leftover egg yolk, will freeze with a harder texture.

After tempering the mixture, transfer it from the bowl to a pot and place it back on the heat. Use a rubber spatula to constantly stir it, to prevent ingredients from sticking to the bottom. As you stir, the mixture will get hotter and the eggs will become thicker. The final stage of thickness is called “nappe.”

To tell if you have arrived at this stage, use the back of a spoon to take out some of the mixture and run your finger down the middle of it. If the mixture holds your fingerprint, it's ready for the next step. If not it will run back together, which means keep stirring.

Strain the mixture to eliminate any solid particles that might have formed, then cool the mixture down in an "ice bath." It's a simple process: Fill a bigger bowl with ice cubes first, and a small amount of water second, then place the bottom of the smaller bowl — the one containing the ice cream base — inside the ice bath. Chef Jeffrey recommended using a metal bowl for the ice cream base, since metal is a good conductor and will quicken the cooling process.

Once the ice cream base is cool, mix in your vanilla extract. Chef Jeffrey said waiting until the mixture is cool will preserve the flavor of the extract. You'll then put the base into your ice cream churn, or motorized machine if you have one, then churn/spin and freeze the base as quickly as possible. The quicker you churn it, the faster it will freeze, the smaller your ice crystals will become and the more velvety your ice cream will be.

When done, store your finished dessert in an airtight container with a snug lid to protect it from freezer burn. Place it in the freezer and enjoy it with extra toppings inside the house, out on the patio with friends, in the backyard at a family barbecue or however you choose.

No matter how you decide to indulge, be sure to visit our recipe collection and get Chef Jeffrey’s Old Southern Vanilla Ice Cream recipe at home. And let us know how it goes!

Vanilla ice cream in pot: Tina Phan/American Statesman
Ice cream churn photo: JeffreyW via Flickr

Author image

Daryl Mitchell is a member of Southern Kitchen's digital content team. A student at New York University, she majors in broadcast journalism and international relations, and minors in French studies. She is a Georgia resident, raised on Southern food, family, traditions and values, and she is always ready for a hearty helping of Mom's beloved homemade mac and cheese.

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