How to Make Ice Cream and Sorbet
A few time-tested methods for making this year-round treat.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: June 27th, 2012
hen we hear it, the familiar jingle of the ice cream man, it still brings out the kid in us. And since most of our tastes are a bit more refined now that we're not nine years old, we tend to seek out ice creams and sorbets that aren't shaped like our favorite cartoon character and don't have gumballs mixed in. And while ice-cream makers have been around for ages, they're easier than ever to use, making this a project you'll have no trouble tackling. Here are a few easy methods and great recipes we've tried.
The Custard Method
Probably the most involved method of the ones we're listing, the custard method of making ice cream typically also produces the smoothest/creamiest product. This method involves heating up a milk/cream mixture, then beating in raw egg yolks slowly (so they don't curdle), then heating the entire mixture (stirring constantly) until it thickens. After this, you chill the ice cream base (whether you use an ice bath for rapid cooling or just put the base in a container and put it in the fridge overnight is up to you). Then, you simply pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and let it do its thing.
Want a more in-depth explanation? Check out David Lebovitz's tutorial and recipes here.
Now that we aren't nine years old, we tend to seek out ice creams that aren't shaped like our favorite cartoon character.
The Philadephia Method
Decidedly less obnoxious to make than the custard method, the Philadelphia method still produces a good product, although slightly less creamy.This method is great for flavors that you really want to shine—since there's no egg in this method, the yolk won't impart its rich flavor on whatever you're creating. Fruit flavors? Maple? Let those shine. This method simply takes milk and cream plus the flavor and churns it. Here, though, it's imperative to let the base get as cold as possible before putting it in the ice cream maker. This helps smaller ice crystals form, which results in smoother ice cream. Check out a Philadelphia style recipe here.
The "Jeni's" Method
In Ohio, there's a famous ice cream shop called "Jeni's." Created by Jeni Britton Bauer, this method uses corn syrup, corn starch, and cream cheese to thicken the base rather than eggs. This method produces an ice cream with a texture that you're unlikely to have experienced thus far; someone we know described it as "frozen velvet," which while it sounds weird, is absolutely delicious. With this method, corn starch helps absorb water in the base which prevents ice crystals, while corn syrup (not a lot, don't worry!) provides body, and the cream cheese delivers stabilizers to help give smooth texture. It's about halfway between the Philadelphia method and the custard method in terms of difficulty (read: not that difficult at all). Here's a tutorial for her "salty caramel" flavor.
In terms of making sorbet, there's only one real method—mix ingredients together and freeze. The sky is basically the limit, but if you're venturing into making your own custom flavors, just remember that coldness dulls out the flavors a bit, so make them sweeter than you think you'll need to. Once it's frozen, the sweetness mellows considerably. Here's a recipe for an ultra-refreshing, coconut-lime sorbet.