Ice cream started using a very basic method. Italy and France started really raising the stakes for the best ice cream and over time came to a custard base which has been used ever since. It has been played around with to create different outcomes but all start with a simple custard base.
4 egg yolks
1/2 pint (250ml) milk
1/2 pint (250ml) double/heavy cream
4 oz (100g) sugar or caster sugar
1 vanilla pod (sliced down the middle)
NOTE: This make traditional ice cream. To make it soft scoop you need to raise its sugar content. Do not simply add more normal sugar. Ive tried it does not taste nice. Ive also tried reducing the sugar and replacing it with sweeteners. This worked with some success. It does not work if you completely substitute with a sweetener. There are various sweetening syrups available. I had a reasonable result with some of them, its difficult to find one which maintains the creamy / silky texture.
In short I have not found the perfect soft scoop option, they all change the final taste and or flavour in some way.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring the pan slowly up to boiling point. Place the vanilla pod into it and leave to infuse for about 20 minutes.
In a bowl, beat and mix together the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Carefully remove the vanilla pod from the pan of milk and scrape out the seeds into the milk. Pour the milk into the mixture of egg yolks and sugar whilst stirring.
Use a bain marine. Place the bowl on top and heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens – DO NOT BRING TO THE BOIL OR IT WILL PROBABLY CURDLE.
When you can see a film form over the back of your spoon it’s time to turn off the heat.
I prefer to leave the bowl on the bain marine and let it cool at its own speed.
Many remove the bowl. Some even stand it bigger bowl of ice water to force cool it.
I have tried this and feel the end result is thicker and can sometimes contain very small lumps which I think is caused by the egg.
If you have lumps you will need to either sieve or pass through a muslin cloth.
Leave to cool.
When the custard base is cold stir in the cream.
Transfer the whole mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you do not have an ice cream machine ( the entry-level ones are about £25 ). You can box freeze. Put the ice cream into a tub, make sure the tub has a tight fitting lid and also quite a bit of space above the mix.
Place tub in freezer every 15 mins, remove from freezer and use a food mixer to churn things up. The objective is to beat/break any ice crystals.
Repeat until the mix has thickened and really started to set , not quite solid yet.
The box method is a pain, I used it for many years before machines became available at affordable prices. Trust me the machine is well worth the money.
The cheap ones you need to work fast as they do not have a built in cooler and they warm up quickly.
I now use one with its own chiller but they are still quite expensive, Ive not checked for a while. When I brought mine they started at about £250. They are probably cheaper now but still an investment.