Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Ice Creams

One ice cream flavor I've been wanting to try for a while has been chai. On Friday I decided to give it a shot, since I wanted to make a batch of something for people to eat on Saturday afternoon after helping Rowyn move. This turned out to be two of the most thwartful and problematic ice cream making experiences I've had yet, though entirely worth it in the end.

All of the recipes I found online seemed to involve lots of eggs. I was a bit leery of this because the last time I made a tea-related ice cream (red tea) it had six egg yolks in it and actually tasted eggy even after it was finished. I should have just ditched the recipes from the start, but I ended up using this one and scaling down the amount of eggs in it. I also was pretty imprecise with the spices, since I didn't have all the whole spices it called for but I did have a lot of McCormick's chai spice blend to supplement what I did have.

In general, I think it came out alright. But once it was done I realized what I had really wanted, and that wasn't it. All the eggs make the ice cream extremely thick and creamy, which is nice in some cases. But what I wanted here was a much lighter, melt-in-your-mouthier version. (Well, I suppose any ice cream will melt in your mouth, but you know what I mean.) Ordinarily I'd just make a note for next time and then let it go, but this time around I guess I was just feeling ornery about doing it right, so I biked back to the store for more cream to try again.

This is when things started getting particularly inconvenient, since I returned home to find that my apartment complex had a power outage. I tried waiting it out for a while, hoping my first batch of ice cream would still be okay in the freezer. I called PG&E a few times and they were working on it, but the ETA for the fix kept getting moved later. So I finally ate (a cold) dinner, then carted all my ingredients and things over to Rowyn's place to use her power. All the spices and tea have to steep for a long time in the cream, but I did what I could and then left it to chill in her fridge while we went to Friday Night Waltz. I picked it up again afterwards and took it home to put in the ice cream maker around midnight. Unfortunately, though the power had since come back on, the ice cream maker hadn't re-frozen properly and didn't work. So after 15 minutes with absolutely no change, I had to pour the mix out again, wash the ice cream maker, put it back in the freezer, and go to bed. Then I got up early to finally finish the whole thing, and that time it worked.

Anyway, in spite of all the weirdness it had to go through, the final product came out quite well indeed. If you want to try it yourself, you can still use this basic recipe and just modify it. I used 2 cups of regular cream, 1 cup of milk, and no eggs. Don't split up the cream like they do, just steep all the spices in all the dairy at once (though the tea goes in later). Then of course skip all the steps involving eggs and custard and whatnot. Comes out very yummy.

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