FAST AND EASY ICE CREAM
Making ice cream at home is fast and easy. And you can avoid the stabilizers and artificial coloring that are part of most commercial ice creams. Here are some tips.
The easiest way to make it is with an electric ice cream maker. The refrigerated units are like mini freezers; just plug them in, allow cooling to occur, place your ingredients in a bowl, and the ice cream is ready within 20 minutes.
The electric ice cream makers that contain a freezing liner are just as quick. Freeze the liner/container overnight, place it in the ice cream maker, add the ingredients, and the stirring is done for you.
The manual ice cream makers that contain a freezing liner work just like the similar electric ones, except that you have to stir every few minutes. It is most important to stir the mixture while the ice cream is freezing. For one, the ice crystals that form along the metal container need to be scraped off. Also, it is important to stir in from 10% to 25% volume of air into the mixture for proper freezing and texture.
The old fashioned ice cream makers require rock salt and ice in the tub surrounding the freezing container. (This lowers the melting temperature of the ice.) The wonderful thing about these is that you can make great quantities at once, and they are relatively inexpensive to boot.
Ice cream is best stored in an airtight container in the freezer. It picks up other flavors fast, so eat it within a week or so. Freeze it in ice pop molds, like the one at right, to make it easier for the kids to handle.
THE SCOOP ON THE SCOOPS
The scoops that work best, under most circumstances in our experience, are the liquid-filled ones. The heat from your hand keeps the surfaces of the scoop warm and prevents ice cream from sticking to the bowl, so it is easier to serve.
I like (as opposed to scraping,) to dig the tip of the scoop into the ice cream, then I turn the bowl so as to surround and separate a 'ball' of ice cream. Like with a melon baller. Use of a spade works best for scooping large quantities at a time.
What do the numbers mean? Scoop sizes are measured in 'scoops per quart.' Thus, a #8 scoop will measure approximately 8 level scoops per quart, and a #100 will measure about 100 scoops per quart. That's why they are also called food portioning scoops.