FOOD WISE: Making memories with homemade ice cream

By CHEF RENEE MORGAN

Watermelon Sorbet (Courtesy Photo)

I remember making ice cream with my grandpa on my grandparents’ breezeway as a little girl. He had an old fashioned hand crank style ice cream maker. We would make the ice cream with cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. He always made vanilla ice cream.

The mixture was cooked, cooled and put into a metal container that fit into the ice cream maker, which was then packed with ice and rock salt. Of course, I wanted to help, so my grandpa would let me crank the handle and I would get too tired to go on pretty quickly. It felt like I’d been turning that handle for hours, but it was probably more like five minutes. Grandpa always had to  finish.

Seemed like a whole lot of work for what amounted to about a half-gallon of ice cream, but I thought it was the best ice cream I’d ever tasted. It really was more like icy sweet milk. Once again, good talks over food prep, my grandpa taught me about life, how to treat people and the Bible during those ice cream hand cranking sessions.

Thank goodness times have changed in the ice cream maker department. I like the Cuisinart ICE-21 model. It runs about $60. Super easy to use, it has a pour spout for adding nuts, fruit and other goodies, it cleans up easy, doesn’t take up a lot of space and makes ice cream in about 15-20 minutes. It also makes sorbet and frozen yogurt. The only drawback is it only makes about 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time, but you can buy an extra freezer bowl for about $30 and make back-to-back batches.

One of the best things about enjoying ice cream as an adult is the versatility that it offers. There is no limit to the kinds of ice cream you can make or yummy things you can add to the mix. You can even spice it up a bit with the addition of some fancy liquors, or what I like to call mommy juice. There are some advantages to being an adult.

I’ve included one of my favorite ice cream recipes for you, Peach and Toasted Pecan Ice Cream. I got the recipe from Southern Living years ago but added the peach schnapps for a little, ahem, extra peach flavor. Know what I mean?

Of course, if it still seems like too much work, you can always go for a bowl of Blue Bell. My current favorite is Strawberry Pound Cake. Positively addictive!

Chef Reneé is a classically trained, award winning chef and columnist. She earned her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu, as well as a bachelor of music degree from Hardin-Simmons University. She has an extensive background in events planning. Reneé lives in Liberty Hill with her husband, John, their dogs, cats and chickens.

Homemade Peach and Toasted Pecan Ice Cream

(This is one of my favorite ice cream recipes. It’s from Southern Living.)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon table salt

2 cups milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped peaches

1/4 cup peach schnapps

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla bean paste. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, cook peaches, schnapps and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely mash, and let cool 30 minutes. Stir peach mixture into cooled cream mixture.

4. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture, and chill 8 to 24 hours.

5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add pecans, and cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 9 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).

6. Pour chilled cream mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and time may vary.) Before transferring ice cream to an airtight container for further freezing, stir in pecan mixture.

Watermelon Sorbet

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

8 cups cubed fresh watermelon

1/3 cup lime juice

Place water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved to create a syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a food processor or blender, mix together watermelon cubes, syrup and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Add to an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately as soft serve sorbet or freeze in an airtight container and remove a few minutes prior to serving to let soften for scooping.