Ice Cream Class & Sundae School

20 May 2014

Summer Homework Required Reading

Text and Photographs by Kim Byer

 Peach and Pineapple Sorbet recipe

Lesson no. 1: Know thy scream.

 It’s summertime: time for humid, lazy days when the musical lilt of the ice cream truck – the original food truck – drifts through the neighborhood trees like a fisherman’s slow cast. It’s time for kiddie pools and blow up rafts, bicycles and beach vacations. It’s time for tank tops and sunburns, painted toenails and flip-flops, sunglasses and paperbacks. But better yet, it’s time for the kid inside us all to scream when someone offers us a cold cone of creamy, melting, dripping, delicious ice cream.

 Even though the screaming kid inside us is now responsible for either purchasing it or making it, it’s no less fun. Picking up a grocery store carton from the freezer aisle has been our reflex for decades now. It’s not always cheap, but it is convenient. However, we’re beginning to realize that if we care about the ingredients and the food we eat, we’re often better off making our ice cream. And as these lessons illustrate, making it is half the fun.

 Lesson no. 2: Go old school.

 If your inner child cries out for a bowl of rich-with-real-cream, luxurious ice cream, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream will knock your tennis socks off. Based on David Leibovitz’s French Vanilla Ice Cream, with less time standing at your stove, this recipe produces a quart of ice cream indiscernible from your grandmother’s rock salt and hand-cranked churn versions. She told you about those, didn’t she?

 Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Makes a little less than 1 quart

Adapted from [The Perfect Scoop] by David Leibovitz

 1 cup whole milk

Pinch of sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

2 cups heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract


  1. Heat milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean open and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and pod to milk. Remove from heat.
  2. Strain the milk and remove vanilla bean. Return to saucepan.
  3. In a small bowl, stir the egg yolks together. Pour a small amount of the cooled milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Incorporate eggs back into saucepan.
  4. Using a silicone spatula, cook and stir the egg and milk mixture on low until it turns into custard. After approximately ten minutes, the thick custard should stick to the spatula.
  5. Strain custard into a very cold bowl (or bowl sitting inside an ice bath) and slowly incorporate the heavy cream.
  6. Incorporate the vanilla extract using a whisk. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled—up to eight hours. The colder the ice cream, the less time it will need to churn.
  7. Churn/Freeze ice cream in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s directions.

 Note: As it churns, ice cream will dramatically increase in volume.

 Lesson no. 3: How I made Snow Cream over Summer Break

 This simple ice milk recipe will have you spooning up bowls of slushy, frozen goodness with minimal effort and without cooking. You’ll need a bowl, an appliance that churns, and four ingredients that you may already have on hand. After a few hours of freezer-time, you will be revered as an ice cream goddess. Own it.

 Vanilla Ice Milk

Serves 4-6

 1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

3 cups half-n-half

1 1/2 tablespoons good quality vanilla extract


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir or whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add half-n-half and vanilla extract and pour into an ice-cream maker (following manufacturer’s directions) or stand-up mixer freezer bowl and churn until thickened.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for several hours. Allow ice milk to thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 Lesson no. 4: Sundae! Sundae!

 Continuing this primer on homemade ice cream, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pause for a construction tutorial/reminder. The classic American sundae is what happens when pure vanilla goodness goes bad. Super bad. Sundaes are to ice cream what sprinkles are to frozen yogurt. Assemble and devour. Repeat.

 Summer Sundae

Makes one sundae

 2 -3 maraschino cherries

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, soaked in 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Whipped cream (in the can—yes!)

1/3 cup hot fudge sauce or chocolate shell (see recipe)

2 scoops Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (see recipe)

1 brownie, blondie or cookie

 Simple Chocolate Shell

Makes 2 cups

(Note: Sauce hardens when drizzled over ice cream.)

 1 cup powdered cocoa (100% cacao)

1 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons agave sweetener or maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt


  1. Stir all ingredients together. If using solid coconut oil, place chocolate into a microwave for a few seconds to make it pourable.

 Lesson no. 5: The Tale of the Magical Frozen Banana

 The average American consumes over 26 pounds of bananas each year. Don’t be average; be above average and stop trashing--or even composting-- the two or three overripe bananas that linger on your kitchen island each week. Frozen bananas are the one fruit whose sugar vs. water ratio allows them to magically transform into the creamy consistency of a dairy-based ice cream when blended.

 Bananas contain high amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamin B6 and along with a string of other A, B, and C vitamins, they’re also low in calories. This healthy ice cream imposter has been lurking around the Internet for a few years now and, if you haven’t tried it yet, make this your summer to indulge without fear of the bulge.

 Soft-serve Banana Ice Cream

 3- 6 frozen bananas

 In a high-powered blender or food processor, chop frozen bananas on low, stopping occasionally to stir, until they transform from a small ball texture into a thick, creamy soft-serve consistency. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container.

 Tip: Cut ripe bananas into ½ disks and wrap with aluminum foil. Freeze for 2-4 hours before using.

 Soft-serve Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

 3 frozen bananas

1/2 cup fresh strawberries

 In a high-powered blender or food processor, chop frozen bananas and strawberries on low, stopping occasionally to stir, until they transform from a small ball texture into a creamy soft-serve consistency. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container.

 Double Dark Chocolate Cream

 3 frozen bananas

2 tablespoons chocolate milk or chocolate non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa (100% cacao)


1 ounce dark chocolate bar, broken into small chunks

1/4 cup cacao chips

1 tablespoon chocolate covered espresso chips

 In a high-speed blender, chop frozen bananas, chocolate milk and cocoa until mixture transforms from a small ball texture into a soft-serve consistency. Add chocolate bar chunks, cacao chips and espresso beans and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

 Extra credit experiments:

Soft-serve banana ice cream acts as the perfect sea on which to sail your dreamiest dessert boat. Fruits and berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, fresh mango, peaches, grated coconut and cherries are easy additions and often completely mask the banana base. Nuts, chocolate chips, raisins and candies are best swirled in by hand after the initial blending.

 Want more of an adult treat? Swirl in caramel sauce and sprinkle on flakes of sea salt. Or, try adding herbs and spices, such as crushed lavender, mint, saffron or cardamom. You can also kick up the intensity by drizzling flavored balsamic vinegars, such as blueberry or espresso on top. Liqueurs like kahlúa, Irish cream, crème de menthe, or amaretto will add a bit of decadence to dessert on balmy summer evenings.

 Lesson no. 6: Whole Fruit Sorbet -- an easy “A”

 Sorbet is the healthier and fruitier cousin of the extended ice cream family.Spun from a fruit base rather than a dairy base, short-cut homemade versions are possible in minutes by using frozen fruit, a single ripe (not frozen) banana and a heavy-duty blender. Create luscious, whole fruit desserts with seasonal ingredients. Shortcut sorbet variations are as unlimited as your imagination, but those made with one or two farm-fresh, local ingredients will be as welcome on your lips as the most exotic pairings.

 Sorbet Shortcut Method

 In a high-powered blender or food processor, process sorbet ingredients on low, pulsing and stopping occasionally to stir. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container.

 Peach Sorbet

Serves two

 2 cups frozen peaches

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons agave, honey or maple syrup (optional)

 Blueberry Sorbet

Serves two

 2 cups frozen blueberries

1 ripe banana

1 orange, peeled and seeded

 Pineapple Sorbet

Serves three to four

 3 cups bag frozen pineapple chunks

1 1/2 ripe bananas

 Lesson no. 7: Pop(sicle) Quiz!

 Popsicles made a comeback a couple of summers ago. They’re still the “it” dessert of the summer and these velvety variations are the stuff of dreams. Control-happy cooks will know exactly what they’re feeding their families: Lactose and peanuts are no longer worries in homemade frozen treats. And although the sugar may not be saintly, it’s measured and countered by the healthy fat (and oh-so-delicious) coconut oil. In the solar vortex of a Carolina summer, a tongue-freezing popsicle is the best kind of love a cook can share.

 Chocolate Popsicle

Makes six popsicles

 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate almond milk

1/4 cup agave sweetener

1/3 cup coconut oil (liquid)

pinch of sea salt

 Blend all ingredients on high for 15 seconds. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

 Tip: If coconut oil is solid, heat gently until dissolved.

 Berries & Creamsicle

Makes six popsicles

 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk or non-dairy milk of choice)

1/4 cup agave sweetener

1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid)

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Pinch of sea salt

1 cup mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries and blueberries


  1. Blend first five ingredients on high for 15 seconds.
  2. Divide berries among popsicle molds. Pour almond milk mixture over berries and freeze until solid.

 Tip: If coconut oil is solid, heat gently until dissolved.

 More extra credit experiments:

Want a more sophisticated freeze pop? Try adding citrus zest, chocolate shavings, or nutmeg. Or, if your inner child starts screaming at the notion of a pedestrian popsicle, try adding chia seeds, bee pollen, boba tapioca pearls or even bacon to your creations. Your friends will either crown you Popsicle King or kick you out of the supper club.

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