Monday, July 25, 2005

Ice Cream Freezers

Most of us remember cranking ice cream by hand in Mom and Dad’s or Grandma’s old ice cream freezer. We’d whine and complain about how long it was taking, how hot we were, why we were doing more cranking than our younger siblings. Oh. Wait. That may have just been me.

I doubt it, though.

Purists still say that the old hand-crank freezers make the best ice cream. The reasoning goes that a human can sense when the ice cream is starting to thicken and respond by speeding up the crank. Faster cranking whips more air into the ice cream, giving it a nicer texture.
Hand-crank makers are still available, and you can get a hand-crafted machine with a pine bucket and stainless steel blades from the White Mountain Freezer company (now owned by Rival) for $150-$200. But most of us go for the electric models now. Electric crank models that are similar to the old bucket models run from $20-$40 and can make 4-6 quarts of ice cream. I have one of these and I break it out when I want to make ice cream for a crowd. But for ice cream for the family on a Friday night, I use my Rival 1 1/2-quart maker. The freezer canister has a gel in it that freezes the ice cream without ice. It lives in the deep freeze at my house. When I get the urge to make a batch of ice cream, I mix up the ingredients, take the canister from the freezer, snap on the electric motor unit and in about 15 minutes I have ice cream. It makes a nice, small amount.

Today’s electric ice cream freezers make homemade ice cream a snap. But if you find yourself missing the whining of kids during the freezing process (hey, someone might!), try this recipe for “Kick the Can Ice Cream:”

Kick the Can Ice Cream

A couple of kids, bored ones work best
1 empty 1-pound coffee can, with lid
1 empty 3-pound coffee can, with lid
Masking or Duct Tape
Crushed Ice
3/4 cup salt
3/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Flavoring, if you choose, like chocolate or strawberry syrup

Mix the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla and flavoring together in the small coffee can. Put the lid on and tape it shut. Place the small can inside the larger can. Pack crushed ice around it. Pour the salt all around on the ice. Put the lid on the can and tape it shut. Have the two bored kids roll the can back and forth with their feet for 10-15 minutes.

This recipe is from
Information on ice cream freezers from Alton Brown’s “Gear for Your Kitchen”, Steward, Tabori & Chang, 2003.

For The Lancaster News

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