It’s been something of a long week at Casa Twistie. Things Happened. Many of them involved plumbing and random electrical equipment going awry. We have been a tidge grumpy about the scatter, including the cat who has been thrown out of the bedroom at night on no less than three occasions this week for playing soccer with his catnip mouse on my feet in the wee hours of the morning. The crust of me wanting to sleep!
In light of all that, I decided that I wanted to try a recipe for something that brings a little joy to my world even when Things Happen. What did I want?
The thing is, most modern ice cream recipes assume that one has an ice cream maker. I do not possess one. Recipe after recipe informs me that in order to make my own ice cream, it’s as simple as putting together their combination of ingredients and following the manufacturer’s instructions. It became something of a point of very weird honor for me not to follow manufacturer’s instructions in making ice cream. Surely, I thought to myself as I sometimes do, there must be a way to do it sans ice cream making thingamajiggy. After all, Dolley Madison served ice cream at the White House when she was First Lady (or was it when she was acting as the widowed Thomas Jefferson’s official hostess?), and I don’t think they had ice cream makers, per se, back then.
Then I thought of something.
I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but Mr. Twistie loves flea markets and garage sales. Sometimes he brings back things that would give Plummy the vapors, but once in a while he finds a true treasure for yours truly. A couple years ago, he found a huge stack of vintage cooking pamphlets and booklets that someone sold him for pretty much nothing. I pulled them out and found the timeless classic 250 Delectable Desserts, published in 1940. That’s right, 250 recipes for sweet things crammed into 48 pages, complete with dozens of black and white photos of some of the delights contained within.
It was within this slender volume that I found today’s recipe.
Mocha Ice Cream
2 Cups Milk
4 Tblsp ground coffee (next time I might use a slightly smaller amount of espresso powder instead for a deeper flavor and less grainy texture, as well as to skip a step that was a little messy)
1/3 Cup Corn Sirup (sic)
1/3 Cup sugar
2 Tblsp flour
1/8 tsp salt (call it a dash and be done with it)
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup heavy cream, whipped.
Heat milk and coffee for 10 minutes in the top of a double boiler (or, if you don’t have one, just simmer some water in a saucepan and place another saucepan of similar size on top. Make sure the water doesn’t actually touch the bottom of the upper saucepan); strain through cheesecloth (Messy). Mix corn sirup (sic), sugar, flour and salt; add scalded coffee milk slowly stirring constantly. Return to double boiler stirring until it thickens (this took a surprisingly long time for me, but it might have something to do with the fact that my stove is rapidly reaching the end of its useful life and getting crochety…or it might have something to do with the fact that this is just the kind of thing that rarely works as well for me in the kitchen as it seems to for some other cooks, because we all have our weak spots); cook 5 minutes longer. Add hot milk mixture slowly to beaten egg yolks (be careful about doing this part slowly or you can accidentally wind up with bits of scrambled egg in your ice cream, which…not the taste treat of the century, or so I’m told) and cook 3 minutes longer. Chill (no, really, that’s all they said here so I guessed and stuck it in the fridge for about an hour, and it seemed to work) and add vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff; whip cream and fold both into chilled mixture. Freeze in refrigerator tray (or, you know, your handy dandy freezer now that we have such things) until firm. Serves 6.
How did it come out? A little soft and fragile compared to commercial ice creams, a tiny touch grainy because while I made some exciting Jackson Pollock-esque patterns while pouring scalding coffee milk through cheesecloth, I also managed to let a few of the grounds I was trying to remove get through the cloth into my ice cream. Espresso powder for sure, next time. All the same, it was tasty, it had a good coffee flavor, and I would absolutely do this again.
I may not have an ice cream maker, but I’ll definitely be one as the weather heats up.