My new favorite toy came in the mail today. I had been stalking CraigsList for an ice cream maker that had an internal condenser. We have tried a couple of the “frozen bowl” ones, where you freeze the bowl in the freezer and attach the paddle to it, and have never been really impressed. The ones with the internal condenser have the freezer hardware built right in, so you don’t have to keep a giant bowl in the fridge, and it can freeze much more quickly, leading to creamier ice cream. The problem is that the internal condenser models are much more expensive and tend to be on the large side. After a few weeks of back and forth with someone from the Twin Cities, I snagged a Gaggia Gelatiera for about 1/4 of it’s original price. While still much more expensive than the “frozen bowl” kind, it was a great deal for what it can do.
This thing is a beast. It’s huge and weighs about 30 pounds. It is Italian and definitely has the “Italian” design aesthetic to it. Luckily the instruction booklet was in fairly good English. It has a timer dial and two switches – one to turn on the freezer and the other to turn on the paddle. I wanted to try a Pistachio Gelato recipe from a book of recipes I picked up at Janke Bookstore this weekend, but we couldn’t find unsalted pistachios anywhere in Stevens Point (Julie is searching for an online place to order some). Instead we got what we needed for just regular old vanilla. Our shopping list included a bunch of heavy cream, whole milk, and lard for recipes from a new Amish cookbook Julie got for her birthday – I don’t think the checkout person was impressed, but I was.
When we got home, I got to work mixing up the cream, whole milk, and seeds scraped from a vanilla bean.
The mixture was allowed to rest for awhile while we ran errands, and when we got back it was reheated and a bunch of sugar and a pinch of salt were added, along with 4 egg yolks. It was kept on the heat until it got to a “custard” stage, which Julie tried to explain to me but I didn’t really understand. I put the mixture in the fridge to cool for a few hours.
Getting the machine ready involved making a mixture of alcohol and water. This goes between the base of the freezer and the removable bowl to keep a good, air tight seal so the freezer works correctly. Luckily we had some rather old Tequila sitting around. At least it was in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one…
I added the alcohol, put the bowl in and flipped on the freezer. The freezer fires up for 5 minutes to get nice and cool, and then the mixture is added.
After the mixture is added, the timer is started and we just sat back and waited for about 40 minutes while it whipped up the mixture and froze it quickly.
The end result was some of the best ice cream we have ever had. Really unbelievably creamy and super, super rich. It went great with some chocolate cake Julie had made earlier in the evening. I am super excited to try all sorts of different kinds now, and we have quite a bit left over sitting in the freezer for tomorrow!