Ice Cream Born In Microwave

August 01, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

The most trying part of making old-fashioned homemade ice cream isn't turning the crank till your arm aches. It's standing over a hot stove, stirring the simmering custard base for the ice cream, then waiting while it cools enough to be freezable.

Not all ice cream recipes require cooking, but those that don't rarely have the rich taste or velvety texture of ones made with a custard base -- the kind you typically simmer and whisk constantly to keep from curdling. Here are two ideas for streamlining the whole process without compromising the quality of the finished ice cream.

First, make the custard in the microwave, which requires a minimum of stirring. Second, whether you cook the custard on the stove or microwave it, always let it chill thoroughly before you attempt to freeze it. Trying to churn-freeze custard that's warmer than about 40 degrees will likely turn the cream in the mixture to butter. Besides ensuring a smooth, creamy texture, cooking and chilling the custard base well ahead helps lighten and increase its volume as it freezes into ice cream.

The ice creams below can be refrigerated for up to three days before churn-freezing in a salt-and-ice bucket freezer or automatic ice cream maker. The finished ice creams will hold well for up to a week in the freezer.

Chocolate Dream Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

3 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, melted

2 cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thick and lemon-colored. Add milk and beat well. Microwave on medium (50 percent) until mixture is thickened (7 to 9 minutes), stirring twice. Stir in melted chocolate until thoroughly mixed. Chill in refrigerator until cool (about 30 minutes).

When mixture is cool, stir in cream and vanilla. Chill in refrigerator 2 to 3 hours, preferably overnight. Freeze according to ice cream freezer manufacturer's directions.

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups milk

2 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large microwave-safe bowl, beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thick and lemon-colored. Add milk and beat well. Microwave mixture on medium (50 percent) until slightly thickened (7-9 minutes). Chill in refrigerator until cool (about 30 minutes).

Stir in cream and vanilla. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 to 3 hours, preferably overnight. Freeze according to ice cream freezer manufacturer's directions.

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