Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mark Bittman's Cornstarch Based Vanilla Ice Cream


This morning I knew of two ways to make ice cream: basic custard-style(with eggs) and Philadephia-style(without eggs). I was all set to make Mark Bittman's Basic Philadelphia Vanilla Ice Cream. Out of sheer boredom, I typed the words "Mark Bittman's Vanilla Ice Cream" into my search bar, thinking maybe I would find others who had made the recipe. Instead, I found another Mark Bittman recipe for a cornstarch-based vanilla ice cream, courtesy of the New York Times. Having already made both custard-based and Philadelphia-style ice creams before, I was intrigued with Bittman's cornstarch-based ice cream.

A short article in the New York Times can be found online, which explains the advantages of making ice cream both with cornstarch and with eggs. Apparently both cornstarch and eggs help to impede crystals from forming in the ice cream, thereby leaving the ice cream with a smooth and creamy consistency. Bittman says there are two different advantages in making the cornstarch-based ice cream. The first, and most obvious reason, is that the cornstarch is much lower in fat and calories than an egg-based custard. The second reason, Bittman says, is that the cornstarch helps to bring out the flavor of the ice cream, rather than mask the flavors as eggs can do. Taking into consideration the obvious advantages of making a cornstarch-based ice cream, along with the fact that my son is allergic to eggs, I knew immediately I was going to try this recipe. The article and recipe can be found HERE.

This is a very basic and easy recipe. It is also adaptable because you can chose to use cream, half & half, whole milk, 2% milk, or even skim milk. I had some half & half that needed using up, so I decided to use that. If you choose to use 2% or skim milk this would actually be a pretty healthy ice cream. Two cups of half & half were mixed with 1/2 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and one vanilla bean and heated on the stovetop until the half & half began to steam. When the half & half begins to steam, you add in a slurry of 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup half and half. The mixture, with the cornstarch added, cooks for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches a light boil. The custard needs to cool completely before being added to your ice cream maker. This process takes at least one full hour, sometimes longer.

Notes/Results: This is a really easy and quick recipe for ice cream. The mixture comes together very quickly and yields a thick custard/pudding. Bittman's instructions fail to state that you will need to cover the custard with plastic wrap while it is cooling. If you don't cover it, then there will be a "skin" that develops. I don't really like skin in my ice cream, so I skimmed it off the top. No major problems, no worries. The mixture took about 1-1/2 hours to cool down completely and I impatiently put it into the ice cream maker. The end result was in fact very smooth and creamy, much like a soft serve ice cream. The flavor, however, was over the top vanilla. I'm thinking maybe the cornstarch base really does let the flavor of the ice cream shine. You could definitely get away with using one half a vanilla bean instead of the whole vanilla bean. I liked the ice cream, but it was a little different and had somewhat of a different flavor. I'm very glad to have learned about the cornstarch-based method and I'm happy that I tried it, but I think I'll stick with the other two methods.

This is my submission to this week's Potluck theme over at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

46 comments:

  1. Sure does look good. We bought an ice cream maker at the end of last summer and I have to dig it up and start trying my hand at it.

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  2. I tried this recipe recently as well. It was pretty good, but I agree, I think I like other methods better. Didn't stop me from eating it though! :)

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  3. It's funny Kim, I was just googling ice cream makers a short while ago and then saw your post. I've never made homemade ice cream before, I HAVE to get myself an ice cream maker! I love the look of yours as you can see the vanilla bean. Looks delicious!

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  4. Fantastic post Kim - love learning new ways to make dishes I love.

    Love, love, love your ice-cream dish!

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  5. It's time for me to break out my ice cream maker and get churning! I've never heard of this cornstarch method. Maybe I'll try the traditional methods before taking this one on.

    Your son is allergic to egg! Crazy. Does this mean no baked goods?

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  6. You have inspired me to free my ice cream maker from the basement.

    BTW, that is the coolest ice cream bowl eva!

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  7. How interesting. I might have to try this too, just to say that I did.

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  8. I never heard of this before! I think Mark Bittman is some kind of food genius! I can't wait to make this.

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  9. This is a neat recipe. I like that there is no egg and straining involved. I also like that cornstarch brings out the flavors. YummY!

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  10. What a great description of the procedure. I appreciate your insight into it. I am a vanilla person, so this may be for me, I also prefer soft serve, funny coming from me, youd think Id always want hard..hahahahaha

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  11. My mother in law can't eat the very fattening ice cream I make. I'll this out since it can be made low in fat, but I don't think I'll like it. I love fattening ice cream too much.

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  12. It looks good. I've made ice cream with a cooked flour base,instead of cornstarch, an old Betty Crocker recipe. It was good, but something was just off.
    Mimi

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  13. This was interesting to read about. I've never heard of using cornstarch--not that I know anything about making ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker but this post kinda makes me wish for one so I could try this out.

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  14. Did it have an aftertaste to it that made it taste different? Your ice cream looks delicious : )
    I do love me some homemade egg custard ice cream though!

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  15. Sometimes you got to try a few recipes to see what works best for you. THe ice cream looks great.
    *kisses* HH

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  16. That's the base I used for my chai spiced ice cream, but I didn't notice a skin on top. Curious! I did love how easy it was and great for people who can't have eggs! I have been meaning to make it again, but I just got "The Perfect Scoop" so now I'm obsessed :)

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  17. First off--I love that ice cream cone dish--it would go perfect in my cupcake/ice cream themed kitchen!!

    And I have never heard/thought of using cornstarch in homemade ice cream. Speaking of which, I haven't used my ice cream maker since last summer! :o(

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  18. Love your cute dish. The last ice cream I made was too eggy, so this really intrigues me.

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  19. You've sold me, Kim. I wouldn't have dreamed it would taste that good. But I am a vanilla ice cream fanatic and the more vanilla flavor the better. Will be making your recipe next.
    BTW: Your dish is really cute!

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  20. How cool! (pun intended) I saw this recipe, too, and thought about making it but then forgot about it so I'm glad you gave it a shot to remind me!

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  21. I posted a comment this morning - then my router died! But what I said was.....love the Philly style ice cream (as I grew up there) and have considerd buying an ice cream maker...but I'm afriad I'd get really large!!
    You write a mighty fine post, my friend :-)

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  22. Kim-I made the Pasta with Whole Cloves of Garlic tonight for supper. I liked it...I mean a lot. I may not fit in my pants tomorrow. I used the whole head of garlic & bacon as well. My dad sent me home with some tomatoes from his garden, so I used those. Didn't have fresh basil, so I used dried--but it needed something green so I threw in some parsley. The sauce was...there really are no words. Thank you so much for featuring this recipe. I will make it again. And again.

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  23. Oh my. This recipe has my name all over it!In Colombia we make popsicles using cornstarch.

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  24. Wow, Homemade icecream!!!!!Would be perfect for this TX weather...your pics look so good I'm going to have to try!

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  25. It looks super creamy and delicious. I now have to un-earth our ice cream maker and start trying recipes...maybe ice cream for the 4th of July? I've always used custard based recipes, but I'm definitely interested in the corn-starch method. Hope you're having a lovely week!

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  26. Very nice, definitely worth checking out if you've got allergy issues. Love the little ice cream bowl :)

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  27. I had no idea that you could use cornstarch instead of eggs. Hmmm.

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  28. This looks delish Kim! I've never tried homemade icecream before. I'll have to try it soon. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. I love vanilla bean custards and this ice cream one looks very interesting. Great post and cute dish! :)

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  30. I have been wanting to try this method--it looks interesting to compare with the other methods even if not a favorite go-to. I never turn down ice cream! ;-)

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  31. That's interesting! I'd never seen a cornstarch method before. I had quite a debacle making ice cream the other day...ice crystals and beyond...ugh. Yours looks pretty creamy and delicious, though!! :D

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  32. Hm, I've never heard of a cornstarch based ice cream. Very interesting. I've been trying to replicate Marble Slab's sweet cream ice cream (LOVE it!) and will give this a try. THANKS!
    ~ingrid

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