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Potluck: Here’s a scoop; It’s National Ice Cream Month

A reader named Lisa asked if I could put some ice cream recipes in the column.

Of course. After all, it’s National Ice Cream Month.

President Ronald Reagan, obviously an ice cream lover, designated July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 14, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day with Presidential Proclamation 5219. July is still recognized as National Ice Cream Month all these years later.

To me, every day is ice cream day, and I proclaim the following recipe from Southern Living the perfect hot weather treat.

Peach And Toasted Pecan Ice Cream

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 cups table milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 egg yolk

1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped peaches

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1½ tablespoons butter

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and table salt in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla bean paste or extract. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook peaches and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely mash and let cool 30 minutes. Stir peach mixture into cooled cream mixture. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture, and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add pecans and cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 9 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Pour chilled cream mixture into freezer container of a 1½-quart electric ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Before transferring ice cream to an airtight container for further freezing, stir in pecan mixture.

•••

If you want something that requires a little less effort, try this strawberry ice cream.

No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1½ cups whole milk

1 container (16 ounces) fresh strawberries or 1 package (16 ounces) thawed frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

Whisk sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar and whole milk in a 2-quart pitcher or large bowl until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Process strawberries, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir into milk mixture. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-quart electric ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove container with ice cream from ice cream maker and place in freezer 15 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container. Freeze until firm, about 1 to 1½ hours.

•••

You can thank Taste of Home magazine for this cool lemon ice cream.

Lemon Custard Ice Cream

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

4 cups milk

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup lemon juice

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.

Whisk a small amount of hot milk mixture into the eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 160 degrees and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat; stir in whipping cream and lemon juice. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer ⅔ full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze.

When ice cream is frozen, transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2 to 4 hours before serving.

Makes 2 quarts.

•••

Does anyone eat vanilla ice cream anymore? With all the flavors and novelty versions available, plain old vanilla seems rather quaint.

The following recipe from Alton Brown gets rave reviews. The addition of peach preserves threw me at first, but apparently it heightens the flavor of the vanilla bean.

Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons peach preserves (not jelly)

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan (see note below). Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into a lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by ½ to ¾ times and has reached a soft-serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.

Note: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.

•••

I love risotto. I love corn. Plus this risotto’s got bacon in it. What’s not to like?

Sweet Corn Risotto

3 cobs sweet corn, husked

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk

5 slices bacon, diced

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1½ cups arborio rice

⅔ cup white wine

⅔ cup heavy cream

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 large tomato, cored and diced

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Salt

Pepper

Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and reserve. Snap the corn cobs in half and add them to a medium saucepan along with the stock and milk. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low.

In a small stockpot over medium heat, brown the bacon. Once it starts to get crispy, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and the rice and toast until the rice is golden and smells nutty. Deglaze with the wine.

Stir the risotto occasionally with a wooden spoon as it cooks over medium heat. Continuously add ladles of stock as each previous ladle of liquid gets absorbed into the risotto. Continue stirring and adding stock for about 20 minutes, then add the reserved corn kernels and continue as before. When the risotto gets creamy, add the cream and cook until done, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Finish the risotto by melting in the Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in tomatoes and herbs and serve.

•••

Today is granddaughter Madi’s 17th birthday.

Look out, world, Madi is raging through her teens. All will be well in a year or two.

Seriously, she’s a sweetheart. I cannot imagine a lovelier granddaughter.

Happy Birthday, Madi.

Looking for a recipe? Have one you’d like to share? Write to Potluck, Times Record, P.O. Box 1359, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Email: jharshaw@swtimes.com.

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