Definition: Ice cream is a cold dessert made by freezing a flavoured mixture. Freezing is carried out in an ice-cream maker or a churn freezer.
What makes for good homemade ice cream and whats mindfulness got to do with it?
The cold kitchen
When I served my apprenticeship as a chef in the K.N.A Hotel in Oslo, in the early 1980s, the first station I had to work on was the pantry or cold kitchen. The very first job I had to do was wash and clean the biggest pile of spinach imaginable. I was nervous I could mess up after all this was the first of many tasks I would need to master. Hold on I hear you cry, what could go wrong? Break the little edible fellers?
The ice cream maker
We survived that encounter, and as time passed, I went on to learn much more complicated food processes that could actually go wrong and sometimes did because of being attentive to all the tasks at hand. The Ice Cream Maker could prove my downfall easily. Every day, we made anywhere from 5-8 flavours of sorbets and ice creams. To make an egg-based ice cream well, you need your wits about you. This type of ices is tricky to prepare well. The Ice Cream Maker stirs the mix in a chilled bowl until it sets. The setpoint is critical. We had to monitor the cooling process and at just the right moment to stop the machine.
Misjudging the timing of the set point leads to the ice cream turning to frozen ice butter instead. The capacity of our mixer was 2 litres. Sometimes we made two batches of each flavour variation. Turning two litres of delicate homemade ice cream into butter always enraged the head chef or sous chefs. After all who wants to spread salted caramel and lemon butter on your toast?
Chef’s need to multi-task. Having this ability makes you a good team player and all kitchens need team players to run smoothly and efficiently. Kitchens serve entertainment in blocks of time. The crucial processes involved in the chemistry of cooking are all time-dependent, but so it is for paying guests too. We all manage blocks of time. I wonder if I was more mindful back in Oslo would I have saved some of the ice cream batches wasted.
Yoga, cooking & life
I maintain that to cook well; you need to focus on the task at hand. Combining many elements makes cooking what it is. Sometimes the details need different processes and attention. And I think this makes it an art form and worth sharing, in this series of yoga food recipes. But so is life. I could apply the same thinking to almost any moment in my day now. More than ever, I need to discern what thoughts are, what needs action, and what thoughts are just my imagination running wild. I need my wits about me even more so today. I’m confident that the development of mindfulness as a result of a regular yoga practice helps me make good choices and notice how I react to outside influences. There is more space for me.
Breath and feel
The next time you decide to start a process whatever it is, please begin with the breath. It is so intimately known to you. Try to feel the place you land when the breath leaves you. How much space do you feel? Are you able to acknowledge that you feel yourself whatever and wherever you are if you can only make the space to and intention to have that experience?
The history of ice cream is linked with that of gastronomy and refrigeration. The Chinese knew the art of making iced drinks and desserts long before the Christian era. They taught this art to the Arabs, who began making syrups chilled with snow. Called sharbets, hence the words “sherbets” and “sorbet”.
The Italian connection
In the 13th Century, Marco Polo brought back from the East the secret of cooling without ice, by running a mixture of water and saltpetre over containers filled with the substance to be cooled. Thus the unique fashion for water ices began in Italy.
The first ice cream vendor
When Catherine de’ Medici arrived in France to marry the future Henri II in 1533, she introduced iced desserts to the royal court. However, the Parisian public had to wait 150 years to discover them when Francesco Procopio opened a cafe. People went there to read the news-sheets, discuss politics and above all to sample drinks and delicacies, among which there were ices and sorbets (sherbets) that soon became all the rage. He received a royal license which gave him exclusive rights to sell from his kiosk.
Modern ice cream
Around 1775 ices became more delicate in flavour, more luxurious and with more body so that they could be moulded into different shapes. Frosts made with milk, cream, and eggs appeared. Of course, time does not stand still, and now, entirely different ingredients and processes make ice creams.
One of our retreats little treats. Erling’s Orange Cheesecake Ice Cream
Orange Cheesecake Ice Cream
- Kenwood Mixer
- Ice Cream Making Machine
- 4 Organic free range eggs yolks
- 90 gs Caster sugar
- 200 gs Soft Cream Cheese
- 100 ml Semi skinned milk
- 100 ml Double cream
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 Oranges
- 20 gs Caster Sugar For the caramelised orange peel
Make the custard
- Separate the egg yolks add to mixing bowl.Add the sugar and set the mixer to beat the custard for at least 5-10 minutes. Until the mixture is thick, pale and creamy and, holds up like thick light foam.
- Add the softened cream cheese to the custard and beat on a slower setting until it is combined well with the custard.
- Squeeze the juice of 2 large oranges into a small pan add 20gs of sugar and heat vigourously until half the liquid evaporates. Set to one side until it cools. (you could add a splash of whiskey)
Blending the ice cream mixture
- Set the custard on to stir again and pour in the orange syrup gently. Now add the cream/milk mixture until the whole ice cream mixture is blended. Don't worry if the batter is a little lumpy when you stir in the ice cream maker this will disappear.
Caramelised orange peel
- Use a lemon peel zester to zest the skin of both oranges. Heat a tbs of sugar and cold water in a small saucepan until the sugar starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat for 1/2 minute then add the zest. Watch out as the liquid will rapidly boil but stir with a wooden spoon until blended well.
Freeze with an ice cream maker
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until almost firm. (but not butter)
Freezing without an ice cream maker
- You can make this without an ice cream maker. Chill the ice cream batter first before pouring into a freezer box, cover with a lid and freeze until firm around the edges. Stir or beat with a whisk, mixing the sides into the centre and repeat two or three times.