On Ice Cream

“… I don’t expect you to follow the recipes to the letter. I’d be happier just knowing they gave you new ideas and brighten up your day-to-day cooking.”    Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook (p.9)      -Nobu Matsuhisa

Over the summers, I’ve made ice creams on and off when I’ve had room in my freezer for my cuisinart ice cream machine chillable container.  In order to make ice creams without too much fuss I’ve been using the following recipe from the cuisinart ice cream machine instruction book at: ( https://www.cuisinart.com/share/pdf/manuals/ice-21_recipe.pdf ). Essentially, that recipe ingredient list for the ice cream base is:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (for vanilla ice cream)

I would heat the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolved and then add the cream.  At that point, I would let it return to room temperature, blend in whatever flavorings I wanted and then put the mixture into the chillable container to churn in the machine for about 20 minutes. The result would be transferred to an airtight container headed to the freezer to set overnight.  I liked the notion of the ice cream base enough to notice that the base provided the sweetness so that could make my own chocolate ice cream with 100% chocolate and adjust the sugar to my taste.   If I wanted to make honey vanilla ice cream, I could swap out the sugar for honey and add the vanilla extract.  And so over the years, I’ve made my own matcha ice cream the way I liked it – not too sweet – ice creams perfect as a dinner dessert or as a dessert garnish (think Nobu Banana Harumaki/spring roll).

So I recently came across Martha Stewart’s no-churn ice cream (aka 3 ingredient ice cream found at: https://www.marthastewart.com/355960/no-churn-vanilla-ice-cream) which consisted of:

  • 2 c heavy cream (which was then whipped)
  • 14 oz condensed milk (providing the sweetness)
  • your amount of flavoring

I thought about it for a moment and then recalled that Matsuhisa-sama had 2 eggless ice creams in his books:

  • Apricot Ice Cream (Nobu Now [as part of his Yuzu Soup Dessert])
  • Iced Milk And Cream (Nobu West [as part of his Whiskey Cappucino])

Now that started me wondering if I could just make my own Nobu-style eggless ice creams to finish a tasting menu meal.

3 ingredient ginger ice cream elements

So I thought I would try my hand at making an ice cream that I was having inconsistent results. I began thinking of combining:

1/2 c heavy cream (which was then whipped)
3.5 oz (7 T) condensed milk
3/4 t grated ginger
3/4 t finely minced ginger (cut brunoise-style) [left this out for the test batch, the amount of ginger suggested by Serious Eats]

to grate some fresh ginger

with my friend Jess in mind – a micro micrbatch, if you will. Welllllll – the were other provisions in the freezer since the stay-at-home

took about 2/3’rd of the stem of ginger to get what I wanted

advisory, so a micro  test batch would have to do for now.   I had tried making ginger ice cream once before but without much luck.

combining the grated ginger (and juice) with 7 T of condensed sweetened milk

No matter what I did, I couldn’t prevent the curdling of the heated ice cream base to infuse fresh ginger into it.  I had suspected it might be the amount and strength of the acid in the fresh ginger.   Sure enough a website https://bojongourmet.com/fresh-ginger-ice-cream/ confirmed my suspicions.  So, I presumed that I could just thoroughly blend the freshly grated ginger (yes, I using MY grater, not the microplane grater) to the condensed milk.  I was hoping that mix might get the flavor profile I was expecting.  I would hold off on the brunoise ginger until this worked.

allocating about 1/2 cup of heavy cream to be whipped

Once the grated ginger and juice were combined with the condensed milk, I proceeded to make the whipped cream (which took about 2-3 minutes on the lowest hand mixer setting.

whipped heavy cream ready to go into the assembly

Now it was just a matter of patience folding in the whipped cream into the condensed milk mix with a spatula.

final assembly begins…


…almost there…

Once I finished blending the whipped cream and the condensed milk mixture, away it went into the freezer to set (for about 4 hours).

getting ready for the freezer

After letting it sit until dinner time, we broke up an oatmeal cookie as garnish and cut up some cara cara orange supremes to

No Churn Ginger Ice Cream, Cara-Cara Supremes, Oatmeal Raisin cookie

serve as a foil for the scoop of ginger ice cream. After tasting this dessert, my wife and I came away with a couple of observations.  The first thing was that the expected ginger flavor was there, but not the ginger ‘bite’ we were expecting.  The other observations was that we both felt it was far too sweet, and in my wife’s case, the texture far too creamy.

If I make this again, I’d add in the extra 3/4 t of ginger and use evaporated milk where I could control the amount of sweetness going into the ice cream.  It was useful to learn this technique in making ice creams in an alternate fashion.

Regarding other ice creams using the heavy cream/condensed milk base:

Assuming the 2 c heavy cream, 14 oz of EVAPORATED milk, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar…

From my old notes –

  • for chocolate ice cream I would blend in 12 oz shaved 100% Ghiradelli baking chocolate that would be melted to the evaporated milk base
  • for the matcha ice cream, I would blend in 4 T of matcha powder
  • for the honey vanilla, I would use 1/2c +1t + 1/2t + 1/8t honey (do NOT use sugar)  and 1 T vanilla

Update (8 Jul 2020) –

I chose to remake the ginger ice cream with evaporated milk in order to control the sweetness level.  I used the following measurements:

  1. 1/2 c heavy cream whipped to SOFT PEAKS (make sure it’s soft, otherwise your resulting texture maybe grainy)
  2. 1/4 c + 2 t evaporated milk (make sure the evaporate milk is cold and then whipped until very foamy)
  3. 3 T sugar/monkfruit sweetener (dissolved into the evaporated milk
  4. 3/8 t fresh grated ginger and its ginger juice

Steps 1-3 is now my new ice cream base.  It maybe I will need to make a simple syrup of 3 T sweetener and 3 T boiling water which is then chilled before use

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