When of the best parts about summer is ice cream- cold, frozen cream with sugar… yum. When I was a kid, my father would take me to Baskin Robbins. “Don’t tell your Mom we had ice cream before dinner, she’ll get mad,” he would say. We would always order the same thing- two scoops of chocolate fudge ice cream on a sugar cone; extra napkins to wipe away the evidence, please. In the two miles that it took to get home, we would finish our cones. My father would look in the rear-view mirror to make sure he didn’t have any signs of chocolate on his face; then he would make sure I was clean as well. My mom never suspected, but I imagine she was curious when my dad and I only had a few bites of dinner.
In high school, my fascination with frozen treats continued. At 15, my first job was at a Baskin Robbins in my neighborhood. After a few years in the ice cream business, I was offered a job managing a Haagen Dazs shop near the beach in San Diego. I never tired of the ice cream business, and I’m sure, even to this day that I have butter-fat coursing through my veins.
If you happen to be in Frick Park during the summer, you can’t help but notice a small ice cream shop by the name Rose’s on the corner of Braddock and Forbes. Rose’s Ice cream has been open a few years, and attracts quite a following during the summer months. Kerber’s Dairy supplies the ice cream for this particular parlor (http://www.kerbers.com/), and the flavors are a-plenty! Besides regular scooped ice cream, you may want to opt for some soft serve with sprinkles (a personal favorite).
So, what makes good ice cream? It’s simple; high butterfat content. The higher the fat content, the creamier, richer product you have. Ice creams that have a high-density are also better. Have you ever taken a scoop of ice cream that was fluffy, and seemed to be filled with air? Those are the less-desirable products, and should be avoided. Remember, dense ice creams with high fat contents are usually the best tasting.
Have you ever tried making your own ice cream? If not, it’s worth trying.
Homemade ice cream is preservative-free, and delicious. Besides being easy to prepare, you can make whatever you want. Think about it, the possibilities are endless! Start with a vanilla, or chocolate base, and add any ingredients like fresh berries, chocolate chunks, or candy bits to make an original concoction.
Ice cream makers are available almost everywhere. Most department stores carry them, as do other food specialty stores. Worried about the price? Don’t be. Ice cream makers are cheap, between $40.00 and $60.00. Depending on the machine, you can expect to make between one and two quarts per batch.
Here’s a basic ice cream recipe:
Yield 2 Quarts
Serves 6 people
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 quart Heavy Cream
1 quart half and half
2 vanilla beans split in half
2 cups granulated sugar
Place the cream, half and half, vanilla beans, and sugar in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved, and there is a strong scent of vanilla. Strain the mixture- then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Place the liquid in an ice cream maker, churning until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, usually 10 minutes.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Chef Chuck Kerber