This post is a review of the cookbook Hello, My Name is Ice Cream by Dana Cree with a popcorn ice cream recipe from the book, reproduced with permission from the publisher.
The cover of the book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream (find it on Amazon) immediately caught my eye. It wasn’t the scoops of ice cream that grabbed my attention, surprise, surprise, it was the “structural” doodles behind the ice cream scoops (ice crystal structures?). Also, the subtitle The Art and Science of the Scoop had me intrigued. I love ice cream so much, but I don’t make it very often, mostly because when the ice cream is done churning, sometimes I eat way more than I should straight from the freezer drum with a spoon. The instructions of the ice cream maker say not to do that, especially with metal utensils, yet I scrape away at it like it’s my job. I have zero control when it comes to homemade ice cream, but this book was a good excuse to start churning again.
The book is divided into three big sections: The Knowledge, The Recipes, and Composed Scoops. I bought this book for The Knowledge because I know for a fact that there’s a lot of science behind churning ice cream that I am not very familiar with. For example, there’s a reason why you churn ice cream as opposed to just freezing ice cream base straight in a container in the freezer, one shot: it all has to do with the size of the ice crystals (or at least mostly). Achieving tiny ice crystals that are indiscernable on the palette is what we want. Until reading this book, I’d never thought about the emulsion behind every ice cream and how delicate that mix is, prone to separate if not made correctly or handled properly. Exploring the pages of this book helped me better understand all the ingredients that go into ice cream, the ingredients we are familiar with, like milk, cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, and those we are not, like commercial stabilizers, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, etc. Turns out that all those “other ingredients” you might notice on the average commercial ice cream label play a crucial role. The book also has a fantastic appendix on ratios, specifically functional ratios and working ratios, how to calculate them, and how to apply them so that you can create your own ice creams at home. I’m particularly excited about the appendix because you know how much I love ratios!
My only issue with this book is the way the recipes are laid out, specifically when it comes to the “texture agents” (the stabilizers) and when to add them. When I first got the book in July, I spent a lot of time reading the book and hanging out with it, and so at that point, I understood when to add the texture agents and what all the little numbers in the recipe directions meant. Of course, three months later, when I finally went to use the book, all was forgotten. And thus, when I made the popcorn ice cream base, I forgot to add the texture agent (tapioca starch was my texture agent of choice). Luckily, I hadn’t churned the ice cream yet. My ice cream was at the curing stage in the fridge though, so I had to reheat the mixture to add the tapioca starch (my texture agent of choice), then I let it cool and I cured it again, overnight. This worked well, thankfully, but I’d imagine the way the texture agents are mentioned in the recipe may lead to some confusion. On the other hand, I am pointing this out knowing fully well that it is NOT easy to write clear recipes and given there are four options per recipe, it is even harder to convey the method. Perhaps had I paid more attention and reread the recipe carefully before jumping in, I’d have done it right the first time… Who knows?
I’m claiming that I didn’t buy the book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream for the recipes but, of course, I had to try at least one of Dana Cree’s ice creams before writing this review. I “settled” on the popcorn ice cream recipe on page 92 because it’s not an egg yolk-based ice cream like I am accustomed to making. So this recipe allowed me to try my hand at a different style of ice cream. Plus it’s infused with buttery popcorn. Win win! I think the next ice cream I’ll make will be pumpkin sage. Dana Cree even covers how to make your own pumpkin purée at home—see, this book covers much of what you need to make great ice cream at home!
Wanna buy a copy of the book? Head over to Amazon to get yours! It’s a keeper!
I used an old Krups La Glacière ice cream maker to churn this batch of popcorn ice cream, but it is no longer in production. Dana Cree (and many others) recommends this Cuisinart model that you can get on Amazon. If I had the budget, I’d probably invest in this Breville model (available on Amazon), which comes with a built in compressor so that you can avoid having to chill an ice cream drum for 24 hours. This machine chills itself!
Popcorn ice cream recipe
Please note that I have modified the directions of this recipe ever so slightly to attempt to make the use of the texture agents clearer.
Popcorn ice cream
This recipe for popcorn ice cream is made from an eggless ice cream base (also known as Philadelphia-style ice cream), infused with freshly popped buttery popcorn for the ultimate buttered popcorn ice cream flavour.
- 370 g Cream (37%) 2 cups
- 400 g Milk (40%) 2 cups
- 150 g Sugar (15%) 3/4 cup
- 50 g Glucose (5%) 1/4 cup
- 10 g Clarified butter (1%) 1 tsp
- 20 g Raw popcorn kernels (2%) 2 tbsp
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- Texture agent of your choice (I went with texture agent 3, which is tapioca starch—see notes below)
Boil the dairy. Place the cream, milk, sugar, texture agent 1 if using (see notes below), and glucose in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium–high heat, and cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching, until it comes to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for 2 minutes and add texture agent 4 if using (see notes below), then set the pot aside in a warm place and add texture agent 3 if using (see notes below).
Pop the popcorn. Place the clarified butter and popcorn in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid and cook until you hear the sound of the corn popping. Use pot holders to take hold of the handle in one hand and the lid in the other. Gently shake and swirl the pot around, keeping the bottom flush with the burner, to encourage even popping and avoid burnt spots. Continue until the sound of popping corn has slowed to less than one pop per second. Immediately remove the popcorn from the heat.
Infuse. Working quickly, remove the lid from the popcorn pot and pour the dairy into it. Stir the popcorn, watching it dissolve. Let the popcorn-dairy mixture cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Blend. Transfer the popcorn mixture to a blender. Add the salt and start blending on low speed at first, increasing gradually to full speed, to avoid the liquid’s jumping out of the blender cup. Continue blending for 1 to 2 minutes, until the ice cream base is very smooth.
Chill. Transfer the base to a shallow metal or glass bowl. Working quickly, fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way with very icy ice water. Nest the hot bowl into this ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down and add texture agent 2 if using (see notes below).
Strain. When the ice cream base is cool to the touch or a thermometer reads 50°F or below, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the bits of hull.
Cure. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is optional, but the texture will be much improved with it.)
Churn. Place the base into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is ready when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes.
Harden. To freeze your ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your ice cream immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.
- Best texture Commercial stabilizer: 3g | 1 teaspoon mixed with the sugar before it is added to the ice cream base.
- Least icy: Guar or xanthan gum 1g | 1/4 teaspoon whirled in a blender with the ice cream base after it is chilled in the ice bath.
- Easiest to use: Tapioca starch 5g | 2 teaspoons mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk, whisked into the ice cream base after it is finished cooking.
- Most accessible: Cornstarch 10g | 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk, whisked into the simmering ice cream base, then cooked for 1 minute.
Please note that this post is a review of the cookbook Hello, My Name is Ice Cream by Dana Cree with a popcorn ice cream recipe from the book, reproduced with permission from the publisher. I purchased the book on Amazon and you can to here.
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