Monday, June 28, 2010

I Scream

I realize that, for the most part, this blog is aimed at people that who know a thing or two about pastry, or at least can afford to invest in cool pastry toys. To be sure, everyone can read and enjoy my literary genius (cough), but even the most avid cooks rarely have silicone baking mats, flexipans, and copious amounts of freezer space dedicated solely to the pursuit of large quantities of high-calorie sweets. I would like to think, though, that even to the uninitiated, there could be some benefit gained from my ramblings.

Given that I work in a restaurant, I think most people (including myself, not long ago) would assume that when, I make ice cream, I use a big, expensive batch freezer, which can churn gallons of the cold stuff at a time. You would be wrong. In fact, for the first year and a half that I spent at Jianken, we didn’t make our own ice creams or sorbets. We bought them.

It wasn’t until I hi-jacked my mom’s machine from their home that I made my first dessert special featuring an ice cream. I did eventually give it back, after having convinced my boss that it was a worthwhile investment. So what did we buy as its replacement?

A Cuisinart IEC-30BC, on sale for $50. That’s pretty cheap, even for a home ice cream maker. The sad and amazing thing is how well it works. Granted, the new ice cream maker can only produce 2 quarts of ice cream at a time, and it takes time to re-freeze the bowl before I can churn another batch. But it works. And, hey, how much ice cream can one sushi bar sell anyway?

The deal with home ice cream makers is that every one is different; whichever you decide to buy, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results. I recommend one like the one that I use. It disassembles easily, which makes it easy to clean, and it is smaller and less expensive than the ones that contain their own freezing unit. I would stay away from the ones that use ice cubes and rock salt as the freezing agent; they just don’t get cold enough.

Point is, even a home cook can afford to make great frozen desserts.

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