Recipe for Homemade Low Sugar, Salt-Free Ice Cream – The Real Deal

Like so many others in my generation, my mother made ice cream at home from her own recipes often employing my brothers and me to turn the crank on a hot summer day. When Baskin Robbins was founded in Burbank not far from our home, my mother was so impressed with their organic ice creams that she stopped making her own.
Convenience and laziness led to increased sales of grocery store private label ice creams over the years. Soon all of the organic ice creams – Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Baskin Robbins – all sold out to some of the world’s largest food manufacturers who changed the ingredients to high fructose corn syrup and many other chemicals.
To illustrate the point, a 6-ounce serving of Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream contains 44 ingredients containing 275 calories, 190 mg of salt, and 31 grams of sugar but does not include the sugar contained in corn syrup (mentioned 4 times on the label).
There are 10 other ingredients containing sugar on the ingredients label. The sugar may reach as much as 100 grams per 6-ounce serving based upon the calculations of experts on the use of corn syrup. The same chemical substitutes are ingredients in Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.
For a family of four we recommend simple ice creams that anyone can make. Our preference is for strawberry, chocolate, banana, vanilla, vanilla custard, French vanilla and peach. They are simple recipes that can be combined to make such flavors as Chocolate, Chocolate Swirl, Double Dutch Chocolate Walnut Crunch, Banana Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Chocolate Chip, Banana Walnut, Neopolitan and others – all with the same basic ingredients.
There are literally dozens of ice cream makers available on the Internet, in catalogues or in appliance stores. After studying the various machines and speaking to ice cream chefs, I chose the Lello Gellato which sells for about $160 online. There are many others that are cheaper but I chose one that had a freezer container to avoid pre-freezing my ingredients, using rock salt and requiring a hand crank. Some may have the time to hand crank their ice cream machine, but I don’t.
We also suggest going to a restaurant supply store and buying heavy duty quart containers capable of storing liquids in a commercial freezer. They don’t crack when you spoon out ice cream and the tops never fall off.
It takes only 15 to 20 minutes at the most to prepare your ice cream bases and about 25 to 35 minutes in an ice cream maker followed by time in the freezer to reach the desired level do solidity. It is simple, easy and can be done in between cooking other meals or watching TV.
If the below recipes are not enough to satisfy your dessert needs for your family, the more adventurous chef can find more excellent recipes in The Perfect Scoop from David Lebovitz or THE BEST ICE CREAM MAKER COOKBOOK EVER by Peggy Fallon, available at all book stores or online. Our book, Mannie & Ashley’s Organic Cook Book is not due at booksellers until the Fall of 2011.
Custard Ice Cream Base. A custard ice cream base is the primary ingredient in all of your fruit based ice creams as well as French vanilla and chocolate. Mastering the technique of ice cream base is the single most important part of making your own ice creams. In the end, the quality of your base will determine whether your ice cream is smooth or grainy.
The ingredients are:
3 cups (1½ pints) of organic whipping cream (often called heavy cream)
3 ounces of Turbanado sugar
4 organic egg yolks
Crack 4 eggs and carefully separate the yokes in a small bowl and whisk. The simplest way to separate eggs is to crack the egg in a complete circle around its center and remove the top portion of the shell. Then slowly pour the egg into your other hand opening your fingers, but only slightly, for the egg white to fall through.
Move your hand up and down a few times and gravity will cause the egg white to slip through your fingers. You may be required to use a sharp knife to carefully cut away the remaining tail of the albumen from the yolk. Carefully place the egg yoke in a small bowl and proceed to the next egg. Ashley saves the egg whites to make a variety of egg breakfasts eliminating waste and providing a healthy meal.
Pour about six ounces of heavy cream into a pan and warm the pan while whisking the sugar into the heavy cream. Pour in the Turbanado sugar and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. As soon as the pan is warm enough to dissolve sugar, take it off the flame to avoid the cream reaching boiling point.
Pour about 6 ounces of the cream into a pan and add the egg yolks and whisk them until fully blended. If the heavy cream is too hot then, the eggs will cook and become lumpy. Then add the balance of the heavy cream to the sugar and cream mix to cool it down. When cool, mix the two pans together.
The recipe makes about 1½ pints. It is now ready to use in all of your recipes. It can be stored up to three days but your ice cream will taste better if you use it immediately.
French Vanilla Ice Cream. Most writers say, There isn’t enough pure vanilla in the world to satisfy America’s craving for vanilla ice cream. This is why 90% of the vanilla cream sold today is sold with artificial flavoring in it.
The ingredients are:
1 tablespoon of organic vanilla extract
4 cups (2 pints) of organic whipping cream (often called heavy cream)
3 ounces of Turbanado sugar
4 organic egg yolks
Use the above recipe for the Custard Ice Cream Base as your base and add the vanilla extract as the last step.
Pour the finished mix into an ice cream machine. It usually take between 25 to 35 minutes for the ice cream to chill in a machine based upon the temperature of the mix when added. If the custard base is still warm at the time of mixing, then it adds to the chilling time. It is that simple.
If you want to experiment with organic vanilla beans, then split the vanilla and scrape the vanilla beans from the pod into the warm base. But if you use a fresh organic vanilla bean, then you will need to strain the vanilla bean base before joining it with the Custard Ice Cream Base.
Most chefs find straining liquids time consuming and boring. Try to avoid it because straining requires pushing thick liquids through the strainer and then scrapping the liquid off the bottom. It can be time consuming and can interfere with the timing of preparing other ingredients.
The primary reason why I use a small amount of cream to dissolve the sugar and vanilla bean is that it is much easier to strain 6 or 8 ounces of cream than a full quart. This will also eliminate any curdled eggs if you have warmed and dissolved the sugar and eggs in a hot pan. It will also permit the finished mix to cool quicker and take less time in the ice cream machine to freeze.
Vanilla Ice Cream. The recipe is the same except delete the 4 egg yolks. The egg yolks (not the cream) are the difference between French vanilla and the common vanilla sold in the U.S.
We find that rarely do the same people like the same vanilla taste. To adjust the vanilla flavor to your own personal taste, experiment with the amount of egg yolks (from 1 to 4) and the amount of vanilla extract (from ½ to a full tablespoon) to find the exact flavor of your choice. Ashley likes French vanilla with 4 eggs and a full tablespoon of vanilla extract and I prefer only one egg and ½ tablespoon.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Employ the French Vanilla recipe above including ice cream machine times. To make the French vanilla into chocolate chip ice cream add ¾ cup of chopped Guittard Special Bits Dark Chocolate Compound about 2 minutes before the ice cream becomes too thick to insert.
If you make a mistake and the ice cream is too thick for the machine to restart or the frozen alarm goes off before you are ready, remove the ice cream and add the chips after pouring into the commercial freezer containers. It may not come out perfect as far as texture goes, but it will still taste great. You will be the only one that notices your mistake.
Chocolate. Once you learn to make basic chocolate ice cream, there are so many unique variations available for the creative chef, including Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream, Rocky Road, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Double Dutch Chocolate Walnut (or almond) Crunch. It is just a matter of what your preferences are with chocolate.
The recipe can also be made with milk chocolate, marshmallows, candy and your choice of nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans or even chopped Macadamia nuts.
The ingredients are very simple. Use the above recipe for the Custard Ice Cream Base as your base and add 2 ounces of E. Guittard Cocoa Powder (semi-sweetened chocolate).
Pour 2 ounces of E. Guittard Cocoa Powder int o a small pan and control heat by raising and lowering the pan while the chocolate melts. Slowly add heavy cream to the pan to dilute the chocolate as it melts. Keep adding heavy cream until the chocolate is fully dissolved and there are no lumps. If there are any lumps, then the ice cream base must be strained. Be careful not to burn the chocolate or curdle the cream.
These ice cream recipes taste far superior to anything you will buy in the stores or the now commercial versions of Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Baskin Robbins. These recipes contain one third the amount of sugar while containing no salt and no synthetic chemicals.