Ice cream is a real treat for people of all ages. It calls to mind birthday parties, getting good grades in school; fun, good times for all.
For the most part, the bulk of the ice cream eaten in my part of the world tends to be store-bought. The cheapest fix, of course, is a P 10.00 tri-coloured cone bought from the sorbetero cart on Sunday mornings after Mass. While I was growing up, Magnolia was the brand of choice – specifically the sweetcorn ice cream that heralded the start of the summer months. Later on, when the original Magnolia brand was bought and rudely superseded by Nestle, it became a toss-up between Selecta and its predecessor and now competitor Arce Dairy. And then the foreign brands came in: Ben and Jerry’s, Haagen-Dasz, Dreyer’s and Breyer’s – all pricey, super-premium, and definitely worth saving up for in the even that you should choose to celebrate a happy moment with ice cream instead of champagne.
Homemade ice cream, nevertheless, is not unknown in this part of the world. For those of us with Kapampangan/Cabalen (those hailing from Pampanga in Central Luzon) roots, ice cream churned in a garapinyera – an old-school bucket churn you filled with ice and salt to facilitate freezing – was a highlight of many a childhood summer, if not a mouthwatering memory related by one’s elders at family reunions. Alas, who in this hectic, schedule-conscious day and age has the time or the patience to crank the stainless steel churn for hours just to get an ice cream fix?
Still, with many people rediscovering the Old Ways of cooking – and finding out that doing things from scratch does make a delicious difference – it isn’t surprising that ice cream is one of the things that people now want to make at home. And that’s with or without either a churn or even a modern ice cream maker!
My recipe is actually a spin on Nigella Lawson‘s one-step/no-churn ice cream – a scrumptious, coffee-and-cream affair made livelier with a splash of espresso liqueur. Don’t cringe back at the use of alcohol in this recipe: it is necessary. According to another of my favourite authors, Titania Hardie, the alcohol prevents the formation of ice crystals that may otherwise ruin the texture and overall quality of the finished product. The addition of alcohol delivers an end-result that is something more like gelato than commercial ice cream: smoother, richer, creamier, with a bit of a chew to it.
Now, the back-story for this particular recipe involves my misreading of the measurements in La Lawson’s original. Rather than 300mL of cream and 175 grams of condensed milk, I actually ended up using 375mL of cream and 300mL of the condensed milk. This little snafu actually got me into a little panic as my mixture just wouldn’t thicken and lift up into soft peaks no matter how much whisking I did. Fortunately, consulting with a friend more knowledgeable about making ice cream got me this little bit of advice: let the mixture sit in the freezer to set a bit, and then go at it with the beaters. She was absolutely right: the semi-frozen mix thickened beautifully and I happily chucked it into the freezer overnight.
The next morning, I had a little of my creamy, dreamy ice with breakfast. My only regret is that I didn’t bake any brioches to go with it for a proper Sicilian breakfast. :p
Mocha Mudslide Ice Cream
- 375mL all-purpose cream
- 300mL condensed milk
- 25 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons chocolate or coffee cream liqueur
Whisk together the cream, condensed milk, coffee, cocoa powder, and liqueur until the dry ingredients have more or less dissolved. Pour into a covered container and freeze for about 1 hour.
Remove the softly-set mixture and scrape into a mixing bowl. Whip vigorously (or, better yet, use an electric mixer at medium speed) until soft peaks form and the mixture has doubled in volume. Fold through the chopped chocolate. Scrape into clear plastic tubs with covers. Freeze for at least six or a maximum of ten hours.
Makes 1-1/2 pints.