Olivia Dish

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

In Cookbooks, Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm
book

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At (my) Home

I knew from the moment I saw it that I would eventually buy the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home recipe book.

I’m a bit of an ice cream making nut, myself.

I’ve also been to Jeni’s original shop in Columbus‘s North Market.

I’ve been reading about this woman and the magic she works for years.

Maybe you, like me, expect homemade ice cream to be different from store-bought stuff–not as scoopable, say, but the flavor makes up for it.

Jeni has experimented–and studied chemistry–to fine-tune her recipes, so that you can have your flavor-packed homemade ice cream and scoop it too.

The recipes work.  Everyone says so.

But….do I like the ice cream?

I bought Jeni’s book this week. I thought the best place to start was comparing her version of fresh mint ice cream to the recipe I’ve worked out on my own over the years.

I had plenty of mint growing in my backyard, ready for Jeni’s Backyard Mint.

cream cheese

Secret ingredient–cream cheese!

As you’ll read in her book, she’s all about reducing the impact that water has on your ice cream, using corn starch, corn syrup and cream cheese to change the texture.  She does a good job of explaining ice cream chemistry without making it boring or technical.

I followed her recipe exactly, with two exceptions.  As instructed, I boiled the milk for precisely four minutes, used twice as much sugar as I thought wise, left out the egg but added corn starch and corn syrup, tore the mint leaves by hand and steeped them for hours in the chilled milk mixture.

My two variations seemed minor–I added a tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture while it was chilling and steeping, and I drizzled melted chocolate in the finished ice cream to make it a mint chocolate chip.

mixture

Mixture chilling, mint leaves steeping

Making her recipe wasn’t difficult. But it was different from my approach in so many ways. I’ve always made a traditional egg-based custard. I cut the sugar from the original recipe by half, even though I know sugar is an important component in ice cream consistency.  I simmer the mint in my custard, and my custard turns a faint green. I add a tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture just before freezing.

The difference in the consistency was apparent about mid-way through the churning.  Jeni’s ice cream seemed stretchy, more elastic and was much easier to scrape from the sides of the canister.

I pressed the churned cream into a container, topped it with parchment paper (as instructed) and put it in the freezer.  As I always do, I ate a bowl of the just churned stuff that I scraped off the dasher and from the sides of the canister.

ice cream

Churned cream, ready to spend time in the freezer.

That freshly made soft ice cream was much too sweet for my taste–and I didn’t like the texture.

But after the ice cream had been in the freezer, curing for a few hours, the flavor was much better.

ice cream

Beautiful, scoopable Backyard Mint ice cream from Jeni’s recipe.

And the scoopability is remarkable.  It’s not hard and icy, like my homemade stuff that I have to either thaw a bit or chip away in hunks.  It’s easy to scoop and pliable.  When the ice cream is frozen hard, the mint flavor is more pronounced  and the sweetness is less overbearing.

Still, I find it too sweet–so I wonder what will happen to that glorious texture if I cut the sugar in half.  After I’ve recovered from this batch, maybe I’ll try again and let you know.

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  1. I was just wondering if you’ve tried a version with less sugar since?? I received this book as a gift and have tried two recipes so far. They both have been overwhelmingly sweet for my taste, but i did enjoy the creamy texture. Any luck cutting some of the sugar out?

    • I totally agree with you on the texture and the sweetness! I haven’t tried these recipes with less sugar (because I just went back to my old, less-sweet way of doing things)–but your comment is prompting me to get busy and see what happens.

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