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Memorial Day and Ice Cream

May 27, 2011

What will you do on Memorial Day?  To most of us it’s a holiday from work, a time for family get togethers, picnics, and the unofficial beginning of summer.  What gets lost in the three-day weekend is the reason we have the day off – in memory of those who died while in military service of this country.

Both my father-in-law Walt, and my dad served in the Marine’s – Walt in the Korean War and my dad in World War II.  My dad never spoke much of the experiences of being in the war, but I know the relationships he formed with his Marine Corps troops lasted the rest of his life.  They shared experiences that shaped them as men.

On this Memorial Day, before you head off to your picnic, take a moment to remember not only those who died fighting for our freedoms, but those who are currently serving to protect each of us.

My dad liked ice cream.  The last couple of years that he was alive, he had a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream over warm apple pie so in honor of him, and the fact that I love ice cream, I’ll be serving this chocolate chip ice cream for dessert on Memorial Day.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
adapted slightly from Cooks Illustrated, July 1, 1993

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, seeds removed and pod reserved
4 large egg yolks
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (more or less, depending on how much you like)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla seed and pod, stirring occasionally, until the milk is warm – 170F to 180F.

While the milk is warming, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until combined and pale yellow.  If you’re using a stand mixer, this is about 2 minutes.  By hand it will be closer to 4 minutes.

Slowly whisk 1-1/2 cups of the warm milk mixture (1/2 cup at a time) into the beaten yolks.  You want to warm the yolks slowly, without cooking them.  Once you have 1-1/2 cups milk combined with the yolk mixture, whisk the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining warm milk.  Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the foam subsides, the mixture is slightly thickened and the temperature is between 180F and 185F.  Be careful to keep the mixture from boiling so the eggs don’t curdle.

Set a medium bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice.  Position a fine mesh strainer over the medium bowl and strain the custard into the bowl.  Cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally.  Cover and refrigerate the custard at least 3 hours or overnight.

Pour the custard into the ice cream machine, and following the manufacturer’s instructions, churn until it resembles soft serve ice cream.  At the very end, add in your chopped chocolate and churn for just a minute longer to fully incorporate.

Transfer the ice cream to an air tight, freezer safe container.  Cover and freeze at least two hours.

Nutrition Information:

Really?  Did you see the ingredients – whole milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks.  Sit back, relax and savor it.

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