5 weeks ago
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I've definitely been enjoying my ice cream maker this summer, so I was excited to see that Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu picked vanilla ice cream for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Excited, that is, until I saw that this was one of those egg/custard kinds of ice cream. Some people learn to deal with their weaknesses by facing them head on until they conquer them; I prefer to deal with my weaknesses by avoiding them. And since there are wonderfully delicious Philadelphia-style (non-custard based) vanillas out there, it has been gloriously easy for me to avoid dealing with eggs in my ice creams. But I wanted to be a good sport and give the custard thing one more try. And this time, I was armed with some incredibly helpful comments and suggestions left by my fellow bloggers after my last custard failure. So I went into this one feeling really optimistic.
The main thing I took away from the honey-peach debacle is to ditch the thermometer. The thermometer's great if you want to figure out the interior temperature of your challah, or whether your steak is medium rare, but it can really mess with your head when you are trying to make custard. I do have my eye on a more custard-friendly thermometer that I might ask for my birthday or Christmas (along with some equally sentimental gift like a biscuit cutter) but until then, I decided to trust the spoon test and (shudder) my own common sense. And it worked like a charm! It only took the base 2 or 3 minutes to pass the spoon test. Now that I know what the custard is supposed to look like, I am very grateful that my family survived my honey peach ice cream, given how appallingly overcooked the custard for that actually was (I probably cooked that one for 30 minutes trying in vain to get it to reach temperature). I feel lucky that we all got away that time with nothing worse than "grainy mouth feel."
But there was no grainy mouth feel this time - this vanilla was delicious, and smooth as silk. It kept its wonderful texture even after a couple of days in the freezer, which might be the main benefit to using eggs in the ice cream. In terms of flavor, it's almost impossible for me to choose whether I like this one or David Lebovitz's Philadelphia-style vanilla better without an actual side-by-side taste test. They are both fabulous. I'm probably more likely to stick with the Philadelphia-style, simply because it has one less step for me to potentially mess up. But I loved Dorie's vanilla, and am glad to have finally conquered custard.
Thanks for this great pick, Lynne!