Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Made It Work!! Well Almost…

After a bunch of batches I have come as close as I can to a successful alternative base. Rather than use cream and whole milk, this ice cream relies on skim milk and Crema Mexicana.

Crema Mexicana is the Mexican version of sour cream. Similar in consistency to crème fraiche, Crema Mexicana is more flavorful than regular sour cream. You can find versions of it in any Hispanic food store.

The inspiration for this recipe has come from a recipe I once found for sour cream ice cream. The recipe was awful – nothing more than sour cream, milk, cream, and sugar. It was not meant to be a stand-alone dessert. In order to make it cravable on its own, I decided to add blueberries to the base. Anyone who has had a traditional blintz knows that blueberries and sour cream are a great combination.

The fat content had to be adjusted in the base. Ice cream lives and dies based on fat content. Usually the rule is the more the better. Unfortunately, when I made this recipe using cream, there was too much fat in the finished product. A 16 oz can of Crema Mexicana has more fat than a traditional ice cream base. When mixed with the cream and frozen, the mouth feel was smooth and silky, but coated the tongue and was not easily wash away. This created a bad mouth feel.

The solution was to switch to skim milk. This returned the texture to normal, but I have two problems that I can’t work out. Both are rather minor. Perhaps some one has a remedy? First, although the residue is no longer on the tongue after swallowing, it remains on the spoon. I think this is the nature of the Crema Mexicana and probably cannot be avoided. It really is a very minor point, but I consider it a flaw.

Second, there is a bit of iciness. It is very fine grained. I doubt that most tasters would even notice. The usual solutions for iciness are to cook down the fruit before freezing (as I did) and to splash some water on the inside of the pan where the base is being made prior to adding the cream. I couldn't do this because there is no cream and the Crema Mexicana never gets heat. Maybe it should.

Both of these flaws are very minor. Most people won’t even notice them, but the ice Cream Fellow did. I was tempted not to post the recipe until it was perfect, but I would rather rely on you, the reader to tell me what I am doing wrong so I can work on new ideas.

Speaking of new ideas, I froze 12 oz blueberries that I had left over. I am thinking about a sorbet. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Blueberry-Crema Mexicana Ice Cream

16 oz blueberries
Juice and zest of one lemon
1½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups skim milk
16 oz. Crema Mexicana

1. Place blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ cup of sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes stirring occasionally. You will know when this is ready when the berries have given up most of their juice and the pan looks like a big sloppy liquid mess with some blueberries floating around in it. Puree the blueberries until to a smooth texture.
2. Put the milk and ¾ cup of the sugar into a pot and bring to a slight simmer stirring occasionally.
3. As the milk is heating, place the egg yolks into a bowl with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and salt and beat until it is a pale, frothy liquid.
4. Once the milk is simmering, remove it from the heat and temper the egg mixture by adding a small amount of the hot milk and stirring thoroughly. Repeat this process a couple of more times to ensure that the eggs have warmed up. You should use about 1/3 of a cup of milk in total. Then pour the egg mixture into the cream pot.
5. Return the pot to the heat and stir constantly until the custard reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Strain the warm custard through a sieve into a bowl. Strain the blueberry puree into the custard. Pour in the Crema Mexicana. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly blended.
7. Cool the custard to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
8. Freeze in your ice cream machine.

1 comment:

Anders said...

Hi Ice Cream Fellow,
Great blog! I was just curious to hear if you ever overcame the two minor flaws you noted. I'm not familiar with Crema Mexicana but in case it CAN be boiled, it probably would improve the final result (would aid the homogenisation of the mix).

You don't mention how many egg yolks you use,but an extra one might perhaps also aid in the fight against unwanted iciness:-)