Whether exotic or plain, ice cream reamains a favorite treat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Even at the tender age of 5, Nicholas Matthew Arnold knows what he wants.

&uot;Vanilla and nothing else.&uot;

It’s plain. Straight-forward. And tasty, every time.

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Vanilla ice cream may be the perennial favorite among the youngest gourmets, but more exotic flavors – from Micha Riggs’ personal favorite of tutti frutti to chocolate, the list-topper for 8-year-old Kaitlin Grayson – are finding their way into cones across the Miss-Lou.

&uot;The best time to eat ice cream is in the summer, because (the ice cream) is so cold,&uot; said Kristian Clower, 6.

Whether it’s homemade vanilla, dripping with sweetnesses, or store-bought exotic flavors, the cool and creamy treat is a summer staple. Here are some recipes for you to try:

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 large egg plus egg yolks

Combine milk, 1/3 cup sugar and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the whole egg and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer or whisk by hand until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes with a mixer or 4 minutes by hand.

Remove 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture from the saucepan and add slowly to the beaten egg yolks while whisking vigorously. Whisk this mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, cook mixture until it reaches 180 degrees, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Strain the custard mixture and pour into a non-reactive bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Place the bowl into a large bowl filled halfway with ice water to cool the custard. When mixture reaches room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours. When mixture is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and stir before placing into an ice cream machine. Follow manufacturer’s directions on the ice cream machine and then freeze for 1 to 2 hours before serving, to allow ice cream to become firm.

Variations: Mix in 3 ounces chocolate chips or 1 cup coarsely crumbled cookies about 1 minute before churning stops. For coffee-flavored ice cream, stir 3 tablespoons of instant coffee or espresso powder into the milk before heating. For chocolate ice cream, increase the sugar to 1 cup, adding 3/4 cup to the milk mixture and the balance to the eggs. Beat 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder into the whipped egg mixture.

Adapted from The Dessert Bible

Deep South Chocolate Ice Cream

2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso

1/2 cup boiling water

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

5 egg yolks

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup creme de cacao or Grand Manier

3 cups heavy cream

Dissolve the coffee or espresso in the 1/2 cup boiling water. Place it with the chocolate in a small, heavy saucepan or in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Stir occasionally to melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Beat the yolks in the small bowl of an electric mixer at high speed for several minutes until thick and light lemon-colored.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan mix the 1/2 cup water with the sugar and cream of tartar. With a small wooden spatula, stir over high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Let boil without stirring for about 3 minutes until the syrup reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer (light-thread stage).

Gradually, in a thin stream, add the hot syrup to the egg yolks, still beating at high speed. Continue to beat for about 5 minutes more until the mixture is cool.

Stir the creme de cacao or Grand Marnier into the cooled chocolate mixture and add that to the cooled egg yolk mixture, beating only until blended. Remove from mixer.

In the chilled large bowl of the electric mixer, with chilled beaters, beat the cream only until it holds a very soft shape. Fold 1 cup of the cream into the chocolate mixture and then fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining cream.

Pour into a shallow metal pan, measuring 13- by 9- by 2-inches and freeze until firm around the edges (about two hours). Meanwhile, chill the beaters and, when ice cream is partially frozen, remove it from the pan; beat it in the chilled bowl until smooth. Return the ice cream to the pan and freeze, covered, until firm, about 90 minutes

From Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts