Ice cream making is something that’s been sort of an unattainable goal for me. A bit lofty. Possible… yet, somehow… not. The culprit behind this defeatist attitude is probably the time I tried to make ice cream for some dinner guests (the day they were coming over).
I simmered the vanilla in the cream and sugar, I separated out the egg yolks, beat them into a frenzy, slowly added a tiny bit of hot cream to the eggs and whisked furiously to prevent the eggs from cooking. I thought I had done everything right, until I added the egg yolk/cream mixture to the rest of the hot cream (again, slowly with furious whisking) — and there they were. Bits of cooked egg having a big old pool party in the middle of my beautiful vanilla ice cream base.
I started to panic, but then remembered that I was supposed to strain the mixture. So strain I did! I wasn’t really confident in this as a solution though, because there was just SO… much… egg. I was sure the batch was ruined, but I pressed on. After straining 3 times, I chilled the mixture and then churned it in my ice cream maker. It looked pretty good, and our guests were arriving soon.
After the cream had firmed up to a soft-serve consistency, I transferred it to a tupperware container, sealed it, and shoved it into the freezer to await its post-dinner unveiling.
We enjoyed some GREAT chicken parmesan that night. It was truly incredible. I like to focus on how good that chicken parm was so that I don’t burst into tears at the thought of what happened next.
We were perfectly stuffed and ready for dessert. I retrieved my precious homemade ice cream from the freezer, scooped out 4 bowls worth, snuck a taste (seemed good!) and served it up. I watched anxiously as my husband and our 2 friends took their first bites. The suspense was killing me. It started as a long pause… then there was some smirking… then an awkward exchange of glances. OH the horror. Then, after what seemed like 2 years, my friend timidly asked, “Is there scrambled egg in this?” Sweet Moses. FAIL! My taste test obviously wasn’t thorough enough, as I had neatly dug into the single patch of pure ice cream among a minefield of lumpy scrambled eggs.
Because this memory has represented my only experience with ice cream making up to this point, I admit that I’m extremely biased in favor of egg-free formulas. I really do want to attempt that recipe again (it was from David Lebovitz), but for now it’s egg free and baby steps! The success pictured in this post is an adaptation from a Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt recipe I found in Jeni Britton Bauer’s cookbook, “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home”. I could lie and say I adapted it because of taste, preference or culinary genius, but the
glamorous truth is that I didn’t have about a third of the necessary ingredients on-hand and was too impatient to make a trip to the store. That said, the result was SO good!
This recipe calls for fresh rhubarb cooked down into a delicious compote, half and half, Neufchâtel cheese and vanilla Greek yogurt. It’s lower in fat than a typical frozen yogurt, so you have to let it thaw a little before scooping (or just go the popsicle route!), but it’s SO worthit. The flavor is light and sweet with swirls of rhubarb, a delightful richness from the Neufchâtel and a creamy hint of vanilla. A perfect summer treat, and not a scrambled egg in sight!
Have you had success with homemade ice cream? If you have any troubleshooting tips for me, I’m all ears! If not, I’d love to hear about your egg-less ice cream/frozen yogurt adventures! What’s your favorite flavor (homemade or not) and which one should I try next? Please share in the comments below!
Vanilla Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt
For the Rhubarb Compote
8 oz. Rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
For the Frozen Yogurt Base
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, softened
2 cups half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cup Oikos Vanilla Fat Free Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Stir together the rhubarb and 1/3 cup of sugar in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until it’s pink and falling apart.
2. Mix 3 tbsp. of the half and half with the cornstarch to make a slurry, and set aside.
3. Whisk the softened Neufchâtel in a medium bowl until smooth, and set aside.
4. Combine the remaining half and half, sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium/high heat. Let it boil for 4 minutes and then remove from heat. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil and stir until it thickens a bit (about 1 minute), and then remove from heat.
5. Slowly mix the hot half and half mixture into the cream cheese until smooth, and then add the vanilla Greek yogurt, rhubarb compote and vanilla bean paste. Stir until fully blended.
6. Pour the base into a large freezer bag and refrigerate for at least an hour. You want the mixture to be cold, but not frozen. You can use the freezer to speed this part up, but be careful not to freeze the mixture! There are 2 options for the next step: frozen yogurt, or popsicles? For frozen yogurt, pour the cold mixture into your ice cream maker and churn it until it reaches a soft-serve consistency. Scoop the frozen yogurt into a container, seal it, and freeze overnight. For popsicles, pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze overnight. Before serving, the yogurt will need to thaw a little, so give it at least half an hour on the counter before you try to scoop. For popsicles, you may need to run the molds under some hot water for a few seconds to free them up.