Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Summer's Frozen Assets

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Summer's Frozen Assets

Article excerpt

YOU CAN fiddle with the rock salt. You can skimp on the sugar. But never, ever, dally with the dasher.

That is a lesson I learned the other day when I made ice cream at home. The dasher is the part of the ice-cream maker that is suspended in the middle of the canister of sweetened cream.

The dasher's mission is to make sure all the liquid mix changes into frozen cream. It does this by scraping the freezing ice-cream mix from the canister walls and pushing it toward the center. This action, in turn, pushes the pieces of unfrozen mix to where the cold is, the canister walls. In my ice-cream maker, the dasher remains stationary as the canister, turned by an electric motor, moves through ice cubes and rock salt.

When a dasher is allowed to do its task uninterrupted, the result is a smooth, frozen canister of ice cream. But if you tinker, if you turn off the motor in mid-process, the results are soupy.

Once you stop the motor, the dasher considers its workday is over. When you restart the electric motor, the dasher feels thick cream around it, and balks. It won't let the canister rotate. And the ice-cream-making process is finished, even though it should, technically, go on for another 10 to 15 minutes.

That is what happened to me. That is how my gallon of homemade mocha ice cream turned into 30 mocha milk shakes.

It happened when I got a hankering for ice cream. Not the store-bought stuff, but homemade. I was happy to discover that I already had most of the essentials: an ice-cream maker, a sack of rock salt and a recipe.

This was not an ice cream for the timid. It was loaded with cream, sugar, cocoa, coffee and called for raw eggs. It was a risk-taker's ice cream, and I was ready.

At least I thought I was. After reading the recipe in "Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book" (by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Workman Publishing), I got out 2 cups of whipping cream and 2 eggs. But I soon realized I needed four times as much.

The recipe called for making a petite amount of ice cream, 1 quart. I wanted to make a gallon. I walked to the store and bought more cream, more eggs and more ice. The walk home, in 95-degree heat, toting a 20-pound bag of ice, was an ordeal. …

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