Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Ice cream from your home freezer

Jerry Stratton, June 22, 2022

One of the amazing things about reading old cookbooks is learning completely different recipes for making common foods. I used to think ice cream either required going to the store, or buying yet another single-purpose appliance to do the churning. I grew up in the seventies, and when we made ice cream it was with a time-consuming hand-churned ice cream maker, filled with salty ice. We had to crank it outside, because the salty ice turned to water and was released through a drain hole about, as I recall, halfway up the side.

But as I wrote in Revolutionary Refrigeration, recipes immediately after the introduction of the home freezer make ice cream by just sticking it in the freezer and letting it freeze. Maybe taking it out once to whip it. A lot of these recipes show up under different names in other cookbooks. Many a mousse or parfait is indistinguishable from ice cream once it’s been frozen.

I’ve divided these recipes up into those that use whole eggs, those that use egg yolks, those that use egg whites, and those that use gelatin. The basic idea is the same in each case: make a syrup-like mixture, either a custard or a meringue or a gelatin, and fold in whipped cream. Add flavoring to either the sugar mixture or fold the flavoring in with the cream. And freeze it.

These are all very good ice creams. If you’re looking for something quick, look at the toasted ice cream made with egg whites. If you’re looking for something rich, look at the egg yolk recipes.

A full three of these recipes come from the Southern Living Desserts Cookbook. The entire Southern Living Library is a great collection, and the Desserts book is one of the best. That may be partially because I have a sweet tooth, but I definitely recommend this book, and, in fact, all of the books I stole these ice creams from.

Whole eggs

This maple ice cream from the 1942 Montgomery Ward Cold Cooking cookbook is one of the easiest of the egg-based recipes. There’s no separating the eggs or even folding the cream into the syrup or eggs.

Cold Cooking maple ice cream

Maple Ice Cream

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cups maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • dash of salt

Steps

  1. Scald the syrup and cream together.
  2. Pour the hot syrup into the eggs while beating.
  3. Add salt and beat well until very frothy.
  4. Freeze until very cold.
  5. Add vanilla and whip until light and creamy.
  6. Return to freezer and fully freeze.

It’s an easy recipe to modify as well: just replace the maple syrup with corn syrup and whatever flavoring you prefer.

For utter uniqueness, this next one, a lemon and sauerkraut-flavored ice cream from the 1970 or so Put Some Kraut in Your Life is a great choice. There’s a lot going into this recipe to make it thicken. Not only do you separate the eggs, and whip the cream separately, you also add a touch of cornstarch to the milk. So that while there are several steps involved you shouldn’t have any trouble with this recipe turning out, and turning out well.

Lemony Kraut Ice Cream

Lemony-Kraut Ice Cream

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp sauerkraut juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Steps

  1. Mix the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon zest in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the milk.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
  4. Boil for one minute.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Beat the egg yolk in a medium bowl.
  7. Gradually blend in the hot milk syrup.
  8. Cool.
  9. Stir in the lemon and sauerkraut juice.
  10. Beat the egg white until stiff.
  11. Fold with the cream into the syrup.
  12. Freeze until ice crystals form around the edges.
  13. Beat well.
  14. Freeze until firm.

Sauerkraut-flavored ice cream definitely sounded weird to me when I first read the recipe. I made it mostly expecting to make fun of it afterward. As it turns out, it’s a good ice cream. A little sour is a good thing in sweets and lemon plus kraut is a very interesting sour. Try it and see.

And, of course, you can replace either or both of the juices with something else, to make vanilla ice cream, amaretto ice cream, or whatever floats your float.

Egg yolks

Like the maple ice cream, this ice cream from John Humphreys’s 1998 Essential Saffron Companion is easily varied, and most variations will be even easier, since you won’t need to let most flavorings infuse overnight.

Essential Saffron ice cream

Saffron Ice Cream

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 24 hours

Ingredients

  • 2-½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 20 saffron filaments
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar

Steps

  1. Bring the milk and the cream to a boil. Add the saffron, remove from heat, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator to infuse.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and pale. Pour in a half cup of the milk infusion and continue beating until well-blended.
  3. Mix the egg yolks and the rest of the milk in a double boiler, mixing over low heat until thickened enough to coat a spoon.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool. When cold, beat well, place in a freezer, and beat again every hour until it sets.

Mrs. H.L. Crute’s recipe from the Southern Living Desserts Cookbook (originally for peach, but mango brings it to a new level) is very similar to the previous recipe, but brings the sugar to soft-ball stage before adding to the egg yolks.

Golden Mango Parfait

Golden Mango Parfait

Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 hours

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1-¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup mashed mango
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Steps

  1. Beat the egg yolks well in a double boiler.
  2. Bring 1 cup sugar, water, and salt to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Without stirring, cook to soft-ball stage (234°).
  4. Beat the syrup gradually into the egg yolks.
  5. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  6. Cool.
  7. Add mango.
  8. Chill.
  9. Whip cream until soft peaks form.
  10. Add ¼ cup sugar gradually, beating to stiff peaks.
  11. Fold cream into mango with the almond and vanilla extract.
  12. Freeze for three to four hours.

Other than boiling the syrup, it’s the same technique as the other recipes: (1) chill the syrup, (2) fold the whipped cream into it, and (3) freeze.

Egg whites

Egg yolks make for a very rich and creamy ice cream. For light and fluffy, try a meringue-based cream.

This Cherry-Almond ice cream, from the 1947 Norge Cold Cookery and Recipe Digest, is the first egg-white-only ice cream I made, and was all it took to convince me that egg yolks are not necessary for great ice cream. The original recipe doesn’t technically call it Cherry-Almond ice cream, just Cherry-Almond cream. But it’s clearly ice cream consistency, the main ingredient is cream, and it’s frozen. It’s ice cream.

Norge cherry-almond ice cream

Cherry-Almond Cream

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 9 hours

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup cream
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup maraschino cherries, chopped
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, chopped

Steps

  1. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  2. Boil the sugar and water to 235°.
  3. Pour over the egg whites while beating.
  4. Continue beating until it nears normal temperatures, about 90°.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator.
  6. Whip the cream, not too stiff.
  7. Fold into the chilled syrup.
  8. Fold in the salt, vanilla, cherries, and nuts.
  9. Freeze overnight.

Superficially similar is Mrs. Agnes Hackley’s “mousse” from the Southern Living Desserts Cookbook. It’s almost the same recipe… but it requires no cooking at all. You can make it very quickly—there’s no intermediate cooling step before the cream goes in because nothing was heated up to begin with.

Southern Living calls this next recipe “Peach Mousse”. Recipes on Parade: Desserts Edition has the exact same recipe, Mrs. K.E. Jackson’s “burnt almond ice cream”, which is where I got the idea for toasted cashews. The latter recipe was also toasted—it didn’t call for burnt almonds, just toasted almonds, instead of peaches. From context, Mrs. Jackson did expect the almonds to be very toasted, however.

Toasted cashew mousse

Fruit or Cashew Mousse (meringue)

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 7 hours

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup unroasted cashews or 1 cup fruit
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps

  1. Chop the cashews very fine, or chop the fruit.
  2. Stir cashews until medium brown over medium heat, if using. Set aside to cool.
  3. Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff.
  4. Slowly add sugar while beating.
  5. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
  6. Fold the cream and cooled nuts or fruit into the meringue.
  7. Freeze overnight.

Word of warning: whether with peach or toasted ice cream, this recipe is very good even before freezing. I did a lot of “testing” before I put it into the freezer.

Gelatin

If you don’t want to deal with eggs, you can make very good ice cream with gelatin. The key word is cream, after all. The easiest source of gelatin for ice cream is marshmallows. The same miracle ingredient you use to make cereal candy can also make ice cream.

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 16 fresh marshmallows
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup crushed peppermint stick candy

Steps

  1. Stir the marshmallows into hot milk until dissolved.
  2. Chill.
  3. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into marshmallow mix.
  4. Fold crushed peppermint into the cream mix.
  5. Freeze.

This is from the “no time for cooking” section of the 1961 Progressive Farmer’s Southern Cookbook. Like the toasted ice cream, it can pretty much be eaten immediately, and becomes progressively more like ice cream the longer it’s in the freezer. It takes longer than the toasted ice cream recipe because you have an intermediate cooling step to bring the syrup down to room temperature, but you can still easily make it in the morning for the afternoon.

And a hint: for any recipe that calls for melting marshmallows, use fresh marshmallows. Save the stale ones for popping off as snacks or for hot drinks.

Mrs. G.M. Hall’s peach mousse from the Southern Living Desserts Cookbook is the same idea, but starts from gelatin instead of getting it from marshmallows. That gives this a brighter flavor, and is in one sense easier to make. There is no stirring the marshmallows until they melt. But you do have to chill the gelatin mixture until it thickens.

Mango Mousse

Peach Mousse (gelatin)

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed peaches
  • 2 cups cream

Steps

  1. Soften the gelatin in the cold water, in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Dissolve over boiling water.
  3. Pour into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, sugar, and peaches.
  4. Chill until thickened.
  5. Whip the cream and fold into the gelatin.
  6. Chill (for mousse) or freeze (for ice cream) until firm.

Like the golden parfait, I probably make this more often with mango than with peaches. They’re both great.

  1. <- National Sandwich Day