When I was growing up, I had a serious sweet tooth. My parents were convinced that I would give myself diabetes. If it was sweet, I loved it. Cookies, cakes, candies, and of course, ice cream. It took until I got to college to get rid of that sweet tooth. While my college was awesome in many ways, the food was uninspiring and the ice cream -- soft serve, mostly -- sub-par. The desserts were likewise somewhat bland. So I fell out of my love affair with all things sweet and never quite got back into it. The nail on my sweet-tooth coffin was the discovery of weird, bizarre, unique ice creams. Sweet corn, creme fraiche, olive oil -- delicious! I rarely eat "regular" ice cream anymore (honey-lavender was the last non-homemade flavor I had), but I will occasionally whip up a batch of something strange and exciting at home. If you too are a fan of unusual ice cream flavors, I strongly recommend that you invest in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.
Even if you've made ice cream at home before, Jeni's are different. To start with, she uses a totally different base -- milk, cornstarch, cream cheese, corn syrup. Wait, cream cheese in ice cream? And no eggs? Yep, you betcha. And it works beautifully.
There's some mixing, some boiling, some chilling. All said, it's pretty straightforward and easy.
I started off my Jeni adventures by making two ice creams for my mom's birthday: Sweet corn and Bourbon. Sweet corn used fresh, delicious corn (mm!). Irresistible.
Unfortunately, at the time, my ice cream machine was on the fritz so I had to make it the old fashioned way. If you've never done that before, it's easy. Just pour the ice cream into a shallow freezer-proof dish and let it chill in the freezer until it starts thickening. As it cools, beat the ice cream every 30 minutes or so to break up the ice crystals. In some ways, while it's a little more babysitting, I prefer ice cream made this way. Since less air is incorporated, it tends to have a more gelato-like consistency than ice-cream machine ice cream.
The bourbon ice cream froze better but was less of a hit, as I expected. It was delicious, but, well, a little more normal. I probably won't be making it again myself. The sweet corn, on the other hand -- out of this world! There is nothing like sweet corn ice cream. It is exciting, and textured, and truly delicious. By the time we'd sampled the ice creams, everyone was a Jeni's ice cream convert.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Bourbon Ice Cream
Low comfort scores from me because I am just not a huge ice cream person. When I need comfort, I turn to cheese, not sweets -- but truly delicious nontheless. A final word of caution: Neither of these kept very well for very long in the freezer. This could be because I didn't freeze the bowl 24 hours in advance (whoops), because I didn't use the right ice cream maker (oh well), or because I froze them in less-than-ideal containers. Still, if you like ice cream, and you eat it quickly (I'm looking at you, sis!), I strongly recommend trying out Jeni's.