Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Interlude of Butter

It all started because there was no ice cream in the store. 

Not that I would have bought it if there was (too expensive and too much quantity to satisfy a simple craving). But still, it got me thinking.

And then there was the conversation with my haus meri, Rita (the national woman who comes and assists my housemates and I with housework once a week). We were discussing the current lack of ice cream on center and how we could remedy the situation. Alas, we commiserated, it’s difficult to make homemade ice cream creamy and smooth, without the little ice crystals, when you don’t have an ice cream maker.

And then I remembered this recipe. I had made this version of ice cream once before (sans a few eggs) in vanilla and strawberry flavors, and it was so rich, so creamy, and so decadent that it far outstripped the store version. (That also could have resulted from the fact that it hadn’t been thawed and refrozen who knows how many times).

Next week, we promised Rita, next week when you come, we will have made homemade ice cream for you. So, on Wednesday, Jessie and I embarked on an ice cream making venture: a double batch of mint chocolate chip and cookies ‘n cream. 

It started off benign. We eagerly mixed and heated the egg/sugar/milk mixture (then searched for recipes to use up all the leftover egg whites) and merrily tossed it into the fridge to chill (then frantically sprinted to the post office to catch the van to drive helter-skelter to aviation to serenely wave  ‘welcome!’ as our returning-from-furlough-roommate’s plane landed earlier than expected).

After lunch and dishes, we returned to the ice cream drama: whipping the cream. Except, we had no whipping cream. So, we thought, let’s just whip heavy cream. Except it was the brand that doesn’t whip well.

This one. I can't read the label either.

Because of the Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai products, we can get many different labels! 

So, I thought, since it will take forever anyway, let’s try whipping it in the MagicBullet (one of my absolute favourite kitchen implements, but that’s another blog post). After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Butter, apparently.

Thanks to the combination of somewhat frozen heavy cream plus the fierce enthusiasm of the blender plus the propensity of this particular brand to not whip meant that within a few moments, beautiful golden lumps separated from the buttermilk. Jessie and I stared in fascination (and slight horror). This was not what our cream was supposed to do.

“Well,” I studied the bowl, “we might as well go all the way.”

 Just a few more moments of whipping, a bit of squeezing through the cheese cloth and a final addition of salt was all the once-intended ice cream needed before it shaped into a gorgeous sunshine pat of butter.  It will be perfect on our homemade bread, we congratulated ourselves.

But, despite our PNG Pioneer Lady interlude, we still had no ice cream.

So we started again, this time with room-temperature cream and a hand-held mixer, whisked it with the egg mixture, tossed it in the ice cube trays (after running next door to get more), and threw it in the freezer. After several hours, quite a few more dishes, and a significant amount of chopping later, we had finished preparing dinner, along with the mint chocolate chip and Oreo cookies mix-ins, blended all our ice cream up once more (no butter this time), and settled the cartons for a final time into our ever-useful freezer.

Mmmmm; rich and creamy!

 So very tasty. Rita calls ice cream "the mother of all foods." :)


And that is how we spent the afternoon making butter… since there was no ice cream in the store.

Yummmm, some of the best ice cream I've ever had!