Jeni Britton Bauer's Ice Cream Base For Home Ice Cream Machines

By • August 16, 2012 26 Comments

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Author Notes: In 2008, Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly asked me if I could create an ice cream recipe for home cooks. After making more than 75 batches (with a Cuisinart Ice-20 1 & 1/2-quart canister machine), I felt like I'd come up with a base recipe that yielded ice cream that had the same taste, texture, consistency, and finish as the ice cream we made in our professional kitchen. Here is the base recipe, which you can also find (with recipes for lots of flavors) in my book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

“Excerpted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011.”
Jeni Britton Bauer

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Makes 1 quart (2 pints)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1&1/2 ounces cream cheese softened/room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1&1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Here’s how to make the base to make any ice cream flavor in my book, or any ice cream flavor you can dream up.
  2. PLEASE NOTE: 24 HOURS BEFORE YOU WANT TO MAKE THE ICE CREAM, WASH THE CANISTER, DRY IT WELL, AND PLACE IT IN THE COLDEST PART OF THE FREEZER. DO NOT REMOVE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO POUR THE CHILLED CREAM INTO IT.
  3. PREP 3 BOWLS In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. In a medium bowl, add the salt and room-temperature cream cheese and whip all the bumps out. In a large bowl, make an ice bath (heavy on the ice) and set aside.
  4. COOK Pour the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and remaining milk into a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, set a timer for precisely 4 minutes and boil for exactly 4 minutes—the timing is critical. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  5. CHILL Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Do this a little bit at a time so that you can whip out any lumps of cream cheese. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag, seal, and submerge the bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until very cold, about 30 minutes.
  6. FREEZE Cut the corner off the bag, pour the chilled base into the frozen canister of your ice cream machine, press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
  7. HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR ICE CREAM IS DONE The ice cream is finished at the exact moment when the machine isn’t freezing the ice cream anymore; the ice cream will begin to pull away from the sides (about 25 minutes). If you stop too soon, there will be a thin layer of really dense ice cream on the sides of the canister.
  8. SERVE When you remove the ice cream from the freezer, let it sit and relax for 5 to 10 minutes before you scoop and serve it—it doesn’t need to melt, but it does need to thaw slightly. Ideally, serve and eat it while it’s quite firm but pliable and you are able to easily roll it into a ball. Once you’ve scooped it, return any remaining ice cream to the freezer. If the ice cream has melted too much at room temperature, refreezing it will result in an ice cream that is too icy.

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