With summer in full swing, we're all screaming for ice cream. But before you barrel out the door like a kid chasing after a towering cone, Jesse Mason, co-owner of Mason's Creamery, has some tips to help you make classic vanilla ice cream at home. It starts by combining heavy cream, whole milk, egg yolks, sugar and a vanilla bean over a stove. Then he chills the mixture in the fridge to 36 degrees. "It will freeze that much faster and it won't have a chance to incorporate air into the mix, so you'll get a really heavy, rich and creamy ice cream," says Mason, who opened a storefront in Ohio City last month. "The key to a really good ice cream is to have it as cold as possible before you put it into an ice cream maker." And for non-vanilla varieties, you'll want to avoid adding any unneeded water to your recipe. "Fresh fruits have a lot of water as well as sugar in them," says Mason. "The biggest thing about making different flavors is making sure you remove the water from whatever you are flavoring it with because it will get really icy."
Mason's Creamery Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes one quart of ice cream
1 cup of whole milk
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup of sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
1 cafe thermometer
Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the insides. Pour 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream into a saucepan and add the contents of the vanilla bean, including the empty pods, over low-medium heat. Stir the mixture to avoid scalding and bring the temperature of the liquid up to 110-115 degrees.
Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the beans steep in the liquid for 5-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the empty vanilla bean pods from the liquid.
In a separate bowl, fold together 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar until thoroughly mixed. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and place the saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring gently for 10 minutes until the mixture reaches 140-150 degrees, making sure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
Pour the contents of the saucepan into a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator until the temperature reaches 36 degrees. Alternatively, you can float the bowl in an ice bath to quicken the process.
Add the contents to the ice cream maker once the desired temperature has been acquired and follow traditional instructions based on the ice cream maker of your choice.
Jesse Mason recommends adding these ingredients to his basic vanilla recipe.
Kettle Chips & Breakfast Cereal: Before you throw away that bag of potato chips, toss those last crumbs with crushed Froot Loops into your base for a salty-and-sweet combo.
Coffee Grounds: Perfect for a pick-me-up, you'll want to grind coffee beans directly into the base, then steep over the stovetop before straining and pouring your caffeinated cream in the maker.
Pork Floss: Available at most Asian markets, this pulled-pork has a cotton-candy like consistency and adds a surprisingly savory twist when mixed in vanilla ice cream.
Honey Hut founder Frank Page started Cleveland's ice cream craze with his homemade, honey-sweetened ice cream 40 years ago. The former firefighter and Army chef, who died in May at 86, ran the shop's six locations with the help of his five children and nine grandchildren. His daughter Marcia Rosati talks to us about her father's tasty success.
I was 14 and under my dad's wing when he opened the original Honey Hut [in Old Brooklyn]. Eventually, my brothers came on board to help with making the ice cream, because it wasn't just a one-man show, and he was a fireman. He worked long shifts when he wasn't making ice cream.
We had a honey vanilla, chocolate and honey pecan - our signature flavor. He didn't skimp on the pecans. He put in lots of salted butter pecans. He was just that kind of guy.
He was a very generous man and he was very humble. He was the kind of guy that if he thought you were digging in your pockets for that extra dollar and you had two children waiting for ice cream cones, he would wave his hand and say, "You're not paying me. This one's on the house. We'll catch you next time." And we continue to do that for reasons we feel are right. If you're down on your luck today, tomorrow may be a new day for you. — as told to James Bigley II
Scoop up these ice cream essentials.
The White Mountain 6-Quart Hand-Cranked Ice Cream Freezer ($239) churns out desserts in less than 30 minutes with a three-gear drive system that smoothly mixes liquid for fast and easy freezing. Lehman's, 4779 Kidron Road, Dalton, 888-438-5346, lehmans.com
Pack up your frozen favorites when you're on the go with the Zak Reusable Ice Cream Container ($15), a 1-pint insulated tub that keeps ice cream frozen for up to 1 1/2 hours. Sur La Table, 28819 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-378-1800, surlatable.com
Zeroll's Anti-Freeze Ice Cream Scoop ($19.95) will warm up to your touch with self-defrosting liquid that allows simple scooping. Crate and Barrel, 24405 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst, 216-297-3500, crateandbarrel.com