Thursday, July 29, 2010

[[UPDATED 31.07]] Brace Yourself: Thanks-a-Latte Ice Cream

Cafe latte ice cream, with wonderfully pronounceable and easily accessible ingredients.

Hey all! I'm still alive! When I initially wrote this, I was just about to dash off to yoga class (See? The baker does not just magically consume vast quantities of delicious home made goodies without doing something to counteract such tasty foolishness), so you were left with unlinked names and absolutely no monologue on ingredients and process. Well I have returned to fill in the blanks and equip you to make ice cream sans ice cream maker as best I can.

Z's birthday was last weekend, which left me with an outrageous excess of 18 egg yolks. What the... What am I supposed to do with 18 yolks? I've previously made pudding and my dad's leche flan comes to mind (the recipe of which you will never see because it's a secret, sort of), but 18 yolks???

I settled on making a bit of hollandaise sauce, which is the devil (and yes, I am suggesting the devil is made of egg yolks and butter because the combination is inherently evil and may cause your arteries to instantly clog), but then what?

The answer lay quietly with my friend M: ice cream. But but but - I don't have an ice cream maker! Well, not to fear - David Lebovitz assured me that I can, indeed, make ice cream without a machine.

A little help from DL and Ina Garten ... Lo and behold, ice cream!

Cafe Latte Ice Cream
Adapted from and

Yields about 4 cups or 1 quart or 1 liter/litre, depending on your favorite measurement system and ideas on spelling

6  yolks
2 C (470 mL)  whipping cream
1 C  milk
pinch of salt
2 1/2 T espresso powder (nicely ground coffee beans)
2/3 C (125 g)  caster sugar
1 tsp  vanilla
2 T  Kahlua

  1. Grab two heat-resistant bowls: place the yolks in one and the cream in the other.
  2. Mildly whisk the yolks, just enough to break them.
  3. Combine the following in a pot: milk, salt, espresso powder, and sugar. Heat until it bubbles and froths at the edges (it's okay if it bubbles over the whole surface, no worries).
  4. Resume whisking the yolks (but this time with vigor) while streaming in the warmed milk mixture. You only want to add maybe 1/4 to 1/2 C of warmed liquid; you'll see the yolk mixture become more pale.*
  5. Return the pot to medium-low heat and begin whisking the contents while streaming the yolk mixture back into the pot. Continue whisking until you can coat the back of a spoon with the mixture, run your finger through it to make a line, and no mix dribbles down (see for a nice-ish photo of this). You pretty much just made custard at this point.
  6. Sieve the pot mixture into the bowl containing the cream and stir (I bought a drum sieve and dough scraper just for this, but you needn't get all fancy).
  7. Add the vanilla and Kahlua, give it a quick stir, and chill the mixture in the fridge.
  8. Once the mixture has cooled to refrigerator temperature, throw it in the freezer.
  9. Check it after about 45 minutes; a layer of frozen mixture should be building up around the edges of the bowl. Scrape it down and stir/whisk the mixture until homogenous. Repeat until the ice cream is set (David said this takes about 3 hours, but mine took forever and I abandoned it after about 5 hours of care in trade of sleep and dreams of ice cream for breakfast).
  10. Eeeeeeeeenjoy thoroughly.
*The idea with streaming (a.k.a. gradually and gently pouring) the warmed milk mixture into the yolks is to cook them without scrambling them. If you're finding it difficult to wield a hot pot in one hand and whisk at the same time, feel free to quickly pour in a little of the warmed milk mixture, set down the pot, whisk, and repeat. There's no need to freak yourself out by the prospect of severely scalding your hand and not even getting any ice cream out of it to sooth your pain.

Cafe latte ice cream made without a machine, showing off its scooping capabilities.

Cafe Latte Ice Cream Reflections

I feel pretty darn good about making my own ice cream, especially without a fancy machine or exotically-named powders that improve the texture and consistency of the finished product. That being said, the vanilla I used was of low quality, and I think it imparted a slightly artificial taste to the whole batch, especially pre-freeze time. I've broken myself of the habit of buying artificial vanilla "essence" but this was leftover from the baking frenzy last weekend and I haven't had the chance to replenish my kitchen with much of anything since.

I've found that the ice cream does have a bit of an icy texture, but can you blame a sister without a churning machine? No. No, you can't. And if you feel like you can, well then I just won't share my home made ice cream with you until you decide to come off your pedestal. Besides, this is just a tiny tiny detail that can definitely be forgiven when you think of all the love that went into making this (I might just kick your pedestal, FYI).

The Resident Taste Tester and I are very much without such pedestals and have since forgiven the barely noticeable icy texture as well as the shoddy "vanilla" traces, so all that was left to do was enjoy the hell out of this stuff (and yes, I did eat some before yoga today, thanks for asking).


  1. That looks soooo good. I definitely have to try that method when I get back to Japan =)

  2. V! As you should! I think my ice cream would have taken far less time to set if I had placed it in a shallow and wide dish in the freezer, though mine is a little strapped for space at the moment. Please let me know when you try it out and what flavor you made!