shuna lydon

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« Local Vegetarian Dinner, at a farm! | Main | Chef Owners Who Work The Line. »

08 April 2008


How could you have a week about ice cream and not go to a certain little-ice-cream-shop-that-could?

Hellooooo! the week is not over yet, yo! In fact it just began! /Look on your schedule for Friday!

Shuna, that was fantastic!!! I loved reading all your notes and warnings. That malt chip recipe... I might have to borrow it. It looks like my cup of tea. Oh yes, and I loved the warning about not throwing out vanilla beans... I have a little post coming about that. About how I save all of mine, treasure them, buy them little vanilla bean coats just like little boston terriers... We are nuts!

I am new--came from reading Ruhlman. I purvey the finest seafood to restaurants/hotels around the country and I am chef trained(not practicing)and have a deep passion for food and have really enjoyed your blog. You are very creative and look forward to reading more. Like your new haircut.

Oh right...I heard about that! Cool...

I loved the story of your first homemade ice cream! I remember mine too, cranking away like crazy alongside a swimming hole in upstate NY, kids taking turns cranking and swimming as we got tired. And the ice cream (peach, fresh from the trees) was amazing.

We churned the remaining ice cream base this afternoon and plan to have it for breakfast at 9:00 am tomorrow. The kids were fighting over opportunities to clean up, because cleaning brought with it the opportunity to lick the bowls clean first. I'm going to print out your tips from the blog and add them to the recipes you passed out. Thank you for the fantastic class!

Hello Lexy,
Thank you for the update! It was so much fun for me, as well, to teach your class-- thank you for the great opportunity! ~ Shuna

Considering the fact that creme anglaise is technically "custard-ed" from anywhere between 160-185 degrees, why do you choose 180 as the point you should take it to on a thermometer? I'm with you to begin with (I think it is sillly and counterproductive to use one), but if you do, why take it that far as opposed to a lighter custard?

Hello Aaron,
1. I have never used a thermometer to measure nappe. I always let the ingredients tell me where to go-- I feel, smell, look, hear and taste. Every base is totally different because each time I've made creme anglaise all the components are different. Even when I made gallons and gallons of vanilla ice cream every week at Bouchon, I noticed that there was no set time and "recipe" for how long I would be stirring.

2. I have worked with people who went to culinary school who say that 180F is when eggs coagulate. I have believed them because I have heard it from a number of totally different people at various points in my career. The temperature 180F is considered safe for coagulation, especially when one's yolks are not previously pasteurized.

You have begun learning about how to make ice cream for a commercial/retail establishment at an interesting time. Even a few years ago you would be required to buy and use pasteurized egg yolks exclusively. And in many states this is still the case. ~ Shuna

Old pictures or haircut?

Curious minds would like to know....

...Old photos-- but you know that, mr. curious.... ~ Shuna

do you have a good Philly-style ice cream method? my mom doesn't like eggs in her ice cream.

Great to hear from you. I'm not adept at making ic without yolks, sorry! For a home machine I imagine you don't need to make a custard, or you could use a few sheets of gelatin as a stabilizer...
Sorry I'm not more helpful, this is not my area of expertise. ~ Shuna

Dear Shuna - thank you so much for this inspiring post, just reading it makes me happy, I can't possibly live without ice-cream! Hope all is well. kx


So nice to hear from you Traveling Traveler! yes, ice cream. A basic food group as far as I'm concerned. xo S

I made both the butterscotch and the strawberry (the uncooked cream way). Yum. And the butterscotch sauce beforehand. Damn.

One question you have a trick for keeping the rough-cut strawberries from turning into not-so-pleasant-to-eat frozen rocks once the ice cream has been in the freezer for awhile? One person suggested poaching the strawberries in simple syrup but I want to hear your take.

Thanks for the recipes.

Hello David,

This is an excellent point. I hate ice cubes in my ice cream whether they take the form of chocolate or fruit or nuts.

I "rough chop" my strawberries and then macerate them so they they get a little soft and limp before going into the chilling base. Or you can pulse the strawberries in a blender so that most of them are completely liquid and a few are "roughly chopped."

I don't believe in poaching fruit in simple syrup, ever, because fructose and sucrose are too different and I want my fruits tasting like fruit, even if I feel I have to amend them with a dash of sugar.

If your strawberries are cut small, whether you do this by hand or with a machine, and the base has quite a bit of coulis added to it, your end result will be a wonderful strawberry ice cream, maybe a little chunky and icy, but representing strawberry ice cream 100%.

One last methodology you could employ, if you want a lot of strawberry flavor but no bits or chunks, is strain your coulis, or steep your strawberries but remove them through the chinois, or make "strawberry water" buy macerating them and putting them in a double boiler over a long period of time and low heat. You get a sort of strawberry consomme liquid that is bright and flavorful and totally strawberry without the starch and seeds...

Thanks for commenting, I know it's rare for you and I appreciate it. ~ Shuna

Excellent post. . I love your chocolate chip method. . I have been doing that one a long time and think it is the best!

I bet those kids had a blast learning from such a wonderful teacher!

Hello Shuna,
Love your blog. Will the recipe work if I replace the sugar with a powder form of fructose? I am desperately trying to find a way to make my 2 year old son ice cream. He can not have sucrose or starch.
Thanks, Amy

Hello Amy,

I have absolutely no experience working with powdered fructose. My best guess is to do a taste test-- one for one. Or ask Heidi from 101 Cookbooks, or go to a site that explains how fructose works in cooking. My feeling is that when you are navigating new terrain, leave a lof of room for experimentation.

And if you do come up with something you love, please stop by again and tell us about what worked and did not work for you... If you have time. ~ Shuna

Thanks for the great discussion about sugars! I am interested in making ice cream for a diabetic, and thus want to replace the sugar with as many artificial sweeteners as possible. Do you have any insight for what sort of substitutions I should make (in order to get close to the right sweetness and texture)?

Dear Shuna,

i'm trying to make a few homemade ice cream of my own. I have a few questions that i hope you could help me with.

1) Is there any ingredients i can add to make my ice cream harder?
2) Is there any substitutes for heavy cream, as i do not want a very creamy ice cream?
3) Any ideas how to make a refreshing watermelon taste ice cream, w/o being too creamy?
4) Are egg yolks necessary for making ice cream?
5) Can i use whole milk only, for the cream mixture, w/o adding any heavy or whip cream to it?

Brian ~
1. This is your ice cream maker's fault, most probably. Or your freezer. Sugar and alcohol keep ice cream 'soft,' so check those proportions first.
2. You may use any sort of dairy or liquid you want! 1/2 & 1/2 is not 50:50 cream:milk, and that makes a great ice cream. Whole milk only is nice and of course Sherbet is a great way to highlight dairy in a 'non-creamy' way. (My favorite is Lemon Sherbet. Also, if you make the creme anglaise with one or the other dairy's, and pour it into the other, the dairy that did not make the anglaise will stand out a bit 'icier.'
3. Watermelon is extremely tricky! Use the sherbet tricks from above. Do not make an anglaise or cook anything at all. I might try 1:4 nonfat yogurt:watermelon pulp juice. That watermelon needs to be processed and churned RIGHT AWAY though! Watermelon starts going off the minute its flesh is exposed to air/taken off its rind.
4. Egg yolks are optional for making ice cream but necessary for making creme anglaise.
5. Yes. As stated above, you can do anything you want. :} Ice cream as you want it is your creation, do with it what you desire! ~ Shuna

Dear Shuna,

Thanks for your blog and for all the great work you do! I wanted to make a blueberry malt ice cream using your base recipe, but wasn't sure if I should try and make a blueberry coulis, like you did with the strawberries and add it to the chilled base? Or is it better to break down the blueberries by cooking them with a little sugar and then add to the chilled base? Your thoughts? Thanks again!

Hello Quinn, This is an interesting question. While I can answer it technically I'd like to first adress the flavor combination. Both are such singular personalities I fear they will each become muddied when paired in such close proximity. Also, while I don't know where you reside, blueberries are not in season in North America/the West until July-August...

It is my opinion that blueberries transmit their best flavor when you cook & then puree them. Or at the least, just cook. So to make this base I would just add the coulis to the base, when it was cool & churn according to the instructions on your particular i.c. machine. The other option is to make a very concentrated blueberry sauce/jam, chill it & after churning, fold it into ice cream swiftly, creating a kind of 'swirl.' Good luck! ~ Shuna

Hi Shuna - I hope you don't find this question irritating. I have tried your recipe for simple Creme Anglaise base/ice cream 4 times, and I can't seem to get it right. I don't mind testing recipes repeatedly, as I typically learn and master a technique along the way, but this one has me stumped.

I heat the milk with half the sugar to steep the vanilla bean for 30 minutes. Then I whip the yolks until light yellow and fluffy, add a little yolk to the warm milk and return this mixture back to the egg yolks. I heat the yolk/milk mixture until nappe stage (this might be where I go wrong) and add it to the cream/remaining sugar. Stir the creme anglaise over the ice bath until cool and refrigerate. Churn.

When I churn the mixture, it doesn't firm up. It is the consistency of heavy cream. I freeze it, and it is passable, but has lots of ice crystals and doesn't have the smooth creamy taste that I know it should. Any pointers?

Hello Beth, from first reading it sounds like the frothiness of your ribbon stage eggs are getting in the way of your nappe/coagulation. Also, depending on your ice cream machine, the dairy:yolks ratio can be anywhere between 1 Q dairy: 4 - 14 yolks. Obviously the less yolks you use the longer it will take to coagulate/thicken.

But your real issue is that you're taking a presumably coagulated/emulsified liquid {Creme Anglaise} and pouring it into freestanding liquid. While I would agree that for some flavours of ice cream the fresh taste of cream shining through is lovely, many ice cream machines {especially 'slow' home ones} will pull apart this liquid that is not cohesive to begin with. I hope this helps-- and so glad you're making home made ice cream!! ~ Shuna

p.s. it's best to realize that home made ice cream will not feel & look and act like store bought, or even high end artisanal ice cream shops. those ice creams have the unfair advantage of big, expensive equipment and more controlled environments for consistency. not to mention Health Department laws that govern the way retailers handle, process and produce ice cream.

Hi Shuna,

I'd like to make an espresso ice cream, using your base. What are your recommendations for adding coffee flavor to the base? I was thinking of using instant espresso powder, adding it to the base, after it has been chilled and then letting it sit for a day in the fridge before churning. Is there another method you'd recommend? Your thoughts are always appreciated!

hello Quinn, there are so many ways to make espresso ice cream! you can grind the beans or not. infuse cold or hot. add espresso to the base or don't. Really I think you know the answer, or at least the one I'm going to give: experiment! As far as I go with anything I do, there's always a taste adventure in store :} ~ Shuna

I have been making ice cream for a couple of weeks now and I am in love! I made chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and raspberry-basil ice cream. Both came out excellent. One was with a cooked base and the other with an un-cooked base. Thanks for all the tips. The recipes sound outstanding.

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