Ginger Ice Cream Might Change Your Life

July 28th, 2009  |  44 Comments

Ginger Ice Cream

Apparently, living under a communist regime makes people do strange things. Take my mother, for example. Having grown up in the former USSR, she employed some KGB tactics and decided to deceive me. Yes, me, her angelic daughter, who clung to her shin for protection. What is it she did that borders on child abuse, you ask?

Until I was 5 years old, she fed me cottage cheese and told me it was ice cream. Yes, ladies and gentleman. I’m looking you in the eye and telling you the truth. I know it’s difficult to believe as these things don’t happen in America. Her reasons are unclear to me to this day. Something to do with her looking out for my health. Pfft, moms.

It was by pure chance that I discovered the truth. My aunt came for a visit and being the nice lady that she is, took me out for ice cream. This time I got the read deal. It was no cottage cheese, I tell you. It was like biting into the forbidden apple. Suddenly, everything opened up. Oh, the joy of being alive! They tell me my feet stomped so furiously, I could have awakened the devil. From then on, I could never go back to the way things were.

Fast forward a few decades later. I choose a profession where I’m surrounded by rivers of ice creams. Coincidence? I think not. At the restaurants where I worked, we’d make 5-gallon batches at a time. I’d stand there, all wild-eyed, and watch it ooze out of its industrial spinner like some gigantic soft-serve fit for Green Giant. Then I’d grab a big spoon and shovel out enough to make up for the lost years.

Ginger ice cream’s an odd one. You don’t automatically think “Alright!! Ginger ice cream!” but, MAN, is it ever good with THIS DESSERT. It’s got just enough ginger flavor to be noticeable, but it’s mellow enough not to overpower. Really, it’s perfect. I’d also serve it with anything where ginger could be a complementary flavor, like a fig tart, or apple pie, or with a blueberry compote. It surely makes a dessert more memorable than the standard vanilla.

***

Right now I have this type of ice cream maker with a built-in compressor freezer:

Lello 4070 Gelato Junior

The only reason I got it is because my weirdly-shaped freezer didn’t fit the bowl of the less expensive types. The advantage here is I can pour in my base and freeze it right away.

In my old apartment, I used to have this type and it worked very well:

Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Makers

I was more than happy with it. The drawback is having to pre-freeze the bowl the day before making the ice cream. I just kept it in the freezer all the time.

Ginger Ice Cream
makes about 3 cups
recipe can be doubled  (or tripled or quadrupled, if you have the capacity)

Once you get the hang of this method, you can make as many flavors as your imagination will allow. Instead of ginger, use anything that you can “steep,” like teas, or citrus zests, or mint leaves or herbs (lemon thyme, anyone?).

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
8 egg yolks
knob of fresh ginger

1. Your items.

giner-ice-cream-ingredients


2. Wash the ginger and roughly chop up enough to get a heaping half a cup.

ginger-ice-cream-chopped-ginger

 

3. Pour the milk and cream into a pot. Add half cup of the sugar and keep the rest to the side. Throw in the chopped ginger.

ginger-ice-cream-liquids-in-pot

 

4. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Don’t walk away. This mix wants to boil over and it’s a sticky mess to clean up.

ginger-ice-cream-simmer

Then let it sit for a half hour to “steep” the ginger.

 

5. Bring the mix to a simmer again. (Yup, I cheated and used the same pic as above.)

ginger-ice-cream-simmer

 

6. Meanwhile, have your egg yolks ready in a large bowl. Once the cream mix simmers, take the rest of your sugar and whisk it into your egg yolks. (This step of whisking in the sugar helps keep the eggs from scrambling when you pour the scorching cream over them.) Don’t do this any earlier, as the sugar reacts with the yolks and makes them clumpy.

ginger-ice-cream-whisk-in-sugar

 

7. Next, while whisking the entire time, SLOWLY pour the cream mix over the yolks. Again, do this gradually to keep the eggs from scrambling.

ginger-ice-cream-temper-1

ginger-ice-cream-temper-2

 

8. Now pour the contents of the bowl BACK in the pot. Have a fine mesh sieve set up over a bowl to the side.

ginger-ice-cream-pour-back-in-pot

 

9. We’re going to cook this very gently over medium-low heat, stirring the entire time. While stirring, make sure to keep scraping the bottom, too, so nothing gets stuck there. (A wooden spoon works well here, too.)

ginger-ice-cream-stir-to-thicken

 

In a few minutes (5-10) it should start thickening up enough to coat a spoon. You should be able to draw a line with your finger  along the back of the spoon without it filling in. (This is called napé stage, if you care.)

ginger-ice-cream-nape

 

10. Quickly remove the pot from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve.

ginger-ice-strain

 

Here’s your custard mix.

ginger-ice-cream-strain

 

11. Now it needs to chill. Set it over a larger bowl filled with a little ice water. (I have a habit of overfilling it and then cursing myself as it pours into my ice cream bowl when I set it in. Don’t do like me.)

ginger-ice-cream-ice-bowl

ginger-ice-cream-chilling

 

12. Now pour into your ice cream maker and follow the directions that came with it. They all perform differently and take different amounts of time.

ginger-ice-cream-pour-in-maker

 

You are looking for a soft-serve consistency. The ice cream will firm up a lot more when put in the freezer. If you remove it from the machine while it’s still soupy, it may get icy in your freezer.

ginger-ice-cream-spun

This one could have spun for another few minutes, I think, but it worked out okay. Didn’t help that I was taking photos of it while it melted. I put it in the freezer for a few hour to firm up. Check out this post from David Lebovitz for a photo of the ideal consistency. And a recipe for pistachio ice cream, to boot.

It is possible to over-spin an ice cream, so don’t leave it in the machine for hours thinking the longer the better. If you’ve ever overwhipped your cream before and watched it turn into butter and whey, the same thing can happen to ice cream. If left spinning too long, the butter starts to separate out of the cream and you can end up with a grainy mess. But the window for error is large, so don’t let me scare you. Just keep an eye on it.

Sooo goooooood.

ginger-ice-cream-firm

 

Ginger Ice Cream
makes about 3 cups
recipe can be doubled  (or tripled or quadrupled, if you have the capacity)

Once you get the hang of this method, you can make as many flavors as your imagination will allow. Instead of ginger, use anything that you can “steep,” like teas, or citrus zests, or mint leaves or herbs (lemon thyme, anyone?).

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
8 egg yolks
knob of fresh ginger

1. Wash the ginger and roughly chop up enough to get a heaping half a cup. Leaving the skin on is ok.

2. Pour the milk and cream into a pot. Add half cup of the sugar and keep the rest to the side. Throw in the chopped ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Don’t walk away. This mix wants to boil over and it’s a sticky mess to clean up. Turn off the heat, then let it sit for a half hour to “steep” the ginger.

3. Bring the mix to a simmer again.

4. Meanwhile, have your egg yolks ready in a large bowl. Once the cream mix simmers, take the rest of your sugar and whisk it into your egg yolks. (This step of whisking in the sugar helps keep the eggs from scrambling when you pour the scorching cream over them.) Don’t do this any earlier, as the sugar reacts with the yolks and makes them clumpy.

5. Next, while whisking the entire time, SLOWLY pour the cream mix over the yolks. Again, do this gradually to keep the eggs from scrambling.

6. Now pour the contents of the bowl BACK in the pot. Have a fine mesh sieve set up over a clean bowl to the side.

7. Cook this very gently over medium-low heat, stirring the entire time. While stirring, make sure to keep scraping the bottom and corners, too, so nothing gets stuck there. (A wooden spoon or heat resistant rubber spatula works well.)

8. In a few minutes (5-10) it should start thickening up enough to coat a spoon. You should be able to draw a line with your finger  along the back of the spoon without it filling in. (This is called napé stage.)

9. Quickly remove the pot from the heat and pour through the fine mesh sieve you’ve already set up over a bowl.

10. The custard mix is ready. Now it needs to chill: Set it over a larger bowl filled with a little ice water. (I have a habit of overfilling it and then cursing myself as it pours into my ice cream bowl when I set it in. Don’t do like me.)

11. Once chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the directions that came with it. They all perform differently and take different amounts of time. You are looking for a soft-serve consistency. The ice cream will firm up a lot more when put in the freezer. If you remove it from the machine while it’s still soupy, it may get icy in your freezer.

Note: It is possible to over-spin an ice cream, so don’t leave it in the machine for hours thinking the longer the better. If you’ve ever overwhipped your cream before and watched it turn into butter and whey, the same thing can happen to ice cream. If left spinning too long, the butter starts to separate out of the cream and you can end up with a grainy mess. But the window for error is large, so don’t let me scare you. Just keep an eye on it.






44 Responses to “Ginger Ice Cream Might Change Your Life”

  1. kayla says:

    yum! i just bought an ice cream maker yesterday after longing after one for too long…this looks like a great recipe to break it in with :) also just wanted to say how much i love your blog-the recipes, writing, and the photos especially are all so fab. keep up the great work! i’ll be reading!

  2. PastryPal says:

    Kayla–thanks so much!
    Congrats on your ice cream maker. There’s nothing lovelier than the hum of ice cream spinning in the background.

  3. Michelle says:

    This sounds wonderful!

  4. Akila says:

    This site is beautiful. I love the step-by-step photos. Out of curiosity, on the pictures where you are pouring things in, what is your aperture and ISO setting? I just recently started blogging too and taking pictures of the food we cook (though it is fast becoming an obsession) and am having a hard time getting clear pictures of liquids being poured into a bowl.

  5. PastryPal says:

    Hi Akila–Thanks for the compliments!
    About the photos. Ahem. Well, truth be told, I’m kind of a hack when it comes to photography. It’s something I just recently picked up and am learning by trial and error. I keep the ISO setting at either 100 or 200, but I admit that I still have the aperture set in auto mode. This will change when I figure out how to manipulate it. I set the camera on a tripod on the macro setting, set the 10-second timer, and when it’s about to go off, I start pouring. I only pour a little, so I can have a chance to try the photo 3 or 4 times before the whole ingredient gets poured in. Good luck with mastering this fun, yet perplexing photo thing. If you figure out some good tricks, let me know :)

  6. Akila says:

    Ha! That’s funny because you absolutely look like you know what you are doing. I am really terrible with all the settings and stuff; I have to get my husband to set the white balance for me because I have no idea how to do it. I like the idea of the timer – I haven’t tried that and will do so in future pics. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  7. PastryPal says:

    Akila, I forgot to mention that I juice up the photos in Photoshop. Makes a big difference.

  8. What fantastic directions. I want some this afternoon and will probably make it because you inspire me. You know I’m an old woman, and I do shortcuts when I can. The microwave is perfect for making custards. Not any quicker but less risky for fear of the dreaded scorch. So this would be nuked about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and paddling every couple minutes.

    And as you know my new project is called the Silver Cloud Diet. When I make this ice cream today I will use splenda instead of sugar, and all heavy cream. You should try it. It tastes so good you will faint. And it is quite healthy.

    more later. keep ‘em coming.

    love you.
    Linda

  9. PastryPal says:

    Linda,
    You’re much braver than I. Cooking custards in a microwave scares me.

  10. Y says:

    No waaay! That’s pretty underhanded ;) My parents have deceived us many times before but we wised up after awhile. Or grew suspicious of EVERYTHING. :D

  11. melonpan says:

    hahaha… im sure youre mother is great, but wow, thats pretty cold! but think of what it felt like when your aunt brought you to the truth… what an incredible feeling that must have been to discover the real ice cream. i wish i went through that actually!

    i may do that with my own child!

  12. It’s nearly the end of the summer and still haven’t gotten my ice cream machine out.

    I love your food photography. so clean and simple :)

  13. I am totally obsessed with ginger in all forms.

    But wow, 8 egg yolks. I made an ice cream with 8 before and I still get a little sick thinking of it. I think 4 or 5 is the max I’d use for a custard.

  14. PastryPal says:

    Hi Brittany, True 8 is a lot of yolks. I think 8 makes a killer texture, but I agree 4 or 5 would be excellent too.

  15. Pinky says:

    Oh my does this look amazing. I may have to just break down already and get an ice cream maker.
    Ginger became my constant craving last summer. I made all kinds of ginger flavored desserts, and I’m so sad I haven’t had ginger ice cream yet!

  16. Indigo says:

    Number one, I cannot believe your mother told your cottage cheese was ice cream. I think you can actually be arrested for that.
    Number two, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FELL FOR IT, AHAHAHA.

    This looks amazing <3.

  17. Marion says:

    Now this is a gift beyond rubies. Thank you. Ginger anything makes me happy; ginger yogurt is my all-time favorite. But this! Yipppeeee for my mouth.

  18. [...] Ginger Ice Cream: Once you get the hang of this method, you can make as many flavors as your imagination will allow. Instead of ginger, use anything that you can “steep,” like teas, or citrus zests, or mint leaves or herbs (lemon thyme, anyone?). Recipe from Pastry Pal. [...]

  19. luna says:

    Is putting the custard milk in the fridge the same as putting it over an ice bath – or is there a reason the ice bath is better?

    thanks!

  20. PastryPal says:

    Hi Luna — I like to let it cool quickly, so I set it over an ice bath, but if you have time, you can put it in the fridge to cool.

  21. martin Bergmann says:

    Absolutely perfect. Thanks.

  22. Masha says:

    Hi, thanks so much for the recipe and the pictures. I’d really like to try it, though I wonder: is it even remotely possible to make good ice cream without an ice cream maker?
    It’s hard to believe the cottage cheese story, but I know it’s true. I must have happily missed the time you were growing up in USSR, because I got a chance to eat real ice cream there. Though my grandma, weary of colds, usually melted it in a pan before I could have it…

  23. PastryPal says:

    Hi Marsha — Melted ice cream beats cottage cheese any day of the week! :)

    Eh, I don’t think it’s easy to end up with good ice cream without the constant churning action of an ice cream maker, but you can do it by hand if you are determined. You have to constantly stir the base in below-freezing temperatures in order to avoid forming those big, pesky ice crystals that turn ice cream gritty. You can set the bowl of custard base in a bigger bowl full of ice cubes, cold water and a lot of salt. Salt lowers the freezing point of the ice water. Stir the base with a rubber spatula, always scraping the sides of the bowl, until it freezes to a soft-serve consistency. Set it in the freezer to set it further. But by then you may want to curse it rather than eat it. Some people make a base, put it in the freezer until it freezes solid, and then run the frozen chunks through a food processor until it’s somewhat creamy. Don’t let it keep processing or it will melt. Scrape it into a container and freeze. Creamy fruit based ice creams, like banana or avocado, work better than watery fruits flavors like, strawberries or peaches, and the results are only mediocre, at best.

  24. Kina says:

    I’m making this again today for the second time, and thought I should at least give kudos.

    This ice cream is unbelievably good! I made it for Christmas dinner and people were running their fingers along the inside of their bowls when finished.

    I plan on trying this recipe with Earl Grey tea leaves next.

  25. PastryPal says:

    Kina — I love hearing that! Earl Grey tea should work perfectly, too. Let me know what you think when you make it.

  26. [...] found the recipe online and have since fallen in love with the blogger who posted it. She’s going on my regular reading list, along with Zen Chef (who is the king of kings when [...]

  27. Kina says:

    Made the Earl Grey tea ice cream — without egg yolks.

    Used a simple Vanilla ice cream recipe and steeped large tea leaves in the cream and milk, then used a cheesecloth to strain the leaves.

    It’s delicious! A little more soft-serve than I prefer, but very, very good.

  28. PastryPal says:

    Wow, Kina, that was fast. Thanks for coming back with the verdict. There’s a whole world of tea ice creams we can experiment our way through. I used to make chai ice cream and that was amazing as well. Having tried recipes with yolks and without, I think I prefer the texture the yolks provide.

  29. Luke says:

    Oh my word! Tried the recipe last night and am amazed how good it is!!! Thank you so much for putting it up!

  30. yogesh sawant says:

    hey thanks a lot a very clean procedure and nice photos.
    i am doing my post graduation project on ginger icecream and it is very handy for me.

  31. Paula says:

    Hi! Love the site and the recipes. FYI, my 3 year old eats “morning chicken” for bacon and pizza for chix parmesan. Whatever it takes! Thank you!!!

  32. ChefJen says:

    I just came across this recipe while looking for something to do with all of my leftover Ginger. I have to say, I was quite skeptical at first, mainly because of the amount of egg yolk, BUT….. It’s absolutely perfect. Amazingly delicious.

  33. susan quekett says:

    just been making ginger icecream for the first time- not having read any recipes beforehand. (not being a novice however) did the ginger bit as above (and guarantee milk as fresh as the supermarket allows) and as the milk warmed with the fresh ginger in it, the milk separated as if with rennet/lemon! tasted delicious but would not make custard! so no problems for you doing this?

  34. PastryPal says:

    Susan — No, my milk never once separated, and I’ve made the recipe dozens of times with many brands of milk. It sounds to me like you tried the recipe with only milk, and no cream, to lighten the recipe? Then, yes, it will separate, since milk is more prone to separate. It really has to be made with a milk/cream combination.

  35. Tina says:

    This ice cream is CRAZY GOOD! The recipe is perfect as is. My daughter loves it! THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Love your blog.
    I’m looking for an ice cream recipe book. Can you recommend one that will produce this kind of top-notch ice cream?

  36. PastryPal says:

    Tina — Thank you for trying this and reading the blog! If you love ice cream as much as I do, I think you’ll appreciate The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments. It really is top notch.

  37. Carol says:

    Love Ginger Ice Cream so can’t wait to try this recipe with my new ice cream maker. @ Pastrypal, another good book is Treats, just great recipes -Gelato, printed by McRae Books. (www.mcraebooks.com)The first part of the book has basic ice cream recipes as well as innovative recipes such as squash ice cream with amaretti cookies and rice ice cream with chocolate sauce. The second half of the book includes recipes for ice cream cakes, granita and semifreddos from all over Italy. Hope this helps.

  38. Bogga says:

    I would love to make this ice cream but haven’t a clue what heavy cream is, here in Australia we have whipping cream, cream, double cream, thickened cream and some others but have never seen or heard of heavy cream, anyone got an idea what I would use?

  39. PastryPal says:

    Bogga — Use whipping cream. Should work well.

  40. ros says:

    Have just discovered your ice cream recipe and have made two batches so far. I am in LOVE! I have my family coming to my house for Christmas lunch, and have planned the entire meal around having ginger ice cream for dessert!! Thanks so much!

  41. Kelly says:

    God bless you!!! I’ve been running around all over town looking for ginger ice cream and no luck. I thought i’d seen it around before but guess not. Now I can make it on my own thanks to you :)

  42. Bibicha says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for the recipe. i made ginger ice cream for the first time and it was great!

    Now I want to make ‘green tea ice cream’. Can I use the same recipe and substitute ginger for green tea. I would appreciate your feedback on this.

    Thanks a lot
    Bibicha

  43. Wendy says:

    My mother tried this recipe yesterday and it was fantastic! She even threw in some blueberries. Wow. Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

  44. Welandra says:

    Oh wow, made mine with 5 yolks and loved the taste of this!
    Btw, was my first try with my first ever ice cream maker! :)

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