Like all right-hearted people who eat dairy and eggs, you probably like ice cream. So do I. It’s the classic kids dessert — we all screamed for it, remember?
Unlike cookies, cakes, pies, and breads, ice cream is one of those things that requires a fair amount of capital investment to make at home. But I’m a snob when it comes to most things, and spending money on pints with too many obscure chemical ingredients was becoming a pain. Plus, if you make it yourself, you get to choose your own flavors. And people are incredibly impressed.
The downside is that, unlike a simple coffee cake or cookies, you can’t make ice cream on the fly if guests come over. I actually don’t think this is much of a downside, because unlike most baking, which requires a fair amount of active time and oven monitoring, making ice cream can be done in two separate sessions of about fifteen minutes each. The only downside is that you have to wait a couple hours between Session 1 and Session 2, and then another six to eight hours more to enjoy it.
Ok, now that all the preamble is out the way — who the hell am I?
I’m a lawyer by profession and I don’t work on anything having to do with food. I’m lucky enough to work at a great non-profit on a range of technology policy issues, from privacy to free speech to security to copyright. Before law school I worked at a big publishing house in New York, where I often brought baked goods to share (and test), but I really started making ice cream in graduate school, once I got the attachment for my standing mixer. I had spent a summer in the Bay Area and had fallen in love with Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe; the cookbook from the latter, along with David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, has helped me come up with flavors and techniques, although I have my own spin on it.
I like unusual flavors, or at least combinations that you wouldn’t expect in ice cream. I don’t really know how I come up with them. Sometimes it’s a pairing you’d have as food (fig and goat cheese), sometimes it’s thematic (mango lassi), sometimes it’s something that I feel like I saw as a cocktail (brown butter grapefruit). I’m stepping back a little from weird flavors these days, but I’m still trying to come up with new combinations.
There’s unfortunately a lot of preamble — equipment, technique, timing — that we’ll need to get out of the way before the actual fun starts, but I promise to make it as painless as possible. It’ll also be easier for everyone than if I just launch in on some obscure flavor and assume that you know what you’re doing. The best thing about this is that isn’t hard and, once you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty difficult to mess up. Especially the part when you get to eat the results.