Ice cream as we know it was probably invented about twenty two centuries ago, about two hundred years before Christ. There is evidence to show that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. The Roman king Nero also sent his servant to the mountains so he could run back with fresh ice and snow, which he would enjoy flavored with fruits and juices. Of course, mere mortals could not afford this luxury so ice-cream, for a very long time, remained a royal dessert!
The credit of getting the ice cream to Europe goes to Marco Polo, who brought back the earliest sorbet from his trips to Asia. The recipe of this sorbet then gradually evolved into what we today know as ice cream. In fact by the seventeenth century, the royal table of King Charles I was already serving ice cream, then known as 'crème ice'. The royal Chef never divulged the royal ice cream recipe till Charles's was beheaded and then everyone came to know the secret recipe!!
However, even till the sixteenth century, only the affluent could afford to experience the pleasures of the ice cream. Only by 1660 the hoi polloi in Europe started getting the taste of the real thing. One of the first public places to serve ice cream was the first Café opened in Paris, The Sicilian Procopio's Café Procope, which served a dish which used a recipe blending milk, cream, butter, and eggs, the first ever ice cream.
Ice cream reached the colonies in the seventeenth century, and by 1847, the first crank pulling ice cream machine had been invented by a Mrs. Nancy Johnson in the colony of America. However, it was still a crude procedure and on the basis of such a freezer, there was no way anyone could think of mass producing ice cream. The business of manufacturing ice cream actually started in 1851, when Jacob Fussell, while looking for a way to preserve the milk and cream, actually manufactured what we today know as ice-cream. He used Ms Johnson's cranking apparatus and went to business, though on a relatively smaller scale.
The cream for ice cream is actually a custard base. To make this, you need equal amounts of milk and double cream, half the amount of castor sugar, 4 egg yolks for every cup of milk and a teaspoonful of vanilla extract for every cup of milk. The quantities can then be calculated.
The milk should be slowly boiled, on low heat. In another bowl, mix together the egg yolk and sugar, well. Then, pour the hot milk in this bowl, stirring all the time. When the mixture is evenly done, pour it back into the saucepan and place over low fire. Keep stirring till the custard thickens. Never be in a hurry and boil the mixture. Remove from fire when the mixture forms a coating over the back of the spoon. When it is cold, add vanilla extract to it. This custard base itself can be frozen into yummy vanilla ice cream.
Apart from this there are a number of recipes that are easy to make and also tasty. Condensed milk, for instance, also makes great ice cream with light cream. Of course, all the processes depend on the ice cream maker. If one wants to make ice cream in a plan freezer, the mixture has to be stirred, beaten and refrozen a number of times if it is to be creamy.
Banana Ice Cream
- 1 cup, milk
- 1 cup, cream
- 3 ripe bananas
- ½ cup, sugar
Coconut Ice Cream
- 1 cup, double (heavy) cream
- ½ cup, milk
- ½ cup, finely grated coconut
- 1 cup, coconut cream
- ½ cup, ground sugar