Jim Valenti, operations manager at London's long-established Marine Ices, provides a few creamy tips on how to get the best out of your ice cream maker
1. What's the difference between ice cream and gelato?
Gelato is Italian for ice cream, but is now used for ice cream made the Italian way – colder tasting and more refreshing. Generally, colder climates such as Russia, Scandinavia and North America enjoy their ice cream rich in fat but as you go south to warmer climates around the Mediterranean they have developed a lighter, more refreshing version which tastes great in the sun.
2. How does one go about getting a dense, creamy consistency?
By stirring the mixture slowly and constantly whilst freezing down to around minus 6˚C, then hardening in the freezer at minus 18˚C or colder.
3. What type of cream is best to use when making ice cream or gelato? Single, double or whipping?
Whichever cream the recipe specifies should work fine.
4. How important is it to stick to exact measurements when making ice cream?
Ice cream recipes should be balanced to give the right consistency, just like any other dessert. By changing the ratio of cream to milk you could end up with an icy product or one which separates.
5. Why do some ice cream manufacturers use palm kernel oil?
Most of our ices are made with fresh cream. Palm kernel oil costs less, therefore offers an economical alternative for those restaurants to whom price is a key consideration. Palm kernel oil is widely used in Italy, as is coconut oil as an alternative.
6. What is the best freezer temperature to store ice cream?
It is best stored at minus 18˚C or colder and should be transferred to the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
7. What are the main ingredients of sorbet?
Fruit is the main ingredient of sorbet, to which you add a sugar syrup. For most soft fruits this is enough, but those with less body may need the addition of pectin, gelatin or whisked egg whites.
An expert recipe
Would you care to share a classic ice cream recipe for T3 readers?
I am going to share a historic recipe for parmesan ice cream from the early 19th century which works beautifully without a machine, so anyone with a freezer can try it.
- 500ml whipping cream
- 115g unrefined granulated sugar
- 115g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Bring the cream to the boil with the sugar, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan cheese, stirring until it melts. Allow to cool. Then scrape into a freezer box, cover and freeze overnight.
NB! This is a thick ice cream that is unsuitable for churning.