Soft Serve at Home?

Everybody like soft serve drippin’ down in the June sun
I tried to shoot a thought, ah but the thought sunk
Nothin’ to do but scratch words in the dirt and
Watch the water roll down

M. Doughty/Soul Coughing

Logging this here for future reference; a technique from ChefSteps that uses dry ice in a stand mixer to make soft serve at home, which I was just explaining to Kiley wasn’t possible.


Xmas Break Ice Cream Report

Ice cream!
@ Van Leeuwen. Earl Grey under Pistachio.


Made a batch of Vanilla Chai right when the break started. I still don’t think that I like chai tea in its usual environs, but I do like it as ice cream a lot. (Steeped 4 Twinings Chai teabags in the hot milk/cream of my normal base for 15 minutes, then proceed with the rest.)

Keenan wanted to make/take a quart of something to a party, so we made a batch of the Eggnog from the Ample Hills book. I don’t usually make a custard-base ice cream, but it seemed called for in this case. Exceedingly eggy (10 yolks to a quart!). Needed more nutmeg.



For Xmas, Kath got me the book from Brooklyn’s Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, and it immediately became the #2 book on that part of my shelf (behind the original book from Jeni’s).


Kiley and I spent last Sunday wandering around Soho and the Village, and directly across 7th Ave from the Village Vanguard we saw a sign for Snowdays Shaved Cream. Basically, they use Hawaiian-style shave ice machines, but instead of working on cylinders of ice, they freeze cylinders of ice cream base solid and then shave ice cream snow off of those. Kiley had their Sweet milk flavor (with some toppings and salted caramel sauce), and I had Matcha green tea, which was great. Because they don’t need to count on the sugar content to control the texture of the final product, they were able to make this really subtle — not overly sweet at all, and the green tea was clean, and the dairy itself was especially prominent. I don’t know how a business like this handles rushes, though — it’s not a quick process.

Last night, Keenan and I went into Brooklyn to see They Might Be Giants do the last night of their year-long residency at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and when I was checking directions on Google Maps, I saw that Van Leeuwen has a shop that’s a block away. We stopped after the show and I had their Earl Grey and Pistachio. Both were fantastic, and my assessment of the place from their book was spot on. Highly recommended.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I was going to make a batch of Jeni’s Pumpkin 5-Spice ice cream, but was out of five spice powder, and too lazy to run to the spice store just for that today.


This uses my version of Jeni’s base recipe that folds in proportions and techniques from a bunch of different books and online resources I’ve seen over the years. It works reliably for me in my machine. YMMV.

Also uses my vague memory of how I’ve spiced pumpkin pies in the past; probably more heavily spiced than you’re used to.


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk
almost 2/3 cups sugar (minus 1 tablespoon or so)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

base, continued

another 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tablespoon corn starch

3/4 cup pumpkin (Jeni says to roast your own after hunting it with a bow and arrow in the veldt. I use Libby’s from the can like a proper American)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Combine the ingredients from base and spices in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. While that’s heating up, combine the rest of the milk and corn starch into a slurry and keep it handy. You’ll need to re-stir just before using it.
  3. The pumpkin and salt into a mixing bowl, whisked up a bit to combine.
  4. When the base comes to a boil, set a timer for four minutes. Stir occasionally, and monitor the heat level — if this boils over onto your stove, you will not be happy with the cleanup effort.
  5. After 4 minutes, remove the pan from he heat, re-stir the milk/corn starch and stir that into the base.
  6. Return the pan to the heat and bring back to a boil, stirring to keep everything mixed and avoid lumps. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  7. Add the hot base to the pumpkin and mix until smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture into a gallon ziplock bag and push out as much air as you can as you seal it.
  9. Drop the bag into an ice bath and into the fridge to cool down, aiming for around 34 F. Overnight if you can.
  10. Do something else while it chills.
  11. When it’s completely chilled, spin in your machine according to the manufacturer’s directions, pack into a storage container and freeze until hard — again, overnight if you can.

Also good as a baked Alaska (pic from 2011):


7/8/12: Roasted Peach


to standard base:

  1. Peel & slice 3 peaches, then roast with a few tablespoons of sugar and a little lemon juice in a 400F oven for 10 minutes or so, until soft.
  2. Puree the peaches until smooth (I got about 3/4 of a cup), then add to the prepared base.
  3. Chill thoroughly & spin.


I should have waited for the peaches I had to ripen more — the taste was not as strongly peachy as I had hoped for. Next time.

5/20/12: Lime Rickey


Standard base, plus:

zest of 2 limes, mixed into the base

Lime Syrup

combine 1/2c lime juice with 2 tablespoons sugar, heat to dissolve completely, then chill. Add the lime syrup at the beginning of spinning the ice cream.

Raspberry Swirl

(based on recipe in the Bi-Rite book)

Cook 12 oz raspberries (I used a bag of frozen organic berries) with 2/3 cup sugar, mixing to dissolve the sugar, and continue cooking until much of the liquid has evaporated. I should have cooked this down more — it wants to be a very jammy consistency for the right texture in the finished product. When packing the finished ice cream, swirl the raspberry goo in as you go.


The kids complained because it wasn’t green. Sorry, kids.

6/3/12: Malted Milk Balls


To standard base add:

1/4 c ovaltine chocolate malt powder
1/8 tsp. Vanilla extract

after spinning, mix in:
1/2 c chopped malted milk balls


Notes for next time:

More of the chocolate malt powder, I think.

Verdict after finishing the quart: This may be the family’s favorite one yet. I’m overcoming my lifelong aversion to ice cream with stuff mixed into it.