Ice cream sous vide (with Barbados Custard ice cream!)
Sous vide cooking – also for ice cream!
You may already know what sous vide cooking is: In a nutshell, this “cooking under vacuum”-method is about cooking things in plastic bags immersed in water baths kept at carefully controlled temperatures.
When you normally cook something in water on your stove, you would eventually typically end up with boiling, or near-boiling, water. But with the help of a so-called immersion circulator it is a piece of cake to set a specific (non-boiling) temperature and maintain it … for hours and hours and hours if you like!
What’s the benefit then? As many fans point out, sous vide cooking guarantees that your various food stuff always gets cooked to their optimal temperatures – no more risks of ever overcooking anything! And since the food never gets warmer than what it optimally should be, there is no need to anxiously check if your food is ready: you can usually return to fish up your optimally heated food from the water pretty much at your own leisure.
So what’s in it for an ice cream maker? The obvious answer is that sous vide offers a very convenient and effortless way of preparing particularly custard ice cream bases: no more need to stir and constantly check the temperature, worrying about over- or under-cooking the base. Instead of anxiously stirring and watching on your base you can safely leave the mix to basically cook on its own … and return at your leisure to an ice cream base now cooked to perfection.
All we need to do is to attach our immersion circulator to a large pot of water, set our desired temperature and preferred cooking time and let it heat up. While the water heats up, we’ll mix the ice cream base ingredients, pour the mix in a suitable plastic bag and put into the pot of water. Leave, let the fixed temperature-heating do its thing and come back later: your base is ready … and should be perfectly cooked.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it turns out that it actually works!
The conclusion: Optimally cooked custard base and delicious vanilla ice cream!
- A sous-vide cooker, for example of immersion circulation type
- A large enough zip-bag / plastic bag
- (recommended but optional: vacuum sealer)
- 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla powder (or one vanilla bean)
- 200 ml (about ⅘ cup) whole milk
- 200 ml (about ⅘ cup) cream
- 60 gram (about 70 ml or ¼ cup) sugar
- 50 gram (about 50 ml or about ¼ cup) brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
- 200 gram (about 200 ml / ⅘ cup) cream fraiche
- 6 egg yolks
- 1-2 tablespoons (dark) rhum
- pinch of salt
- optional: 1-2 tablespoons skimmed milk powder
- Mix the milk and the cream well with the sugars, then add all the other ingredients.
- Whisk and transfer the base to a vacuum-bag of your choice.
- Vacuum and seal the bag.
- Program your sous-vide machine for a time of (at least) 30 minutes (and to really be on a very safe side,1 hour) on 77° C / 170,6 F and use it to preheat the water in a suitable pot.
- When the water in the pot has reached the desired temperature (and with the immersion circulator in place), put in the sealed plastic bag with your ice cream base, start the process and wait for an hour or so 🙂
- When the program is over, your base should be perfect, pasteurised and ready for churning once cooled down.
- Let the base cool down and preferably chill for a few hours or overnight.
- Churn in your ice cream maker or still-freeze using your household freezer.
In case you decide to use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla powder, you need to remember to remove the stalk from the base before the churning 😉