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The Tradition Continues

June brings Father’s Day and that always makes me think of homemade ice cream. Not just because it’s an old fashioned treat that goes way back into my childhood, but more so because I remember how much my Dad loved to make homemade ice cream.

When I was a kid, our family had the typical hand-crank freezer of that era. Because the freezer had become a little worn with use, it was my job to sit on top of the freezer, holding everything in place as Dad and my uncles worked in shifts to turn the handle. I remember how they would fold up a towel and place it over the top of the freezer for me to sit on; my behind still got cold pretty quickly but I wasn’t about to move from my special perch. Luckily, they used plenty of salt along with the ice, so it never too long for that ice cream to set up. As time passed, we got an electric freezer and that saved my rear end. Instead of using muscle to turn the freezer, now all we had to do was listen for the motor to gear down – progress!

In my cooking journal, I have a photo of my Dad holding a counter-top ice cream freezer that I gave him one Father’s Day. It doesn’t require the ice and salt used in the old fashioned freezer he was accustomed to; you simply froze the inner cylinder, added your ice cream ingredients and turned it on to churn until the contents were frozen. He is proudly holding it in the picture, but I bet under his breath he is murmuring words about it being some ‘new-fangled’ thing his daughter came up with as the perfect gift. To this day, I don’t even know if my Dad ever used that ice cream freezer, but he sure looked good holding it in that photo.

Dad believed that ice cream was made to be enjoyed by many. When I think back to family gatherings and church ice cream socials, I recall that Dad nearly always made two freezers of ice cream, always vanilla. If anybody wanted ‘flavored’ ice cream, they had to do so by adding a topping themselves. And Dad’s ice cream was never really what you would consider rich and sweet, especially by commercial ice cream standards; he kept it as straight-forward as possible, just a simple mixture of eggs, sugar, vanilla, 2% milk and cream, poured straight into his stainless steel container and promptly frozen. It was cool and creamy, and so delicious served on top of Mom’s warm apple cobbler.

I was recently made aware that my cousin now carries the homemade vanilla ice cream ‘torch’ for our family. I’ve seen him myself at two recent family gatherings, ice cream freezer in tow. He was easy to spot due to the long line of kids already trailing him when he came through the door! But the best part, at least for me as I watched, was the pride he took in serving his ice cream. Our family tradition continues – bowl by bowl.

Here is the ice cream recipe that I now make for my family – all three of my boys just love it and I can mix it up for them in nothin’ flat! I’ve also included a family-favorite dessert recipe that I often bake in my cast iron skillet.

Chef Alli’s In-A-Flash Homemade Ice Cream 4 cups half and half 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 oz. 2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together half and half with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla; pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. I’m sure you can freeze the leftovers, but we never have any!

Blackberry Skillet Pie 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 Tbs. granulated sugar 3 Tbs. baking powder 1 tsp. kosher salt 6 Tbs. shortening 2/3 cup milk 3-4 cups fresh blackberry pie filling (or other favorite pie filling of your choice) 4 Tbs. unsalted butter Milk and sugar, for pie crust top

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture looks like meal. Add most of milk, stirring just until dough is combined. If dough is not pliable, add a little more milk. Place dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly about 6 times. Using approx. 2/3 of dough, roll out into a large circle of ¼-inch thickness. Place dough into a well seasoned 12” cast iron skillet, allowing dough to hang over the edge of the skillet. Pour pie filling into crust, then dot with 4 Tbs. butter that has been cut into small pieces. Roll remaining one third of dough out into ¼-inch thickness, forming a circle that is the approximate size of the center of pie filling. Place dough circle onto pie filling, then overlap dough hanging over skillet edge towards center of skillet. Brush top crust with milk, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on center rack of preheated 400 degree oven for approx. 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly throughout. Serve warm with homemade ice cream.

Now You’re Cookin’, Chef Alli

Chef Alli’s, Inc. PO Box 750664 Topeka, KS 66675 (785) 272-1055 www.ChefAllis.com
ChefAlli@ChefAllis.com Follow me on Chef Alli’s Facebook: Drawings! Recipes! Tips and Techniques!

June 7, 2011

Chef Alli — Who's Cookin’ Now?

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