Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Raw Ice Cream

Recently, our family began to include dairy in our diets, with the stipulation that the milk and milk products come from pasture-grazed, organically raised cows (we believe this is more humane for the cows, and healthier for us). We also prefer raw dairy products, even if we are going to cook the milk into something like custard or corn bread. T-Guy still has a small reaction to dairy, so he doesn't have it often, and I also limit my consumption. J-Baby, however, is thriving with the addition of raw dairy to his (limited) diet.

Basically, we get raw milk, cream, butter, and cheese from Organic Pastures. We also buy raw cheddar and cultured butter from Organic Valley. Both dairies score well with The Cornucopia Institute, with Organic Pastures having the edge. We also occasionally buy Strauss Family Creamery ice cream, which also scores well. Strauss and Organic Pastures are both in California.

I've been playing with a raw ice cream recipe. At first, I attempted to adapt a basic uncooked recipe from Cuisinart, with half skimmed milk (done by me, so more like 1 or 2%) and half cream. It was alright, but formed unwanted ice crystals when the leftovers were frozen. Then I tried Sally Fallon's recipe, using all cream (but leaving out the arrowroot starch), which was too greasy, for lack of a better word. Finally, I tried a different cream/milk ratio (and used the milk whole, not skimmed), and we hit upon a winner. The mouth feel is right, and it freezes well.

Simple Organic Raw Vanilla Ice Cream

2 C. organic raw cream (we use Organic Pastures)
1 C. organic raw whole milk
3 organic egg yolks, from pastured local hens
2/3 C. organic maple syrup
1 T. organic, fair trade vanilla extract (gluten free)

Blend everything in a VitaMix (or other blender), just enough to fully combine the egg yolks without getting to the butter stage. I start at variable speed 1 and turn to speed 10 over about 5 seconds, and then turn to high speed for 10-15 seconds. Put in refrigerator for an hour to chill and meld flavors. Blend again briefly, then add to running automatic ice cream maker. Allow to run 30-45 minutes until the ice cream is at the soft-serve stage. Serve immediately, or freeze for later.

Price-wise we come out at about the same price as commercial organic ice cream from Strauss, however we are able to make a raw ice cream, which we can't buy, and we can be certain of every ingredient in it. We also choose to use maple syrup as our sweetener. Sugar is sugar in the body, but we believe that there are benefits to the environment and the human community when we choose local honey or North American maple syrup. Finally, our ice cream is fresher, and we have no container to dispose of.

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