I

ce cream is supremely fun to treat the whole house to… in theory. But a battle with parking, long lines and sticker shock can take the whimsy out of a simple summertime treat. Stay home and unearth your ice cream machine. These long-lasting workhorses, possibly hidden above your fridge, are trending again in a big way. From a properly produced classic to flavors steeped with aromatics and varieties made sans milk, ice cream in all its forms is a palate pleaser.

Artisanal ice cream is about recipe, not skill, and softer scoops with a luscious mouthfeel is what’s notable. We asked Chef Eric Stein, owner of Enlightened Flavors, for recipes worthy of your spoon. The chef-driven frozen dessert company creates ice cream and slush with fresh, local ingredients. You can find him slinging slushy cocktails at events all over the Upstate in favorable weather (including Euphoria) with his mobile frozen cart Slush Buddies. 

Chef tells us these three recipes are all a home cook needs for a summer full of variation: a classic vanilla base, a dairy free chocolate aching for chunky, crunchy add-ins and a tea-infused ice cream ready for a fruited swirl.

He explains that the difference between American-style ice cream and French-style (think French Vanilla) is the use of egg yolks in the ice cream base, but he most often uses an egg-free version as the starting point for ice cream made at home; ingredients are simply whisked together in one bowl, making the prep and clean up a breeze.

You can still make delicious ice cream even if you avoid dairy. Chef points out that freezing dairy-free milks will result in a rock-hard final product, so he suggests employing ingredients to help make it creamy. “This is best done by using fruit purees, such as bananas, figs, mango and even avocado,” he says.

Adding egg yolks to your base will result in a richer, more velvety smooth ice cream due to a higher fat content than American-style ice cream. “There is slightly more skill involved in making French-style ice cream, and a few more dirty dishes,” says Chef Stein.

Milk and cream are heated together and during this step aromatics can be steeped such as cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods or cloves to elevate scoops to a restaurant-level dessert. After eggs are tempered into the mixture, this gourmet emulsion must be cooled before its trip to the ice cream machine.

Recipes by Chef Eric Stein

Simple Vanilla

Yield: 12 4 oz. servings

Since it is the primary flavor, it is best to use a high-quality extract as opposed to imitation vanilla flavor. You can also add other ingredients such as cocoa powder, chopped berries, or other flavor extracts as desired. I even use this base with chocolate stout to make a beer-flavored ice cream.

2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method: Combine the milk, cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk until the sweetened condensed milk is completely dissolved. Transfer the cream mixture to the bowl of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has finished freezing, transfer it to a 9x5in loaf pan and place into the freezer to fully freeze until ready to serve.

Earl Grey with Strawberry Swirl

Yield: 12 4 oz. servings

Once the tea has infused the mixture, the tea bags are removed and egg yolks are cooked into the base by a technique called tempering. The base is then strained and chilled before it is added to the ice cream machine for freezing. I added jam to give it a distinctive swirl but melted chocolate, peanut butter or caramel sauce can be great ingredients too.

3 c. whole milk
3 c. heavy cream
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
6 Earl Grey tea bags
6 Egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbl strawberry jam

Method: Combine the milk, cream, sugar and tea bags in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and allow tea bags to steep in the liquid for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, making sure to squeeze the liquid from the tea bags back into the pan.

Gather two mixing bowls, one larger than the other. Fill the larger bowl 1/3 full with ice water. Place the second bowl into the larger to form an ice bath. Beat the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and slowly whisk 1/3 of the hot ice cream base into the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pan on the stove. Turn the heat to medium and stir the mixture constantly until it thickens slightly, it should coat the back of a spoon. Be careful to not scorch the bottom of the pan or scramble your eggs. Immediately transfer this mixture to the bowl set in the ice bath. Stir in the vanilla extract and stir the mixture until it is completely cool. It is best to refrigerate your base overnight to fully develop the flavor.

Pour the mixture to the bowl of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has finished freezing, transfer it to a 9x5in loaf pan. Dot the surface with the strawberry jam and swirl throughout the ice cream. Place into the freezer to fully freeze until ready to serve.

Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut

Yield: 12 4 oz. servings

Just like in traditional ice cream flavors, extracts of vanilla, rum, citrus and spices can be used to add unique flavors to your non-dairy ice cream. You can also heat any non-dairy milk to infuse it with aromatic ingredients such as lavender or cinnamon. This is a fantastic summer chocolate or add mix-ins such as chopped nuts or chocolate chips.

2 c. almond milk
2 c. coconut cream
6 bananas, chopped
⅔ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbl maple syrup

Method: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. This step can be done in batches if your blender will not hold all the ingredients at once. Transfer the ice cream mixture to the bowl of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Once the ice cream has finished freezing, transfer it to a 9x5in loaf pan and place into the freezer to fully freeze until ready to serve.

by Stephanie Burnette / photography by Eli Warren