Usually I only make ice cream for birthday celebrations in our house, but after a few weeks of living dairy free, I began to crave the stuff. I was literally dreaming about eating ice cream. Spoonfuls and spoonfuls of delicious forbidden ice cream. I searched the Web for recipes that used rice milk but couldn’t find exactly what I needed. I found several for soy ice creams, but soy was also on our “No Eat List.” I began trying to piece together recipes and ice cream making techniques to come up with something both delicious and safe for us to eat.
To make a good rice milk ice cream I had several challenges to overcome. First, rice milk does not contain the fat that real cream has. That fat creates the smoothness on your tongue and helps it from becoming a hard block of ice in the freezer. I decided to make a custard based ice cream (uses eggs yolks) to compensate for the lack of fat in the rice milk and hopefully make for a richer mouth feel. Also I didn’t want the ice cream to taste just like frozen rice milk. My taste buds needed something new. I had a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer leftover from our trips to strawberry fields in the summer and decided to put them to use.
After assembling the custard I poured the mix into my electric Cusinart ice cream maker and let it churn away. I’ll admit I couldn’t wait for the machine to finish. When it reached a thick soft serve consistency and started rolling up near the opening at the top of the machine, my spoon went in for a quick bite. I wasn’t disappointed. Smooth, sweet and full of lovely strawberry flavor. Ohhhh so good! I think ice cream is its best right out of the churn but this ice cream froze well too. Granted it didn’t stay as soft as commercial ice cream but it didn’t turn into an ice block either.
Unfortunately very shortly after this ice cream success we began to suspect rice as one of Colin’s food triggers. No more rice milk for me. So until we are sure about rice being safe or he hopefully grows out of this, I’ll keep this recipe filed away to make some day in the future. Until then, I’ll have to share a scoop with the sandman.
Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream
2 cups rice milk- I used Rice Dream Vanilla
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or corn starch
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen (defrosted)
Pour 1 ¾ cups rice milk into a medium sauce pot and heat over medium- high until it begins to simmer. In a small bowl thoroughly mix the remaining ¼ cup rice milk with the arrowroot starch or cornstarch. Stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering rice milk. Cook for a few minutes until the rice milk has slightly thickened. Keep the milk at a low simmer so it is ready for the next step.
Meanwhile in a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. I used a wire whisk and beat it like crazy for about two minutes. A stand mixer would also work for this step and would save your arms. Now slowly pour the hot thickened rice milk into the whipped egg yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. As the egg mixture warms up you can increase the amount of hot rice milk you are adding in and continue until all the rice milk is incorporated into the egg mixture. The reason for the slow mixing process is you don’t want to make scrambled eggs by heating the eggs too fast. However, if any small lumps do form, you can strain the mixture at the end.
Place the egg and milk mixture back in the pot and cook on medium, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F). I do check mine with a thermometer to make sure the eggs are cooked.
Immediately take the custard off the heat but continue to stir it for a few minutes so it does not overcook. If you have lumps in the custard now is the time to pour the mixture through a strainer. If you don’t see any lumps, no need to strain. Now stir in the vanilla extract and the strawberry sauce (puree). I let it cool and then put it in a ziplock bag and chill thoroughly. Once it is cold you are ready to process it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer.