It’s officially Summer now, although here in North Texas we’ve been having temps in the 90s for several weeks. This time of year, home-made ice cream is a scrumptious way to help beat the heat.
Ice cream has been around for at least several hundred years, although until the 20th century, ice cream was considered a luxury due to the expense of ingredients (namely sugar) and the ice needed to make the ice cream. In my reading of antique cookbooks, some of which were written in the 1700s, I was surprised to see a good number of “receipts” for frozen treats. Considering that it was mostly the wealthier people who were able to indulge in these treats, I thought it odd that they would have so many recipes for ice creams, puddings, and other frozen goodies. I guess they were a lot like us today – there are always more dessert recipes in cookbooks than other things. Some of these antique cookbooks describe ice cream freezers of the time, including measurements for ice cream freezer size to ensure enough ice around the bowl that the ice cream mixture was in.
Recently I was excited to find an article on “modern” ice cream written in the May 1860 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine. It seems that the invention of the modern ice cream freezer in the 1800s made a significant difference in the texture of frozen treats – taking the texture from grainy to smooth. I found it especially fascinating that the accompanying sketch of the modern 19th century “Cream Freezer” looks like it could have been manufactured today. Click on the photos to enlarge them and the article and accompanying ice cream recipes.
Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, May 1860 edition with a sketch of the modern “Cream Freezer”.
Check out the highlighted recipes for 1860s version of “modern” ice cream recipes.
The first ice cream recipe that we’ve tried from antique cookbooks is from an early 20th century book. The marshmallow flavor was quite appealing, since I had no idea what to expect from it when turned into an ice cream treat. Another plus was that because it was from the early 1900s, the recipe actually had quantities of ingredients listed, instead of some of the more vague recipe instructions that are often found in cookbooks of the early 1800s and before. We’ve tried this recipe twice now, once using the hand crank on our ice cream churn and once using the electric motor. Both times it turned out delicious. It’s definitely an ice cream receipt that we’ll use again.
Frozen Marshmallow Pudding
Place in a saucepan two and one-half cups of milk, four tablespoons of cornstarch.
Stir until dissolved and then bring to a boil and cook slowly for five minutes.
Now add two well-beaten eggs, one cup of sugar, one cup of marshmallow whip.
Stir until well blended and then cool. Freeze, using a mixture of three parts ice to one part salt. Let stand for one and one-half hours to ripen.
Mrs. Wilson’s Cook Book – Numerous New Recipes Based on Present Economic Conditions by Mrs. Mary A Wilson; Third Printing, copyright 1920 by J.B. Lippincott Company
Tips: Make sure you get the corn starch lumps smoothed out and keep the heat on low while stirring frequently, if not constantly, to avoid burning the mixture or having small lumps in your ice cream. You don’t have to bother measuring the marshmallow “whip” since it’s kinda messy – just put in the entire 7 ounce container of marshmallow cream.
If you are concerned about eating eggs that are not well cooked, you can try using pasteurized eggs/egg products. Since we use eggs from our own chickens and have healthy immune systems, we don’t worry as much about using eggs that are not cooked for a long length of time. You may be able to add the eggs sooner and cook the mixture longer, but make sure to do so carefully so as not to change the flavor/texture of the mixture.
For more info on ice cream history, check out this article about folks who know about historical ice cream – the people who make it every day at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring10/icecream.cfm