This article was published in my old newsletter, Miss Mary’s Gazette, in July 2005. In the time since, the wooden barrel/bucket part of the White Mountain freezer has been used as a Christmas tree stand, a storage bin for potatoes, and most recently, as a waste paper basket. Needless to say, I’ve not attempted to make hand-crank ice cream since my first and only try. These days, I have the freezer bowl for my Kitchen aid mixer; and it’s been too long since I’ve used it.
Making Ice Cream the Hard Way, by an Old Crank
The White Mountain hand-crank ice cream freezer is an American classic, and after years of watching mine gather dust on top of the china cupboard, I can now say that I’ve successfully made a vintage ice cream recipe—the 1889 vanilla ice cream recipe by Alessandro Filippini.
My freezer is the six quart model, so I doubled the recipe, with the exception of the eggs—I used 9 yolks. Cooking up the ingredients was relatively painless.
Two bags of convenience store ice at the outrageous price of $1.79 each (thanks Dad!) and I was all set for the real fun.
I poured the cooled ice cream mixture into the cream can, already in the wooden tub, and set about assembling the can cover. No problem. And then …the gearframe! This is the device that, contains the gears that revolve inside the dasher (inside the can) with each turn of the crank; however, due to a defect or a design flaw, the gearframe would not sit on the dasher stem properly, and therefore, would not sit flush in the slots as described in the instructions.
After several frustrating moments involving every man in the house attempting to make the gearframe sit properly, I continued on, just holding on to the one end of the gearframe to keep the can from wobbling while cranking, although it was fairly steady once all of the ice and salt was packed in.
Ten minutes into working the crank in a hot kitchen and I came to the conclusion that I would need the help of another American classic.
Lager in one hand, crank in the other, I spent the next 30 minutes giving myself one heck of a workout.
The hardest thing, outside of the gearframe fiasco, was determining when the ice cream was ready (for packing, eating, or both!). According to the freezer’s directions, you’ll know when the ice cream is ready when the crank handle becomes difficult to turn. But was it only becoming difficult to turn because I was getting tired? A 10 year sedentary career in computers…need I say more?
I took a chance, removed the gearframe and cover, revealing the golden glow of my first batch of ice cream! The consistency of thick soft serve, creamy, rich and sweet; I packed most of it into a square half-gallon ice cream mold and served up what remained to the mooches in the house. Had I not run out of ice, I would have allowed the ice cream to harden in the traditional way, by placing the mold back in the icy brine, covering all with a blanket; but it was getting late.
The taste was sweet, almost too sweet for my taste, although my Dad thought it was great. The whole vanilla bean that I used made all the difference, I think. He suggested that I break up the bean the next time and keep it in the mix.
Next time? Not without a motorized gearframe!
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