Friday, July 4, 2008

Ice Cream at Miss Hinda's

*I'm taking a holiday from writing today and instead am republishing a post from last July. It will give you a taste of what I'm doing Friday and a bonus recipe to boot. We won't have any big fireworks though, because our favorite Tennessee stand is shut down this year. Funny, as I read through this old post I realized I'm already having some of the same thoughts about summer's fast pace as I did last year. I hope you have a great 4th!

I can’t believe the 4th of July has already come and gone. The summer is flying by. It’s not fair that my favorite season seems so short. I love the heat and the sun. I’m even okay with the humidity. I’m just weird that way. Everybody loves autumn, but it makes me sad; sad that it will be another eight months before the long, hot days roll around again. Like I said, I’m weird that way. There are only so many flip-flop days in the year, so I’m trying to savor each one between now and October.

We spent Independence Day the same way we spend it every year, swimming, grilling and lighting fireworks. We skip the traffic and crowds and do it all at home. Our celebration hasn’t changed in ten years, probably because no one has lost a finger or eye yet with those illegal fireworks we get in Tennessee. We’re sticklers about our 4th of July routine. We always spend several hours in the pool. We always grill in the late afternoon, and we always shoot off fireworks. Most importantly, we ALWAYS make homemade ice cream, and we ALWAYS use Hubby’s grandmother’s recipe. Our love for Miss Hinda’s ice cream recipe is probably more sentimental than anything, but we think it’s the best. That plain old vanilla ice cream freezes the tongue and warms the heart because it brings back lots of great memories for Hubby and his family. Whenever we eat it, they always share stories about making ice cream at Grandma’s. Miss Hinda loved homemade ice cream. Really she loved sweets of all kinds, but ice cream was her favorite. She made it in her old crank freezer, and the grand kids remember taking turns sitting on top of the freezer to keep it steady while one of the uncles turned the handle. She always served it up in the same blue glasses and scraped the clumps off the dasher for herself. She was quite elderly when Hubby and I married, but I managed to get in on a few years of ice cream making at her house before she died.

When she started getting kind of feeble, we began fretting about preserving her recipe for her ice cream mix. She never wrote it down. When you asked her for it, she always said she just put in “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”. It took me two years of watching, wheedling tidbits of information from her and experimenting at home to come up with the recipe. I am going to share it with you here. Now, when you look at it, you’ll notice a couple of things. One…it has flour. That seems a little odd, but Miss Hinda said it added texture. I think she was right. Two….it includes raw eggs. At the Hula Girl house we eat homemade ice cream with raw eggs, and we like it that way. You can cook the mix if you like, but I don’t recommend it. It makes it taste too much like scrambled eggs. I know all the food safety folks say the eggs need to be cooked, but personally, I think that’s a crock of hooey. I’ve been eating raw cookie dough, cake mix and ice cream mix for years without getting sick. I’m sure one butt cheek clenching case of salmonella would change my mind, but until then I’m alright with the raw egg thing. The eggs should be medium sized, not large. Also, you may use any brand of vanilla you like, but Miss Hinda always swore by Watkins double strength. I think she was right on that one, too. I’ve tried other vanillas, and it’s just not the same. Don’t use 2% or skim milk, either. First of all, that’s just crazy. It’s ice cream for Pete’s Sake! It’s not supposed to be healthy. Secondly, it just won’t taste good. My family gets excited because there is usually a little whole milk left over, and it’s the only time they get anything other than skim. They like it when the whole milk gods shine upon them. Occasionally, I have substituted a half pint of cream for some of the milk in this recipe. It gives it an even smoother texture, but it takes longer to churn.

This recipe will make enough for a small freezer. If you have the honkin’ big White Mountain freezer like we do, you’ll need to make 1 ½ times this recipe. When she was eating this ice cream, Miss Hinda always said it made her eyeballs freeze. I don’t have a remedy for that, but I think this stuff is worth freezing your eyeballs for.

Miss Hinda’s Ice Cream
5 medium eggs
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Watkins vanilla
Whole milk

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla with enough milk to blend. Transfer mixture to the freezer tub. Add more milk until it reaches the fill line and stir thoroughly. Add the dasher, seal and turn in ice cream freezer until firm. At this point you have two options. You can either transfer the tub to a regular freezer for another hour or so to firm it up even more, OR you can go ahead and eat it, but you’ll need to eat it fast because it melts quickly. We usually pick option #2.


Jason said...

I love your 4th of July tradition. It sounds blissfully perfect, right down to the ice cream at the end.

Arkansas Songbird said...

That is an unusual ice cream recipe. Sounds delicious! My mom also uses eggs in her homemade ice cream and she never cooks the mixture. I got my granny's pumpkin pie recipe by watching her make it. She would change it sometimes, adding a bit more of this and a little less of that, but I finally got a reasonably accurate list of ingredients. My pie will never taste exactly like Granny's though. She grew and canned her own pumpkin.