The Washington Post

Free Range on Food: The new M.E. Swing and ice cream. Lots of ice cream.

Jul 03, 2013

Special guest David Lebovitz, blogger and author of "The Perfect Scoop," joins us to talk about ice cream. Our ice cream issue this week includes a full-page ice cream graphic on how to make your own, a profile of two new ice cream sandwich businesses and an ice cream sandwich taste test.
Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your burning culinary questions.
Past Free Range on Food chats

Greetings, all, and welcome to today's chat! Today's section gives you lots of ice cream inspiration (a graphic full of ideas, Becky's piece about IC sandwiches on wheels, our taste test of IC sandwiches around town, and more), so we're here with special guest David Lebovitz, blogger extraordinaire and author of "The Perfect Scoop," to help handle any and all your icy questions.

To tempt you, we'll have two books to give away to the chatters with our favorite questions: "Ice Cream Sandwiches" by Donna Egan, and the fabulous "Washington Post Cookbook" (signed, even).

Let's get started!

Do you still have to cook ice cream mixture if using a water soluble sweetener substitution like Agave nectar?

Ice cream mixtures don't always have to be cooked (as in Philadelphia-style ice creams) and sometimes cooked mixtures, if you use honey, they can curdle. Am not sure about agave but it depends on the recipe. In general, if it's an egg-based recipe, it should be cooked.

Hi David! I'm a big fan, been reading your blog and following you in Twitter for several years! My question is...when making chocolate chip/chunk ice cream, what's the best chocolate to use? Bittersweet? Semisweet? Thank you!!! Jan

In the US, semisweet and bittersweet are interchangable terms - so use whatever tastes best to you. Go for a strongly flavored chocolate for chunks - I prefer to chop my own chocolate block up rather than use pre-made chips. Because I'm like that : )

DYING to make my own ice cream. I have a KitchenAid stand mixer. If you had to choose between the KitchenAid attachment or a standalone ice cream maker, which would you choose and why?

Hi there - I haven't used the stand mixer attachment because the European stand mixer for KitchenAid is different than the US version and since switching to a machine with a built-in compressor, I haven't had to try the other kinds of machines.

I have a stand mixer, which I love, but here's the thing: Because I don't have enough counter space to have it out all the time, I have it tucked away, which means ... I don't use it as much as I probably would otherwise. So I have a separate maker (Cuisinart, which I like). If I were making lots of ice cream all the time, I might invest in one of those models with a built-in freezer. Covet those.

Dear Mr. Lebovitz, As a well reknown author who knows everything about ice cream or nearly, may I challenge you on one of the best ice cream ever taste which brings you tears in your eyes as it makes you go to heaven. Where? Try L'Amoire A Glace in Montreal, Canada. Will the US/Canada border make you stop in your quest for the best ice cream and gelato? Thank you even though you won't answer my question.

I'm dying to get back to Montreal, especially since the fellows at Joe Beef keep inviting me. Will put that on my list when I make it back there - thanks!

A question for David... Any suggestions on how to approach a high bush cranberry ice cream? We tried subbing them into your cranberry sorbet recipe from your blog with good results. But we are interested in doing an ice cream (custard or no-cook base) with highbush cranberries (Viburnum edule). They're unrelated to and taste different from "normal" cranberries/lingonberries, with a less tart taste and more complex, almost musky flavor. Otherwise they are pretty similar to low bush cranberries in terms of how they cook up. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

Hmmm.. am afraid I don't know what high bush cranberries are. I live in France and we've just started getting cranberries, and only around the holidays. Broadly speaking, you could make a vanilla ice cream then make your cranberry puree, sweetening the puree with about 25% of volume with sugar (ie: If you have 1 cups of puree, use 1/4 cup sugar) and add that puree to the ice cream base, to taste. Happy scooping!

I love Perfect scoop cookbook and I make ice cream a lot. Which means I have loads of egg whites with no use. I was thinking about buying just yolks, but I can buy only pasteurized yolks here. Does it change "formula" of your recipes, or shoud I pasteriuze the eggs again?

I've not used pasteurized eggs so can't really say I'm afraid. But I am pretty sure they are interchangable with regular eggs in ice cream recipes. Perhaps check the manufacturer's (or the company that sells the eggs) instructions and see what they have to say.

Do you have a base recipe you use when experimenting with different flavors?

Did you see our ice cream graphic? We have several base recipes in there!

Hey, drinkers -- new Spirits columnist Carrie Allan is with us, so if you have cocktail q's, fire away!

I am looking for a white wine, light, fruity, sparkly. I have recently discovered moscato which I really like. I have been told it's a dessert wine, so can not serve it with fish? What would you recommend for me to try that's cheap and cheerful? Thanks!

Our wine guy, Dave McIntyre, says:

I like moscato with breakfast - it's great with blueberry pancakes. No reason not to have it with fish, especially something with tropical flavors such as mango. For a drier bubbly, I'm recommending a Cava from Spain next week that is on the fruity side. Get some Celler del Mingo Cava before the rush!

I was watching Live! with Kelly and Michael on Tuesday and they had a juicing segment. In one of the demos they used a blender instead of a juicer and it got me to wondering about the differences between my blender and food processor. I used to use my blender all the time to puree the baby food, chop stuff occasionally and to make the rare smoothie. Then I got the processor and have put the blender away. Is there really any benefit to using the blender over the food processor unless you're making a smoothie? And is juicing really as healthy from the blender if you're straining all the skin etc that remains from the blending? If it matters, I have a Kitchen Aid blender nothing fancy like a Vitamix! Thanks :)

A blender makes things frothier than a food processor, adding more air to it, so if that's what you're going for, that's the best thing to use. As for juicing, that's a good question -- generally it's more healthful to eat the whole fruit/vegetable indeed rather than just the juice; a blender like a Vitamix pulverizes things so completely that there's really nothing left to strain out (although you have to be careful to clean stuff very well, or you'll have grit, as I discovered when I tried to "juice" beets in the Vitamix once). If you're interested in juice particularly, I've read good things about these "slow juicers," which crush the food and supposedly give you more nutrients -- and more juice -- than other juicers.

Hi, I would like to avoid usage of gelatine / eggs in ice creams. What should we substitute eggs with?

You can make egg-free ice cream by using a Philadelphia-style ice cream. Also Jeni Bauer of Jeni's ice cream in Ohio wrote a book about her ice creams, which have no eggs in them that you might want to check out.

I have trouble with milk-based ice-cream. It is almost always icy, not creamy. I want to improve my results. I do have the book and read it often :)

Milk has a lot of water in it (and less fat than cream) so ice cream made with just that will be icy, or icier (or is that icyer?) Anyways, I recommend using milk and cream together or half-and-half and not all whole milk...unless you want an icy ice cream, which is sometimes pretty good.

Could you help me come up with something easy and festive to take to an all-day July 4th party? I need to be able to make it tonight, and it should be able to go without refrigeration for a few hours. Also toddler-friendly. Preferably dessert. I can swing by the grocery store for ingredients. I'm a pretty good cook. Thanks!

You could make these Individual Fruit Cobblers with in-season blueberries or raspberries, and they'd look pretty festive.

Individual Fruit Cobblers

Or you can round up some red, white and blue M&Ms for M&M Bars.

M&M Bars

I just wanted to share my favorite bbq recipes on this soppy, rainy day, as it is supposed to be sunny and perfect for 4th of July tomorrow. The key is to let them sit overnight in the spice rub/marinade. So buy your ingredients today and you will have happy campers tomorrow. By the way, any of these recipes can be made in a cast iron grill in the kitchen too. Grilled Tumeric Chicken and Savory Shrimp Fajitas


I'm considering making a crack pie (actually makes 2) that calls for 8 egg yolks. What can I do with all of the leftover egg whites?

Tons! Check out my blog post from the other year, which breaks down recipes by the number of egg whites they use.


What are you favorite tempeh recipes? I have been cooking with tofu for years but just getting into temeph recently. This weekend I got some smokey tempeh strips from whole food and made homemade pizza- smokey tempeh, broccoli, red onions, bbq sauce, and pepperjack cheese! Delicious! heped fulfill the cravings I always have watching meat eaters eat bbq pizzas! Thanks!

Try this Tempeh Hoagie-letta from our former colleague Kim O'Donnel.

Tempeh Hoagie-letta

I use it in this Smoky Cabbage and Udon Slaw. (Pan-frying and then glazing it in soy or teriyaki is a favorite technique.)

I just got the Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment for a wedding present and we are excited to try it! A lot of the recipes I have seen are really high calorie/high fat, which is something I try to limit. Do you have any waistline friendly recipes that use skim or 2% milk and still taste good?

It's hard to use just milk in "ice cream" recipes because they can, indeed, be icy. I would stick with sorbets or some of the recipes that just use milk, like the Blanco y Negro (Black and White) in my book Ready for Dessert, which uses milk and has hot coffee poured over it. Yum!

I made fresh mint ice cream last week, and flavor is wonderful. BUT. The metal piece for my ice cream freezer hadn't had the chance to completely freeze, which I didn't realize until it was too late. I ended up just pouring the not-yet-frozen ice cream into a container and sticking it in the too-packed freezer, and now just try to ignore its iciness when eating it. Is there anything else I could have done--aside from refreezing the metal canister and waiting a few days-- to fix the situation?

Am not sure what metal piece that is, or was, but you can sometimes melt down ice cream and rechurn it if it's icy like that. Although ya gotta wait another day to let the machine rechill...unfortunately!

Hi David- a big fan and I love your books and blog! What are your top few favorite ice cream parlors in Paris right now? We'll be going there next week on our honeymoon!

I like Mister Ice Cream, which is way up in the 17th, in the middle of nowhere. Also Pozzetto has amazing gelato in the Marais. I'd skip the more famous gelato place, that has longer lines - Pozzetto is better (and get a Portuguese tart at the little shop just down the street, too!)

Help! The zucchinis and cucumbers are taking over my garden and my kitchen. Can you suggest some ways to use them up? I've done pickles and cucumber salads. I've made zucchini fritters, muffins, chocolate cake, and grilled zucchini. My neighbors won't open their doors when I knock anymore, so giving them away is less of an option than it used to be. I only planted one plant of each. I guess they really like all this rain. Thanks!

Do you have any advice about how to make muffins rise like the big puffy ones you can buy. I bake healthy and have just made a delicious morning glory muffin recipe. The have one egg, 2 tsp baking soda, one of baking powder, mashed banana, yoghurt, whole wheat and white flour, oatmeal, carrots, apricots, nuts and coconut. They are wonderfully moist (with no shortening), but only about 1 and 1/2 inches high. Is this always true of homemade muffins, that they're not as high as commercial ones?

I've seen some recipes call for preheating the oven to a temperature higher than the baking temperature and then lowering it immediately after you put in the muffins. The initial blast of heat will help get that high top. I've tried a King Arthur recipe that goes from 500 degrees to 400 degrees. I don't know what temperature you're baking these muffins at, but you could play around with the hotter preheat.

It also sounds like your muffin batter could be pretty wet and heavy, which might make it tougher to get a big rise. Do make sure your leaveners are still potent.

Hello! I desperately want to make ice cream, but I would like to make a lower-fat version. Do you have any tips? Can you just use a 2 percent milk, or something similar? Also, if you were to make frozen yogurt- what kind of yogurt should you use? Thank you!

If you use lowfat milk exclusively, your ice cream is going to taste like frozen water unfortunately. To reduce fat, better to use lowfat sour cream, which has a better texture. Ditto with yogurt, I rec'd using full-fat varieties..and eating a bit less to cut back on fat/calories.

do recipes count toward the 20-article limit?

I believe so, yes. And they are worth it.

What's the difference between ice cream and gelato?

Your question is answered in our graphic!

Basically, gelato is denser, but read more for the rest.

Had dinner last night at Annapolis Smokehouse & Tavern - relative newcomer and was pretty impressed with the pork ribs & brisket (pulled pork less so). House-made bacon also good; pulled pork pierogi an interesting idea for an app (pulled pork and mashed potatoes inside) but the dough was awfully thick. Still, worthwhile eating in an area that (to me!) lacks it overall.

We will let him know!

I've asked a riff on this question before, but what model is your ice cream maker? What are the benefits of a bowl you have to freeze before use, or a machine where that isn't necessary? What is the difference between the various types of machines and the effect those differences have on the end result?

I have a Cuisinart ICE-50 Maker, which I really like, although they have a newer model which I haven't tried. They are great machines since you don't need to prechill the canister - just pour and freeze! But they are more of an investment, although mine has paid ice cream : )

I've heard that using cornstarch helps stabilize the product and prevents icing. So the base uses less cream. Could you explain and confirm/deny?

Yes, the use of cornstarch acts to absorb some of the liquid in the ice cream and makes it a bit smoother. I have a recipe in The Perfect Scoop for an ice cream made that way that was inspired by an Italian ice cream maker.

I am suddenly having ankle surgery in a week, will be on crutches and won't be able to bear weight at all for several weeks which means no cooking. My husband has a 3 dish repertoire (Italian sausages, salmon burgers, his Italian mother's risotto or ditalini (which is little pasta/rice, butter and chicken livers UGH.) He might be able to make a meatloaf or tacos, but I seriously don't like to eat a lot of meats, cheeses or pasta, or delivered pizza. I am on Weight Watchers so I don't want to crush my weight loss success on stuff like that, especially when unable to exercise. I also don't think I'll be in the frame of mind to give cooking lessons. (Bad planning on my part all these years.) What can I freeze ahead that is lower fat, and Dear Husband can pop into the oven? Is there anything other that pasta that works well? Do I prebake something like a veggie lasagna (or any casserole,) and then thaw before baking? What about something like low fat chicken enchiladas? How about hearty soups? Can I marinate chicken breasts, then freeze for cooking, or is it better to cook, then freeze? I confess I have never frozen anything like complete or nearly complete dinners so I am at a loss. I don't know whether to pre-cook and thaw for cooking, or reheating, or freeze stuff before cocking (then do I thaw or not?) Any other ideas or sources I can turn to to get a healthy, home-cooked dinner? Help?

Check out our Make It, Freeze It, Take It collection. Some are probably heavier than you want, but ones that might work:

Californian Chicken 

Chicken With Rosemary and Lime

Chicken With Rosemary and Lime

Chunky Tomato Mushroom Sauce

Chunky Tomato Mushroom Sauce

Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo and Cilantro Soup

Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo and Cilantro Soup

What are some really good ice cream sources in NW DC?

Do you count gelato? (I do.) Pitango and Dolcezza are both excellent. And even though Moorenko's doesn't have a shop in NW (you have to go to Silver Spring for that), you can buy its great ice cream at lots of places in DC.

Oh, and you really have to get to Cork Market for that ice cream sandwich we rave about today. It's stellar.

And then there's the ice cream sandwiches on wheels Becky wrote about today. CreamCycle sandwiches are available at Bean & Bite (1152 15th St. NW) and Smucker Farms (2118 14th St. NW). Milk Cult sells their sandwiches before the NoMa Summer Screen on Wednesday nights at Third and L streets NE.

I'd love to make a chocolate granola to go over some homemade vanilla ice cream. Can granola be frozen? I make a granola with real maple syrup and some honey, but no egg whites. It's also very loose - I'm not a chunky/chewy granola fan. Thanks!

I assume you mean freezing the granola separately and not in the ice cream, right? If so, go for it. Just keep it in a freezer bag or other airtight packaging. Don't keep it around forever, though -- maybe a few months.

Free Rangers--I can't thank you enough for choosing me as the lucky winner of the River Cottage Veg cookbook a few weeks ago. I love it and am even having some success with my spouse who wouldn't consider a meal a meal without either animal protein or pasta.

Glad to hear you're liking the book! It's a new favorite of mine, too.

In paris, what are you favorite markets to buy fresh ingredients for making sorbet?

I usually go to the Marche d'Aligre, which is a great market in Paris. It's every day but Monday. Batignolles market is all producers (farmers) and has some lovely stuff too. Prices, of course, are higher (and it's a bit harder to get to, depending on where you live) but it's a nice market. But Aligre is the most fun, I think.

Paid subscriber trying to read a long article online, wanting to avoid clicking through many pages. How can I get a single-page view? I don't see a 'print' link. Please help! Thank you.

Click on the little printer icon on the left side of the page.

Happy 4th of July, Rangers! My fiance and I are adding bison burgers to our 4th of July menu. Is there anything different about bison that we should know before we grill them? Love the chats, and wishing you all a fun and safe holiday.

Generally speaking, bison is considered leaner than beef. But with ground bison, the manufacturer may have added fat to the grind. Check out the percentage of lean meat to fat on your ground bison. I hope it's at least 90-10 or, better yet, 80-20. If so, you can treat it like regular ground beef: Sear it first on both sides and then cook to your desired temperature; the cooking time should roughly correlate to your experiences with beef. But if it's leaner than those grinds, you'll want to be careful about grilling the meat over high heat. It will dry out fast. I've seen some recipes that incorporate pieces of cheese into the ground bison to fatten it up.

Some days my zucchini comes out lovely and caramelized and other days it is total mush and I can't save it. I always make it the same way: I quarter my zucchini then chop it, and saute in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt in a stainless steel pan. I would like my zucchini to come out relatively solid so I can stir it into couscous or pasta. Please help my technique.

The window between perfectly done and mush is pretty small when it comes to zucchini and summer squash, because of their high water content. Try cutting the zucchini in bigger pieces: Cut it in half lengthwise and then in 1/2-inch chunks. That'll give you more flexibility, I think. If you want it smaller then before you stir it into couscous or pasta, you can always cut it up further after you saute it.

Is commercial "slow-churned" ice cream like Edys usually lower-calorie because it's got more air in each scoop?

I never look at the calorie counts on things (except I did look at the two peanut butter-caramel chocolate bars someone just brought me from the US...and I shouldn't have!) but slow churning generally means less air, so it's more compact. That brand may have some ingredients that mimic what fat does, which is how they reduce calories.

I've often wondered how you go about picking the cookbooks featured in your weekly ariticles. Surely you're innudated with suggestions from publishers and agents! (Although I don't question featuring David Lebovitz. A year ago this week I was in Paris with my daughter and the apartment we rented had a copy of his Sweet Life in Paris. I read it during the week and thought it was a great companion for the week. Better than any guide book!)

It's simple: We cook! We get sent tons of books, yes, and Bonnie (who's on vacation today) keeps track of them, looking for recipe inspiration and ideas. I look for good veg ideas. If several recipes call out to us from a book, we'll make some dishes, and if our hit rate is high, we'll write about it!

I've experimented with booze and cocktails (usually in the form of a milkshake, Ted's Bulletin style), but Carrie, what kind of ice cream cocktail (?) would you make? And aside from the classic rum raisin, what is your perfect boozy ice cream?

Ooh ooh. I love this question. It makes me want to start experimenting immediately, especially since it's hot as a sea turtle's armpit in D.C. I'll be doing something on frozen cocktails for the next column, but as to ice cream cocktails ... I'd love to play with bourbon and a salted caramel shake -- or a banana ice cream with a beautiful dark rum like Gosling's. Or how about dipping homemade creamsicles in Campari?

It might also be fun to try some classic cocktail flavors in ice cream form -- say a mint julep sundae using a reduced bourbon syrup (or just straight bourbon if you want to keep the booze!) Or perhaps a Blood and Sand shake using a cherry sorbet, good vermouth/whiskey, and frozen OJ?  



So I'm jumping onto the almond milk kick as it tastes great in my cereal and has less guilt. It is not as fabulous in tea and coffee because it isn't creamy. I was just wondering if it is as beneficial as I've heard it toted. And more importantly, can it be a substitute for milk in baking, such as in your individual fruit cobblers?

I like nut milks, although I don't bake with them. I would imagine you can use it for baking in those biscuits nicely!

Hi there! Thanks for the ice cream recipes! I have a question -- what happens to the texture and consistency of the ice cream base if you reduce the number of egg yolks?

Yolks provide richess and emulsify the ice cream. If you reduce them, you likely won't be as satisfied with the result. I generally try to use the minimum, which keeping the ice cream super-creamy and smooth.

What kind of ice cream do Parisians like the best? Are there any wildly popular chains or trends right now? Will they do ice cream floats?

There are no 'floats' for ice cream in Paris, but they tend to like single flavors, and not big mix-ups. One exception is Henri at Glazed, the ice cream truck. He's got some great flavors, although you have to track him down. But he's worth a look.

Do you have any tried and true recipe for ginger ice cream?

Yes, there is a White Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream on my blog that's yummy! It's also perfect with summer fruits...and cherries, and berries...

I once saw a spherical ice cream maker where the mixing is done by tossing the sphere back and forth in a game of catch. I love the idea of exercising off a few calories while preparing hundreds or thousands more for consumption. Any idea what this ice cream maker is called? Thanks!

Ah, yes, the ice cream maker ball. There's a model from YayLabs.

I don't know this term. The mention of Chemex makes me think it refers to pouring water over the ground coffee, but isn't that how most coffee is made, except for hour-glass shaped stove-top espresso makers that force water up through the grounds? What are "pour-over preparations?"

Pour-overs are single-cup brewing methods performed by trained baristas. They will take a precise amount of ground coffee (ground in a burr grinder only) and add it to a (typically moistened) filter that's placed in Hario V60 and Clever or some other contraption. The baritas will then take water heated to the exact right temperature and slowly add it to the grounds, allowing it to slowly drip through the grounds and into a cup placed under the pour-over device. The baristas know how to pour the water in a way that maximizes its contact with the grounds, so that it neither oversteeps or understeeps. When done right, the pour-over method produces an exquisite cup of coffee.

whats your favorite thing to do on Bastille day in paris! Merci!

I used to watch the parades with military tanks and so forth. But I think they stopped those because of budget cuts (although not sure..) so we drink rosé and eat aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) and hope for sunshine!

I also expect to be outdoors for many hours tomorrow with food in tow. What are the ingredients that should NOT be used? Mayonnaise comes to mind as something that can make one ill if left unrefrigerated, although I think butter is okay. How about cold cuts and pre-assembled sandwiches and salads? Hoping we all have a safe and happy 4th!

Mayo gets a bad rap when it comes to leaving things out at room temperature. The thing is, commercial mayonnaise has stabilizers in it and is actually relatively safe. (Homemade that includes raw eggs is of course another story.) In general, you want to keep food at room temperature for no longer than four hours. Things that get particularly dicey are meats, eggs, dairy products.

So jealous. My zucchini and eggplants are not growing. They flower and then the rains come and knock them off. Luckily, the tomatoes are doing well.

This has been a wet season, hasn't it? In the little community garden I've been helping with, we just harvested six zucchini the size of baseball bats. I'm not sure what people are doing with them...

I need to bring a side for a 4th BBQ tomorrow and I want to bring something new, creative, and safe for prolonged non-refrigerated time. Any favorites to pass along?

I have both a freezer canister model Cuisinart and the KitchenAid attachment bowl. I was wondering if it was worth it to upgrade to a compressor/no freeze model, and if so which one would you recommend? When I run my ice cream party, I am regularly making 20+ ice creams, sorbets and granitas, so anything that will speed up or smooth out the process would be awesome!

I am really happy with my built-in compressor model. it kind of changed my life so I advise getting it if you want to speed things up. Here's a few tips and a link to the one I have.

I covet this.

I am a little disapointed at how much commenters what to make ice cream be something it is not. Personally I have found that I eat far less high fat ice cream than I do low fat ice cream. A small taste of a highly satisfying food may be much better for you than a large serving of a low fat and less satisfying food.

Yes, usually people are disappointed with the results when using lower fat products. I watch what I eat but usually limit my portions if I can, rather than use things that won't yield a good result. Thanks for chiming in and adding your thoughts.

I liked your description of how to shape ice cream scoops into "quenelles" like restaurants do. Why do they do that, by the way? Just because they can or is it better somehow? (Frankly, I'm sticking with sphere scoops, which are easier and just as delicious).

Good question! I'd ask my chef friend, but he's traveling at the moment. The quenelle definitely does give it a more polished look -- and it may be that it's the shape that naturally comes out of using a bunch of spoons like they do rather than a regular round ice cream scoop.

I love your book, it's my go to book for ice cream. The others I just dabble in. I especially wanted to thank you for covering what to do if you accidentally overcook your ice cream mixture a bit (blender!) and for the bit about the melted chocolate for the very thin bits of chocolate that isn't in chunks.

So glad you like the book - it was really fun writing it and my neighbors were thrilled with all the ice cream !

I love chips and guac, but the chips are not doing me any favors. What else can I eat the guacamole with (in a snack format)? Thanks!

You mean, aside from bacon strips? (Insert winky face here.)


Some people like vegetables such as baby carrots, zucchini sticks and cauliflower. I don't know. I've never tried them. It sounds like something of a flavor clash to me. Have you tried baked chips or baked tortilla chips? Less fat but still a salty vehicle for the creamy guac.

what's your favorite combination for ice cream and macarons?

Coffee, chocolate and caramel!

I've been making spiked ice cream lately from "Ice Cream Happy Hour". While some have barely any booze, some have up to 3/4 cup per quart. Vodka in a cranberry sherbet can pack quite a punch! I've got the custard base for chocolate martini ice cream in my fridge now. Yum.

If you feel like sharing those recipes, I know I'd be interested! I'm hoping to play around with boozey popsicles later in the summer. Basically any form of a Negroni is OK by me.

Don't forget nasturtium leaves -- wonderfully peppery in a salad or pesto.

Very excited to be on the chat live (from NC) after years of reading the transcripts from Idaho, Germany, and Korea! I just received a Magic Bullet, brand new with all the attachments and cookbooks. Is this something that I want taking up space in my small kitchen? Would it replace the mini-food processor and blender?

My sister has one of these, and it's a pretty powerful blender -- not sure whether it can pulse enough to make something chunky and not super-pulverized, though, which a mini-food processor can do.

I can report, after (somewhat) rigorous scientific testing for my school science fair project that ice cream is out of this world creamy when using only heavy cream. At very least, use a recipe that has a mix of cream and milk. And for the love of all things frozen, DO NOT use skim milk or 2%, the resulting ice "cream" is all icy and separating and yucky.

Thanks for the report - !

Just wanted to give a giant thank you for creating this week's section just for me! How in the world did you guys know I just got an ice cream maker and was looking for good basic recipes that I could experiment with? Awesome! I do have one quick question, though - if I want to swirl fruit into my ice cream, what's the best way to do that? I saw on your chart it says to puree the fruit, but should I try cooking it with some sugar first if it's not terribly sweet? And should I add it in during the last few minutes or by hand after the machine is done churning? Thanks so much for the graphic, I'll definitely be using this.

Yeah, I like the idea of making a little sauce, especially if the fruit isn't sweet -- that way you also won't get rock-hard chunks of fruit. Jeni Britton Bauer suggests layering in the fruit as you put the ice cream into a container so you get pretty swirls. I've done that and liked the results.

We don't have an ice cream maker and it's not in our budget. I have found several other ways to make ice cream but wanted your opinion on this version of making the ice cream. Do you think this will work? I know Kitchen Aid has an ice cream maker attachment for their mixers but it's like $70 or so. I'd love to try to make homemade ice cream with my kids this summer!

I wrote a version of making ice cream on my site without a machine. But I do think those $45 machines work pretty well - although you're right, you need the space.

What about salads? Husband, I'm sure, can toss on a protein, chop up some veggies, add something interesting, and make a dressing. Well within WW guidelines. Also, egg white scrambles - add different veggie combos for variety.

Hi there, A good friend recently opened a business importing wines to the US. The wines are delicious, but not available in DC because they don't yet have a distributor here. Any suggestions on how to make that happen? I don't want to have to go to NYC to get it!

Seems like you or your friend could look for wines in DC that are in the same vein as the wines he/she is importing -- similar spirit, or similar size of winery, etc. -- and ask at retail who distributes them, and make the contact.

david: i've curdled my custard and it doesn't look pretty. How can this be recovered? Thank you

Let it cool down a bit, until it's not very hot, then blend it in a blender. Never fill a blender more than 1/2 full with hot liquid and always hold a towel over the top.

Hi David, do you have any recs on making coconut milk or almond milk ice creams or other alternative vegan versions? Need I have an ice cream maker for those? Also, do I need a mold of some kind to make my first ice cream cake?

I'll definitely let David jump in on this, but Bonnie tested some vegan varieties, and we have a recipe included in our graphic.

I did a vegan ice cream recipe for my site which worked well - I love coconut milk and have a recipe for Chocolate Coconut ice cream that uses it that is a favorite.  For ice cream cakes, you can use any metal pan; just make sure it's non-reactive or line it with plastic wrap before using.

My partner and I agree that the food section is easily the part of the Post that has continued to improve and thrive, even as other sections have lost their edge in the endless quest to cut costs. Congratulations to all of you! Tim's column on the Tabard Inn was an example of great "crossover" reporting. You all make the price of admission well worth it.

What a nice note! Thanks much.

I've had guacamole as dip with crudite and it's great. Also good on pita bread. And salad. Perhaps....someone should try making guacamole ice cream?

Pita bread could work, though I'd miss the crackle of a chip.

David - Thanks for doing this live chat! I was wondering if you've ever experimented with funkier and more esoteric flavors, e.g. corn on the cob? Also, have you made homemade cones before?

Yes, I did some "funky" flavors for my book, including Green pea and mustard ice cream. I have to say, I'm more of a traditionalist and like standard flavors, but like to jazz them up with sauces and other stuff. There is a recipe for homemade cones in The Perfect Scoop, which you can make without a machine.

Just bragging ... a couple of weeks ago, I made a killer rhubarb mixed berry ice cream. I am now SOLD on the idea of cooking down the fruit with some sugar, like a compote, because it keeps it softer in the final product. Also love me some egg in the base.


You know what I made recently? A rhubarb-ginger sorbet, accidentally. I made a rhubarb-ginger sauce, which I do every year when the rhubarb is in markets, and I mainly use it to coat fresh strawberries, but I didn't get through it within a few days, so I transferred it to the freezer in its glass container, and a week later when I went to check it, the texture was really nice. I think it's because of all the ginger and sugar, but it didn't freeze super-hard. I scarfed it down in one sitting.

other than your own cookbook, which is fabulous, what is your favorite ice cream cook book and why?

I like the Bi-Rite ice cream book as well - they're nice people and I like their shop in San Francisco.

Try this recipe--my meat eater spouse was groaning at how good it was.

I'm on it.

I was wondering if anybody has ever baked veggie burgers, chopped them up, and thrown them into a dish?

I'm sure someone has done just about everything. The more pertinent question might be: Why?

what are the most underrated and overrated ice cream restaurants in paris? (looking for somewhere near the left bank (eiffel tower, rue cler, musee d'orsay, notre dame side) Thank you!

I list my favorite ice cream shops and pastry shops in my Paris Pastry App. I do like Berthillon, in spite of the miniature scoops - I mentioned a few others I like previously, but the chocolate at A la Mère de Famille is underrated - and is great.

On rue Cler is Martine Lambert, which is also excellent

I find it makes a huge difference if you buy excellent quality, organic cream. I made some vanilla last week with organic cream and milk from Whole Foods, and it is so rich is almost yellow. It is insanely good. The cream reminded me of Irish butter--really thick and creamy and high in fat. (the recipe was 2 cups cream, one milk, 1 cup sugar (I added less), and 1 vanilla bean.)

It's really hard to get good heavy cream nowadays, even in France! So it's worth check at greenmarkets and it does make very good ice cream. So does crème fraîche!

Hahaha, never heard that before, hope to quote it soon, curious as to origin (although obviously it's a non-food question, unless you cooked the turtle.)

And now you know why I roped Carrie in to write for Food.

I'm happy to report that the origin is my terrible brain, and not any actual unsavory practice involving sea turtles.

See what I mean? ;-)

I've seen the Vitamix infomercial and have seen them make ice cream... have you done this? Does it work well?

I haven't seen that as we don't have Vitamix machines in Europe - or at least I haven't seen them.

I've done it with mine. It's a cool parlor trick -- you combine frozen fruit and cream/milk, and the blender emulsifies it so quickly and completely that it makes an instant ice cream. Well, "ice cream." I use the quote marks cause it certainly doesn't have that freshly churned flavor. You also have to act quickly, and remove it as soon as it's formed, because if you leave the blender on, the friction starts to heat it up and melt the ice cream. I mean "ice cream."

On the other extreme, you can also use that heat/friction in the Vitamix to make soup. I mean "soup."

Hi, Loved the article on ice cream sandwiches. We've been recreating fancier versions of our beloved chipwiches by pairing the vanilla custard recipe from The Perfect Scoop with our rich and buttery chocolate chip cookies and rolling the edges of the "chipwiches" in Ghirardelli's mini chocolate chips. The cookies are super-hard when they come out of the freezer though--any tips for modifying the cookie part to be a little softer? We'd rather not go the butter cookie route mentioned in the ice cream sandwich article. Thanks!

I think we can probably trust the chocolate chip ice cream sandwich cookies recipe in David's book! Send me an e-mail ( and I'll get it to you.

Is semi-fredo the only possibility for a house without an ice-cream machine? I just don't have the freezer space to store the bowl.

You can do the stir-and-freeze method of making ice cream without a machine.

Which do you prefer - ice cream or gelato? Why? Which do you think is capable of packing the most flavor?

I'm a fan of both. I like some gelati, but some aren't all that good - always look for one that uses fresh ingredients and is made without a mix. Even in Italy, some say they do but you can see the cans in the back if you look  -

My brain refuses to answer this question: When calibrating my thermometer do I have to make any adjustment for high altitude? I'm at 2000 ft. and water comes to a full rolling boil here at about 215 degrees F. So, when calibrating my thermometer, can I assume it's correct if I see 215/216 when in boiling water? Question came up when I was showing someone how to waterbath can pickle relish. When I explained about adding time because of our altitude, she asked me about testing the thermometers and my brain wouldn't work. THX!

Well, something is off here, because the higher the altitude, the lower the boiling point. Your water should be boiling at around 208 degrees F, according to Engineering Tool Box. Do you have another thermometer to do a comparison?

Hi David, what do we substitute eggs for in a recipe that calls for eggs? Your fan from India :)

Some folks use cornstarch as a swap out for eggs. You need to cook the ice cream mixture until it thickens.

I have and like my Magic bullet, but I don't think it's strong enough to replace my food processor or blender. Plus, the whole "10 seconds or less" thing is a crock. I've never had ANYTHING I made in the Bullet take fewer than 10 seconds. But it gets the job done and is easier to clean than a blender/processor.

All the time -- in tomato-ey spaghetti sauce, or a Bolognese.

Well, there you go.

Whenever I see a photo of that, am I the only one who wonders if that might be healthier if it had less marbling? Is marbling good/bad for you?

Well, for years now, we have thought that saturated fat and cholesterol, the twin engines of evil in red meat, were going to be our downfall. But recent research is casting doubt on that.

I think you've mentioned a place in DC that sells kitchen goods at a discount, and since it's wedding and wedding-gift season, I'd be very thankful to have the name again! While I'd love to stock everyone's dream kitchen with the $350 KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixers and $140-150 Le Creuset frying pans and bakeware on the bridal registries that have been shared with me, with multiple weddings coming up, I can't buy them retail and pay the rent. Thanks so much!

Hmm. Not ringing a bell, but maybe it's something that Bonnie has mentioned that I'm forgetting. I often see Le Creuset stuff at a deep discount at Marshall's and TJ Maxx.  LC has outlets in Leesburg and Williamsburg. And you can look for refurbished stand mixers at KitchenAid's online outlet store.

I just wanted to say thank you to David for the transformative chocolate ice cream recipe in his book. Made it for the first time last week and it is seriously the best thing I've ever made in a lifetime of making delicious things. After begging for a new batch of ice cream every day for the past week, my husband ordered me an ICE-100 so we don't have to wait 24 hours for the canister to freeze before making more ice cream. We love you and hope to join you on a chocolate and cheese tour in the next few years!

Glad you like the book - see you in Paris! : )

I love that you included herbs and spices on your chart. Saffron, pink peppercorn, basil, and cinnamon each make a great ice cream. In Central PA one of the most popular flavors is artificually pink colored "teaberry", which is a wintergreen and it is lovely. One group of add-ins missing from your chart is teas, such as green tea or earl grey.

Glad you liked the chart. You can treat tea pretty much the same as those other steep and strain add-ins. I've been meaning to try this in an attempt to make a chai ice cream!

For too much zucchini, every year I make tons of zucchini relish using Cathy Barrow's recipe for sweet pickle relish and give as gifts. I no longer have to buy my zucchini because people give it to me with their jars from last year for refills. Recipe link is on Mrs. Wheelbarrow's site.

Check out restaurant supply houses. You may need a commercial license to get into some of them, but poke around the market area off Florida ave. Pick up some Italian food from A. Littieri while you're there.

I've got a LOT of mint in the garden. Perhaps the poster who mentioned fresh mint ice cream would share the recipe? Last year I tried infusing hot cream with the leaves, and the ice cream was OK, but the flavor was not very strong. I'm thinking of using mint-leaf puree but am afraid the texture would be off when frozen. Ideas?

Chatter, care to share?

But how long did you steep the mint leaves? I had the opposite problem last year. I made a batch that I probably steeped too long -- overnight? -- and it was way strong. I think a few hours is a happy medium. I concur with your doubts about the puree. I think you'd still get some unpalatable vegetal texture.

What we used to do in ancient times was partially freeze the ice cream mixture in metal pans, then beat it with the electric mixer, freeze and beat again. Finally freeze well covered and it will be much creamier. So, if you partially thaw your ice cream and beat it well with your electric mixer and freeze, maybe do this twice, you should have good results.

I used this technique when I tested the recipe we ran the other month for Strawberry-Rhubarb Sherbet. I was surprised by the excellent results!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sherbet

You just have to have chips. Sorry. The solution is to make your guacamole to chip ratio extremely high so you eat less chips. I also find eating baked chips helps, and sprinkling a little nooch on it also makes it delish!

I like the way you think!

I haven't done this with high-bush cranberries, but I cook the cranberries with sugar, lemon, vanilla and cinnamon to make a pie-like filling, and make an oatmeal strussel topping and mix both into a vanilla ice-cream base to make a cranberry-crumble ice cream. It's well loved in my house.

Sounds great.

A friend gave me a recipe that called for 300 grams flour, 200 grams butter, 100 grams sugar. Can you recommend a website that would convert that please?

I have my own conversions that I've worked on over the years but the Kitchen Pro app is really good. Don't know which site would have spot-on conversions, but it is nice to have a kitchen scale for tasks like these. I love my scale!

Chat schedule mentions the new M. E. Swing-did I miss it? I'm a big fan.

Tim wrote a fantastic piece about them today. We certainly could have handled coffee q's, too, but only got one! (And now yours.)

According to a cartoon I clipped from the Post a few years back to post on the 'fridge door, "The first written account of ice cream in America was in 1744 when Barbara Jansen, wife of Maryland's governor Sir Thomas Bladen, served it to her dinner guests in Annapolis." Thought you'd like to know!

That is apparently true! And according to food historian Karen Hess (once a mentor to cookbook author John Martin Taylor/Hoppin' John, a former Washingtonian), the first ice cream recipe in America came much later.

I use the Perfect Scoop method (from the coffee ice creams if I remember correctly), which in general is heat milk and sugar until just steaming and then add tea and steep in the fridge overnight (or an hour at room temperature). I've used this method with Earl Grey and Lapsang, and used them for mochi.

Well, there you go!

What is this "nooch" that the reader puts on tortilla chips?

Nutritional yeast!

I like to steep whole mint leaves/stems in with the sugar and sliced fruit ... mint and peach ... mint and wild raspberry ... it infuses the fruit and sugar syrup and is a nice undertone. (forgot to mention -- I put ginger in my rhubarb compote turned ice cream too!)

I love Larry's ice cream at Dupont circle for all of his spiked ice cream flavors. MY question is how does it freeze with the alcohol in it? Or is the alcohol cooked off when boiling the custard?

If the alcohol is added pre-custard boil, then the ice cream is getting the flavor of the booze but not the alcohol. The lower the alcohol proof, the higher the freezing point. 

I've seen some bartenders playing around with dilutions of liqueurs to get them to a freezing point. The best I've tried so far is Jeff Faile's Campari ice. He has a cocktail where it gradually melts into the drink, so the drink changes as it sits -- and not in the annoying way that ice usually dilutes a cocktail.

Well, you've processed us according to the manufacturer's directions, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's today, and many thanks to the great and powerful Oz -- I mean, David Lebovitz -- for helping us answer them!

And now, for our cookbook giveaways: The chatter who said "Ice cream = cream" will get "Ice Cream Sandwiches." And the one who asked about zucchini-bounty recipes will get "The Washington Post Cookbook." Send your mailing info to Becky at, and we'll get you your books.

Until next time, happy churning, scooping, and reading!

Thanks to the staff at the Washington Post food section for inviting me.

Hope you all have a good summer...and happy churning!

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is editor of the Food section; joining us today are staff writer Tim Carman, Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin, Spirits columnist Carrie Allan and editorial aide Becky Krystal. Guest: blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz.
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