I love making ice cream -- when it's freshly made, it's so much better than anything you can buy at the store, and it's really not that hard. My one complaint is that homemade ice cream does not keep very well, regardless of whether you are doing a custard-based ice cream or one that doesn't use eggs. By day two in the freezer, it starts to get icy and loses its texture (that's why most store-bought ice creams use a stabilizer like guar gum -- it helps keep the ice cream from turning rock hard and icy).
So I was intrigued when I read about the technique behind Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. It's a high-end ice cream store that started in Columbus, Ohio -- I've never actually eaten the ice cream, but have heard that it's really excellent. Jeni has a new cookbook out that includes her technique for making an ice cream base. Rather than using egg yolks, she relies on a combination of cornstarch and a few tablespoons of cream cheese in order to get that creamy mouthfeel (she also calls for boiling the milk and cream mixture). She claims that this method makes for much better storage.
I found this recipe for Jeni's basic vanilla online and decided to give it a try: I used it as the base for hot-fudge sundaes that I made for a small dinner party.
The ice cream was amazing the day that I churned it, but it did indeed keep its creamy texture in the freezer for several days (it was all gone by day four, so I can't speak to how it fares longer than that :). Jeni's book features all kinds of delicious-sounding flavors: salty caramel, bourbon pecan, darkest chocolate in the world -- you get the idea. And Orangette recently featured a lemon frozen yogurt with blueberrry stripe from the cookbook that I am eager to try. If you have an ice cream maker collecting dust, give this technique a try, as I think I've found my new keeper ice cream recipe!