Wednesday, June 20, 2007


From Wikipedia: A eutectic or eutectic mixture is a mixture of two or more solid phases at a composition that has the lowest melting point, and where the phases simultaneously crystallise from molten liquid solution at this temperature.

Thass a lotta fitty-cent words. But all we have to know is that water ice and sodium chloride - good old table salt - form a eutectic mixture (at 23.3% salt) that freezes at -6°F (-21.2°C).

Who gives a shit? you say. Well, you do, if you’ve ever had to drive on ice-covered roads in the winter. Dump some rock salt on that ice, and suddenly its freezing point drops 38 degrees. Unless you’re in frickin’ Siberia, where -6°F is an average summer temperature, this will help melt the ice, possibly keeping you from racking up your brand-new Chevy Subdivision that uses enough gasoline to supply an entire third-world country or two.

And fatties everywhere also give a shit, for the ice-salt eutectic is what powers the humble Home Ice Cream Freezer. That, and a liberal application of elbow grease - or electricity, for lazy turds like Yours Truly.

Herewith another fine ice cream recipe. I happened to have a pile of apricots, and what with our impending departure for Destin, I did not want to eighty-six ’em. The solution: Make ice cream!

Apricot Ice Cream
Apricot Ice Cream, a happy result of the water-sodium chloride eutectic.

Apricot Ice Cream

1½ pounds fresh, ripe apricots
4½ tbsp water
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 cups whipping cream
9 egg yolks
1 tsp (approx.) vanilla extract
1 tbsp (approx.) kirsch

Pit the apricots and slice them up. Put the sliced apricots in a saucepan with the 4½ tbsp water and simmer until soft, 30-45 minutes. The water is there to prevent the fruit from sticking until it gets hot enough to release its juices.

Dump the apricots into a food processor, blender, or food mill, and purée thoroughly. Press the purée through a sieve and set aside.

In a non-reactive saucepan or double boiler, add the sugar to the cream. Heat on low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks to mix and then gradually whisk in the warm cream. Put the egg-sugar-cream mixture back in the saucepan or double boiler and cook until the mixture coats a spoon. (I recommend the double boiler; it makes it much more difficult to overcook the custard. You do not want scrambled eggs!)

Take the custard off the heat and whisk in the apricot purée. Add about a teaspoon of vanilla extract, more or less, to taste, along with about a tablespoon of kirsch. (I rummaged through my Lacquer Liquor Locker and found a bottle that I had brought back from Zug, Switzerland, back in 1989. Boo-yah!) Now put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours and chill thoroughly.

Time to get out that ice cream freezer again. Freeze the mixture according to the directions that came with your freezer...directions that will, like as not, involve the use of ice and salt. (Unless you have one of those fancy-ass jobs with its own built-in refrigeration unit. Yuppie scum.)

Now taste...and smile. That’s an ice cream you won’t ever see in any stoopidmarket: perfumed with the delicate flavor of one of the summer’s most subtle fruits. Don’t forget to lick the dasher!

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