Take Your Turn at the Churn
There are a lot of simple pleasures to be enjoyed on a windjammer cruise, not the least of which is boat-made ice cream. In keeping with the everything done fresh and by hand traditions of the fleet's galleys, ice cream on the windjammers is made in old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream churns. Making great ice cream requires team effort and a lot of fun.
Many wonder why we add salt to the ice. It's a constant question onboard. The concept of melting ice with salt is not new, of course; our roads, driveways, and sidewalks are kept bare in the winter through such a process. Adding salt to ice is a lessen in heat transfer. Carob Arnold, a crew member on the American Eagle for many years, explains the phenomenon in terms a non-scientific mind can easily grasp:
Making ice cream involves some very interesting food science. What we are trying to do is create a solid (sort of) from a liquid in a short period of time on a hot summer day. We do this by using a little molecular physics and some chemistry. In order for a liquid to change to a solid it needs to give up energy in the form of heat. The ice cream mixture has to lose energy in order to solidify. We force this transition by taking advantage of the interaction of salt and ice. Ice on its own would probably do the trick eventually but we would all be tired after a couple hours of cranking. The salt added to the ice forces the ice to melt by lowering the freezing point below 32 degrees. When this happens we are surrounding the metal ice cream canister with a brine solution that is liquid at 32 degrees. A liquid is much more effective at transferring heat than solid ice cubes so the canister is cooled rapidly. Remember that heat energy that I mentioned the ice cream has to lose to solidify? Here is where it went: Although the ice is being forced to melt by the chemical nature of salt, it still needs energy to convert from a solid to a liquid. That energy comes from the ice cream mixture in the canister. Nature is constantly trying to maintain equilibrium and making ice cream is no exception. — Carob Arnold.
Well, whatever the scientific reasons, we sure appreciate the result! Many people enjoy fond memories of hot summer days spent preparing the ice cream mix, loading the bucket with ice and salt, and cranking the freezer until the handle will no longer turn. Nothing beats the taste of sweet, cold, ice cream that you've helped churn into reality!
All of the following recipes make enough for one gallon of ice cream. The procedure is the same for all recipes: Beat eggs and sugar and vanilla. Add cream and milk. Pour into the metal canister of an old-fashioned ice cream maker. Insert dasher, attach lid, put into wooden ice cream bucket and assemble cranking apparatus. Pack ice and salt in layers around the metal canister. Crank until you can't crank anymore. Continually add ice and salt as brine drains from wooden bucket. Take turns churning and add the muscles of a couple of healthy deck hands to finish the job.
Isaac H. Evans Ice Cream
Captain Brenda Thomas of the Isaac H. Evans prefers vanilla ice cream with a smorgasbord of more than a dozen toppings laid out on the deck top so that shipmates can create their own sundaes.
6 cups sugar
4 Tbsp vanilla
2 qt. whipping cream
1 to 1½ qt. milk
Mocha Ice Cream on the Angelique:
3 cups sugar
2 qts heavy cream (or substitute ½ and ½ for low-fat)
1 to 1½ qts all-purpose cream (or substitute 1% milk for low-fat)
2 Tbsp vanilla
3-4 Tbsp instant coffee
5-6 Tbsp baker's cocoa powder
Ice Cream on the American Eagle often features add-ins:
8 to 10 eggs
4 cups sugar
2 ½ qts heavy cream
3 cups milk
2 Tbsp vanilla
When ice cream begins to stiffen and cranking starts to get hard, lift cover off of canister and add 2 to 3 cups berries, or chocolate chunks, or broken cookies, or toffee chips, or chopped candy bars. Return lid to canister and continue cranking for just a few more minutes. (Extra ingredients added to the mixture too soon will sink to the bottom.)
For more information on the Maine Windjammer Association, visit its website — www.sailmainecoast.com.