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Homemade ice cream in Switzerland proves to be life-changing for one chef

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: Jun 29, 2013

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We are officially one week into summer, and if there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with these hot, steamy months, it’s enjoying a scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor. It used to be back in the day that the jingle of the ice cream man making the rounds in his truck prompted the kids to hit the street to nab their cone, but with grocery store coolers, stocked year-round with a myriad of flavors and quality options, there’s no longer the wait for the ice cream man to come around. But one thing is certain, it’s that summer would not be the same without ice cream.

Chef Kwivan Miller admits to being one of those persons — the ding of the ice cream truck meant he ran to the curb, and he delighted in the store-bought treat over the years. But it was during his internship in Vitznau, Switzerland, upon graduation from Johnson & Wales University that he had a life-changing encounter with homemade ice creams that would forever change his outlook on the cool, creamy confection.

“It was such a tremendous difference in flavor, texture and quality that I didn’t even want to purchase ice creams out of the food stores when I came back,” said Miller.

That inspired him to experiment and to try to master homemade ice creams. And he’s not just doing the regular vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — he’s been doing flavors that incorporate local fruit flavors with regular flavors to come up with flavor offerings like Tequila apple; Kahlua banana; coconut-mango; minted guinep; sapodilly; tropical peach schnapps; cherry, blueberry or strawberry cheesecake (one of his most popular flavors); Bahamian guava to peanut butter ice cream. He even dips onto the savory side of things and will do a cilantro ice cream for people that are more daring and who like to explore.

“To be honest, when you have homemade ice cream it’s always richer,” he said.

Miller has been selling his ice creams for approximately a year.

“I’m trying to take it to a new level this summer, and be more inventive with flavors, going outside of the norm and implement a lot of new flavors, especially Bahamian flavors,” said the Johnson & Wales University graduate. “I really don’t have a set number of flavors because there are so many different flavors from fruits to savory.”

For this creamy frozen custard enthusiast, homemade ice creams trump store-bought because he uses the freshest ingredients possible and his ice creams have no preservatives.

And he says he is confident he can make any flavor work in an ice cream.

“Any fruit, any type of flavoring, any type of liquors somebody would like to experiment with I can turn into an ice cream flavor because there is no limit really to flavor profiles,” said Miller. “It’s just a matter of finding that balance between the flavors you have – whether it’s a bitter or sour flavor or pungent flavor. You have to find the way to incorporate the ingredients to balance out flavors and bring flavor profiles to the surface.”

Miller’s homemade confections sell for $3 for his sample size and start at $15 per quart, according to the ingredients.

He encourages people to try his homemade ice creams because he said he gives clients a flavor explosion that they won’t forget, along with richness, smoothness, quality and uniqueness.

And the perfect way for this chef to enjoy his ice creams is semi-soft. He takes his ice creams out of the freezer and allows them to sit on the countertop for approximately five minutes before he takes a scoop.

“It’s a matter of preference, but I don’t like stiff, hard ice creams. When ice cream is too frozen, you get that ice effect overpowering the ice cream flavor. Taking it out of the freezer for a few minutes first and allowing it to soften a little before eating it is the best way to eat ice cream to me,” he said.

Miller is a trained savory chef, but is one of those people who wants to cross over into all aspects of the culinary arts.

“The culinary arts is such a wide spectrum and even on the hot side there are so many varieties, cuisines and flavor profiles you can play with and then of course, pastry is a whole other section, then you go into sauces, so you can tap into so many aspects of the culinary world. And I don’t think an ambitious person should stick to just one avenue of the culinary world, and they should try to make themselves as well-rounded as possible, and I try to give people unlimited options in terms of what I can do,” he said.

Chef Miller can be contacted at chefmiller@hotmail.com.

And we had to ask the chef for a few of his ice cream recipes for people who have their own ice cream machines and are looking to try a few new flavors.

Sapodilla Ice Cream

Makes: About 7 cups

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsps molasses

1 3/4 cups pureed sapodillas

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

2 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk, brown sugar and molasses until the sugar is dissolved, about one to two minutes. Stir in the sapodilla puree, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Then, add the heavy cream and vanilla. At this point you can turn on your ice cream machine and pour mixture into the freezer bowl. Allow mixture to spin until thickened for about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. Allow ice cream to set in the freezer for at least two hours for proper consistency.

Mangola Ice Cream

Makes: About 7 cups

2 1/4 cups whole milk

2 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean

1 1/8 granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 tsps pure vanilla extract

5 ripe mangos, pureed

In a large saucepan, combine the whole milk and heavy cream over medium low heat. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the blunt edge of a knife, scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean and stir into the milk and heavy cream mixture. Simmer the milk/cream mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. Combine the sugar, mango puree, eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat until thickened like mayonnaise. When completed, stir in the egg mixture to the hot milk and heavy cream and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Refrigerate mixture until chilled for about half an hour. When mixture is chilled, turn on your ice cream machine and pour into freezer bowl. Allow mixture to spin for about 25 minus until the ice cream has a nice smooth and creamy texture. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for a least two hours for desired consistency.

Bahamian Guava Ice Cream

Makes: About 7 cups

1 1/3 cups chilled whole milk

1 1/8 cups granulated sugar

3 cups chilled heavy cream

1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract

2 cups ripe guavas, pureed

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved for about two minutes. Stir in heavy cream, pureed guavas and pure vanilla until mixture is smooth. When completed, turn on your ice cream machine and transfer mixture into freezer bowl and allow to spin for about 25 minutes. When the ice cream mix becomes nice and creamy, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least two hours before serving.

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