Serving Ice Cream

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The correct portion size of ice cream depends on whether it will be served alone or as part of a dessert. It also depends on the size of your appetite.
Since homemade ice cream has no stabilizers, for best flavor and texture it should be eaten within 2 to 3 days. This is especially true with alcohol-flavored ice cream. Taste the ice cream at twenty-four-or even twelve-hour intervals, and you will notice the difference.

This may sound strange, but you should warm up your ice cream before serving it. Ice cream served immediately from the freezer can be difficult to scoop and isn’t as flavorful as when it is a little warmer. Put it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to soften it slightly. This is called tempering. When ice cream is too cold, the flavors are muted.

Dip ice cream scoops in cold water before scooping. This will allow for a cleaner, neater scoop. Warm water makes the ice cream too soft.

Restaurants often shape their ice creams and sorbets into a quenelle, an egg-shaped scoop with slightly pointed ends. To make a quenelle, run a large tablespoon under very hot water (it is important to have a wet spoon, or the quenelle will stick to the spoon). With the side of the spoon, pull a heaping scoop of ice cream toward you against the side of the container. When the spoon is full of ice cream, turn the spoon several times to shape the ice cream into an oval. Rewet your spoon to get a nice shape and allow the ice cream to release easily.

It’s fun to collect pitchers for sauces, ice cream bowls, dishes for garnishes, and tall glasses for sodas and milk shakes. Start going to antiques and consignment shops, and you will have a new pastime. Sometimes I buy things for myself and end up giving them away later as gifts, or vice versa: I purchase something for a friend and then end up keeping it!