By Keith Fisher
It’s been so hot lately around my house I’m beginning to identify with the Wicked Witch of the West. “I’m melting—melting, what a world, what a world.” If you’re like me, the heat puts a damper on outdoor cookout plans. I remember a cook off when it was so hot we almost didn’t need charcoal. The heat from the coals raised the already high temperature into triple digits.
What if I told you about a cold treat you can make in a Dutch oven? Would you consider staying outdoors? We often associate cooking in Dutch ovens with heat from square charcoal briquettes. Have you ever considered cooking with square ice cubes? What’s that you ask? No, I’m not crazy, in fact I’m going to tell you how to make ice cream in a Dutch oven.
It’s best to use an aluminum Dutch oven, although, cast iron will work too. The reason for aluminum is simple. Since the material heats up quickly it also cools quickly with no adverse affects. You must be careful with cast iron because it doesn’t react well to quick temperature changes.
Here’s how to do it with dry ice:
In a cooler large enough to fit your Dutch oven, place a small block of dry ice. Put a towel or old T-shirt on that. Mix up your favorite ice cream recipe in your Dutch oven and place the pot on top of the old towel. Then wrap another block of dry ice in a towel and place on top. Cover the cooler. Agitate the mixture by stirring frequently. When it’s frozen, enjoy.
There are other ways including using regular ice cubes and rock salt. Then twisting the Dutch oven to agitate, just like an ice cream maker. It’s more fun to hear the compliments when you open your Dutch oven and scoop out the cold treat.
I’ve included two recipes for ice cream, and I gave credit to those who made them in a cook off I attended.
Vanilla Ice Cream by Carol Fuller
4 ½ c. half and half
1 ½ c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. whipping cream
3-8 lb. Bags of ice
Rock salt as needed
3 lbs. Dry ice
In a large bowl combine half- &-half, sugar and vanilla. Stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in whipping cream. Pour into Dutch oven. Pack ice and salt around the Dutch oven that is set inside another container. Cover top with dry ice. Open and stir every 20 minutes, until ice cream is set up.
CARL’S ICE CREAM—by Carl Rasmusen—Kearns, Utah
2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla
1-2 bags cubed ice
2-3 lbs. coarse salt
5-10 lbs. dry ice
Cream the eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the cream and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a whisk until completely incorporated. Add this to a 10-inch Dutch oven. Place this into a lager container such as a 15 inch deep Dutch oven. Surround the 10-inch oven with ice and coarse salt. (Do not fill above the lid line) Add some dry ice to the lid of the 10-inch oven. Cover the larger container and insulate with your choice of insulation. Open the oven occasionally and scrape the sides and stir the mix to distribute the temperature evenly. Serve when the mixture has set to your satisfaction.
Since it’s hot outside, you might want to explore other cold possibilities. Toss a green salad in a chilled Dutch oven. Make a fruit salad. People will be thrilled to see it in a Dutch oven. When you get brave, you can try a cheesecake or key lime pie. Everything is possible, and aluminum is a wonderful thing. You can take it directly from the fire and plunge it into the ice, a necessary thing in order to make cheesecake.
The point is, don’t let the heat stop you from having some of the best Dutch oven dinners you’ve had. There are many ways to beat the heat. Maybe I’ll talk about some of them next time—then again, maybe you could suggest some to me.
Return to the Neighborhood.