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The Ultimate Guide to
Philadelphia - Style Ice Cream

The Ultimate Guide to
Philadelphia - Style
Ice Cream

Philadelphia-style Ice Cream is the Star of All Ice Creams. And proof that the best ice cream you can make at home, is indeed the simplest one. 

Read below everything you need to know about Philadelphia-style ice cream. And please do ask your questions. We ❤️ questions.

top Philadelphia – style ice cream recipes:

About Philadelphia - Style Ice Cream:

Making Philadelphia-style ice cream at home is easy, quick and inexpensive. It can be as simple as combining milk, cream and sugar; by adding more ingredients we give it the flavour we want. It can also be quick; you can go from making the ice cream mixture to churning it in under two hours, provided you have two trays of ice cubes in your freezer.

For us, it is the ice cream we make when we are short of time and yet want to make something that everyone will love. So when we have guests coming over, we make the ice cream mixture in under ten minutes the day before, leave it to cool in the refrigerator, churn it in the morning and leave it in the freezer until it is serving time. Everyone loves to scoop freshly-made ice cream straight out of the ice cream maker bowl.

Watching them devouring it is a reminder that although Philadelphia-style ice cream is so easy to make, it lacks nothing compared to other kinds of ice creams, which are more complicated to make.

Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smell and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

How a Philadelphia - Style Ice Cream is made

Making a Philadelphia-style ice cream involves four basic steps:

1. Warming the milk (or part of it) just enough to dissolve the sugar,
2. blending the milk with the rest of the ingredients,
3. chilling the ice cream mixture until cold, and
4. churning in your ice cream maker.

Theres is no need to cook the ice cream mixture to thicken it, like in other ways of making ice cream which also involve other ingredients, like egg yolks or corn starch. Philadelphia-style ice cream can be as simple as milk, cream and sugar and still be better than any store-bought ice cream. 

Thickening the ice cream mixture is useful when you make ice cream to sell it, because it gives extra features to the ice cream which allow it to go through the selling process. But when you make ice cream at home, you can just as well do without it and go Philadelphia-style.

If you search the internet, you will find no-cook ice cream recipes which need no heating, just blending the sugar with cold milk (or other dairy) and mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. 

The problem is that sugar does not dissolve in cold liquids; it needs some heat to efficiently dissolve. And one of the most important things in ice cream making is to fully dissolve the sugar.

Too much heavy cream?

The whole point of a Philadelphia-style ice cream is to easily make a perfect, fluffy ice cream, with the least ingredients possible. Heavy cream is the magic ingredient which makes for this perfect ice cream; for heavy cream contains butterfat, which makes for the luscious ice cream mouthfeel we know and love. 

We can get away with less heavy cream in ice cream, if we thicken the ice cream mixture with corn starch or other ingredients, which reduce the feeling of iciness in the mouth and give a fuller body to the ice cream mixture, to help it churn into fluffy ice cream. 

A Philadelphia-style ice cream on the other hand, which is not thickened and uses few ingredients, needs more heavy cream to make for a lovely mouthfeel. In all our recipes we have have kept the total fat content to approx. 18% fat content; this is the lowest in fat content we can go without thickening the ice cream mixture, while keeping the ice cream’s mouthfeel and texture to superior standards. 

And worry not that the ice cream will be “too rich”. All our recipes are designed to make ice cream which is refreshing and tastes fantastic.

The magic of butterfat

If you try to reduce the fat in an ice cream recipe, you will notice how cold it feels when you eat it. Just think about those headaches you get when you eat ice cream fast; when the ice cream is low in fat, you will get this unpleasant brain-freeze very quickly.

The food industry knows that, so in order to reduce the fat, they use ingredients that make the ice cream feel “warmer” when you eat it. And they have a good reason to reduce the cream they use: butterfat is a rather expensive ingredient. In fact, butterfat is so costly that lately, in industrial ice cream, it has been replaced by (the very cheap) palm oil, which gives a weird mouthfeel to the ice cream. 

So, next time you compare two ice cream cartons at the grocery store and wonder why the one is so expensive, read the ingredients on the packaging. Chances are that the expensive one contains heavy cream, whereas the cheaper one contains palm oil (along with some hard-to-read industrial ingredients to make for a cheap imitation of real ice cream).

One of the joys of making your own ice cream at home, is that you have control over the ingredients you use. Without paying a fortune, you enjoy an artisanal ice cream made with the same ingredients (real milk and cream) of that of a high-end ice cream parlour. Your own homemade ice cream will be superb, even with budget-friendly milk and cream.

All Philadelphia-style ice cream recipes

all your Philadelphia – style ice cream recipes in one place

with milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla extract

with milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean

with milk, cream, and sugar  (a.k.a. Fior di Latte flavour)

with strawberries, milk, cream, and sugar

with blueberries, milk, cream, and sugar

with chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, and sugar

with chocolate, milk, cream, and sugar

with cocoa powder, milk, cream, and sugar

with white chocolate, milk, cream, and sugar

with milk, cream, sugar, and xanthan gum

with coffee beans, milk, cream, and sugar

with lemons, milk, cream, and sugar

with bergamots, milk, cream, and sugar

Questions, please!

( We ♥️ questions )

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