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In the hot Sacramento summer, knowing how to make ice cream may come in handy when trying to cool off.
Thankfully, that’s exactly what was on the agenda for Ginger Elizabeth Hahn’s summer class last Saturday.
Thirty-five students gathered at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates — Hahn’s boutique — which offers classes for $35 per person. The class was located at the 1818 L St. Lofts penthouse kitchen across the street.
Hahn, a chocolatier, taught two sold-out classes that day. She first told the class of her training, which includes the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has worked with world-renowned chocolatiers such as Jacques Torres and pastry chef En-Ming Hsu and had the chance meet and speak with chef legend Julia Child.
“I studied at the French Culinary Institute in Chicago too. I'm kind of all over the place, but I love chocolate," she said.
She began the class with a Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream base recipe. Tahitian vanilla is “a little spicier” than normal vanilla and two to three times the price since it is only found in Tahiti.
She demonstrated an infusion, which was used for the ice cream base: bringing cream, milk and the vanilla to a boil and letting the vanilla bean steep for five minutes.
Throughout the two-hour class, Hahn demonstrated her abilities as students observed, asked questions and,of course, tasted finished products. She gave tips of her trade for better ice cream-making and where specific tools can be found.
Hahn spoke of “over-run”: when air is whipped into ice cream. Typical grocery store freezer ice creams could have up to 100 percent over-run. Lots of air is used to pump up the ice cream, giving it more volume.Her ice cream creation is around 25 percent over-run , she said.
She also explained the differences between various ice creams. Gelato has around 15 percent to 30 percent over-run, is more elastic, creamy,and its temperature conditions for storage are warmer. Sorbet contains no dairy, while sherbet contains no eggs.
In terms of just ice cream, Hahn said there are two types: Philadelphia and French. Philadelphia contains no eggs while the French style has eggs and is more of a custard-style. Hahn prefers the Philadelphia.
Mary Taylor of Sacramento attended the Ginger Elizabeth class for the first time with her mother, who heard about it through the email list. Taylor said she has been making ice cream at home for around two years. She thinks learning to make ice cream takes some practice.
“A lot of it is trail and error. You have to try things out,” she said.
She found the class a success and enjoyed the taste of the ice cream.
For more information on Ginger Elizabeth classes and the boutique, visit gingerelizabeth.com.
Photos by Angela Ruggiero.