I have owned my Cuisinart Professional Ice Cream Maker for a couple of weeks now, and I wanted to document my experiences with it. If anyone is in the market for an ice cream maker; or just thinks they seem awesome, hopefully this will help you decide if it would be a worthy indulgence.
My first impressions were; it’s actually smaller than I expected I was expecting it to be the size of a microwave, but its actually smaller – but it is heavy, weighing in at 13kg/29lbs. The weight stems from the materials used, the compressor, and the build quality.
The Cuisinart Professional Ice Cream Maker does come with a hefty price tag – retailing for around £250/$275. The cost is mainly due to a pretty big difference between this, and most of the alternative ice cream makers, or even the items from the lower end of the Cuisinart range.
The Professional Ice Cream Maker has its own compressor so it freeze the ice cream itself — hence the Professional moniker. This means you don’t need to freeze a bowl ready for when you might want ice cream, with this you can make fresh ice cream on a whim.
For me, that’s a the killer feature, a cheaper ice cream maker I might use in summer once or twice (The bowls are quite large and consume a lot of freezer space), but by spending a bit more, it changes the dynamic of how I plan to use the machine.
If I have people over for dinner, I can throw some double (heavy) cream, sugar, milk, and vanilla essence in the ice cream maker whilst I prepare the main course — knowing that as long as I give the machine about 45 minutes I will have some gorgeous soft ice cream for dessert. Or, if the British weather decides to cooperate and provide a lashing of warmth and sunshine I can make ice cream whilst I barbeque up a frenzy.
The flexibility and freedom the machine gives over devices that need a frozen bowl changes it from an expensive indulgence, to a device I would use regularly – and that’s how I would justify the higher price.
The machine itself – despite the claims from some – is not that loud, and it does have a satisfying ping when the timer is up. There are no digital displays, no modes — just a timer setting. Nice and simple.
One criticism is that the machine will automatically stop when it feels the ice mixture consistency is too thick, and I would like a notification when that’s the case. Another improvement would be a “keep-alive” setting which gives the ice cream a slow stir to stop the whisk freezing inside the ice cream. I found on a few occasions that if I was slow to react to the ping, the whisk would freeze inside the ice cream and require brute force to remove.
Those quibbles aside, the machine has been brilliant, the ice cream making process itself is extremely easy – although I did need to alter some of the suggested recipes a little. I found that adding two teaspoons of vanilla extract to 1½ litres of ice cream was over-powering and that 1 teaspoon was much nicer. If you can, try to use vanilla pods though, as not only is the taste a little more refined, but also it adds delightful speckles of dark brown to the ice cream.
There is of course one thing that matters most – the taste – and it is heavenly! I cannot imagine buying another tub of ice cream again. I have been experimenting all the time since I got it, and I will be publishing some recipes shortly.
If after the mixing time has passed/the machine decides the mixture too thick to stir, but you still want a firmer consistency you can put the ice cream in a container and freeze it like you would any other ice cream too. Personally I like the softer consistency of ice cream straight from the machine though.
Overall, this is an item I can thoroughly recommend, and despite the high cost – the ability to freeze without pre-planning and pre-freezing a bowl is a highly desirable feature. The machine is quite simple, and very robust, so it should be a worthy investment for those who have a sweet tooth.
If the Cuisinart Professional Ice Cream Maker could provide a little more feedback, and provide a keep-alive feature then I would have given it a 10/10, but I am going to dock a mark instead.