Product Type: Kenwood ice cream makers
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A great introduction to home ice cream making.
Kenwood IM 200 Ice Cream Maker
Member Name: pumfster
Kenwood IM 200 Ice Cream Maker
Advantages: Easy to use. Does the job well.
Disadvantages: Smallish capacity.
As it was a present, I don't know how much was paid for it at the time, but it's still available on the high street from places such as Currys for around the £25 mark, and cheaper still in the usual places on the Internet. As you can see this isn't an expensive piece of kit, and as a result doesn't have any fancy options, but Kenwood are a well-respected and big brand so how does it perform as a basic ice cream maker?
Well firstly the appearance of the unit is reasonably standard as far as small ice cream makers go. The base of the unit is rather heavy and is basically a bowl, with a capacity of 0.8 litres. This is the bowl in which your ice cream sets, and as such is filled internally with a solution that gets very cold indeed. The unit should be stored in a freezer unit for at least 24 hours prior to use, however as I had made the space, I generally stored the bowl in the freezer on a permanent basis so it was ready for use whenever it was needed. The top of the unit consists of a plastic churning blade that isn't sharp at all, and to be fair isn't the most sturdy of designs. It simply plugs into the electrical top section, which is made of plastic, with a hole to pour in the ice cream mixture, and a small button to turn the machine on and off, as well as a small red LED power light. It's not especially stylish in any way, however it is reasonably cheap and as a result looks the part.
The instruction booklet provided with the unit isn't the best to be fair, however there is very little to making the ice cream, simply add the mixture and churn! A guide on how to assemble the unit is provided in diagrammatical form, as well as lots of safety information, generally along the lines of don't electrocute yourself! There is also cleaning information provided which is very useful to take note of, as the unit should be left to warm up before cleaning to prevent soapy water sticking to the cold surface. There are also a couple of basic recipes in the booklet for you to try out, however as my wife also bought me an ice cream recipe book I haven't tried the ones provided so can't really comment further on them.
The main question her is does it make nice ice cream? Well I would have to say on the whole the answer is yes. You simply make your base for the ice cream, which can be done many different ways, and then add straight into the unit when removed from the freezer. It takes me approximately 30-40 minutes of churning for the ice cream to be ready, at which point it is of a soft scoop consistency. If you leave it any longer the bowl will start to lose its cool quite literally and the ice cream will start to melt. If you want a firmer ice cream, then it can be added at this point to a storage vessel and placed into the freezer to firm up. I personally prefer it quite soft and am also slightly impatient, so generally just eat it straight after churning.
It should be noted that due to the small capacity of the unit, you can't make massive batches of ice cream, and as a result it does make the use of it quite expensive due to the economies of scale when using your ingredients. This doesn't put me off too much however as the improved taste of creating your own ice creams more than makes up for the increased costs, and you also know exactly what you are putting into your ice creams, so no stabilisers, additives or any other potential unknowns.
I have developed a few personal favourites after using the unit for a while, and my most made thing would have to be an orange sorbet. This is wonderfully easy to make and done my way gives it more of a slush puppy type of taste and consistency. I simply boil equal amounts of water and sugar in a pan for a minute or two and allow cooling, preferably in the fridge to make it cold before churning. Whilst cooling I juice several oranges, and a lemon which gives you a concentrated juice. When I am ready to start, you simply combine the two liquids and churn. You can add a couple of egg whites at this stage to give it the more familiar sorbet texture, but am I'm not a big fan of eggs, I leave this out, and look forward to enjoying a wonderfully refreshing concentrated orangey ice.
I also quite like a vanilla fudge ice cream which is takes slightly more preparation time, but is worth it. Simply follow a recipe to make vanilla custard. You really should use proper vanilla pods here - I know they are expensive, but the improved taste makes them worthwhile. After you have made the custard, again allow cooling, add some fudge pieces and churn. You will be left with a soft indulgent ice cream, but you will have to give it a good stir, as the fudge may sink to the bottom. Any left-overs can be stored in the fridge, but as I said its only a small capacity so you will generally eat it all! One more tip I would give here is to remember that when things freeze they generally expand, so always allow some extra room in the bowl before churning to prevent it from expanding up and going all over the place.
So to sum this one up I would have to say that the Kenwood IM200 ice cream maker is certainly worthy of serious consideration if you are considering trying out making your own ice cream and don't want to spend too much money doing it. It does the job it is designed to do, with no fancy add ons, and does that job well. There is one little caveat to add here and that is my unit has very recently stopped working. I will knock one star off for this, but it has given a good period of service and for a reasonably cheap unit, I don't really expect a massive lifespan. I would recommend it to anyone, especially those new to the joys of making ice cream at home.
Thanks for reading this review and it may also appear on Ciao under my same username.
Summary: n excellent choice as a first ice cream maker, it's easy to use, easy to store and easy to clean.
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