Sometimes, the kids are too loud for you to be able to catch the ice cream man’s strains of “Turkey in the Straw” or “The Entertainer.” Which is why it’s a good idea to have an electric ice cream maker on hand. It’s a lot easier to make ice cream than many people who recall the days of ice blocks, rock salt and cranks may think—and a spoonful of the homemade variety is usually much more satisfying than any prepackaged novelty.

This recipe for gelato di crema (rough translation: frozen custard) from Mio Gelato’s Bob Lightman tastes creamy and rich on its own, but it can also serve as a base for several different flavors. For chocolate gelato, omit the orange peel and replace the Grand Marnier with 4 oz bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup cocoa powder; for nut-flavored gelato, omit the orange peel and the Grand Marnier and add 2 oz nut butter (pistachio, hazelnut, peanut, etc.) to the mixture once it’s heated all the way.

8 egg yolks

200 g sugar (about 1 cup)

3 cups milk

1 orange peel (with no white pith)

1 cup whipping cream

1 tbsp Grand Marnier

Dash of salt

1. Beat the yolks and sugar until soft, pale-yellow ribbons have formed.

2. Heat the milk, salt, orange peel and cream in a saucepan until it reaches 170 degrees.

3. Temper the yolk-and-sugar mixture by slowly whisking in the hot milk mixture.

4. Return the mixture to the saucepan, add the Grand Marnier and cook slowly, stirring constantly, until it reaches 180 degrees.

5. Remove from the heat, discard the orange peel and chill completely.

6. Freeze mixture according to instructions for your ice cream maker.