The taste of fall continues! This week’s ice cream features the BC cranberry.
British Columbia is one of the largest cranberry growing regions in the world. Most cranberry bogs in BC are in the Lower Fraser Valley, with a few over on Vancouver Island. Every fall, when the berries ripen and turn a gorgeous, deep red colour, cranberry farmers flood their fields in preparation for harvesting. A harvester is then driven through the beds to shake the berries off the vines and into the water. The berries, which are filled with little air pockets, float at the surface until they are corralled, transferred onto trucks, and whisked off for further processing. Check out Lauren Robertson’s video about her trip to a cranberry farm in Delta, BC during harvest time — the sea of red berries is incredibly dramatic. Lucky gal, I’d love to dance in a cranberry bog and scoop up fresh berries to use in all my fall recipes. But until that time, I’ll rely on the fresh berries I get at the supermarket.
This ice cream recipe marries a delightfully tart Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote with sweet vanilla ice cream. The compote is incredibly easy to make, taking about 15 minutes from start to finish. I’d suggest doubling the compote recipe, saving the extras to serve with roast chicken or turkey, spread onto a deli sandwich, or dollop over hot cereal, pancakes, or waffles (along with a generous pour of maple syrup, of course!)
Even after making a double batch of compote, I still have extra cranberries on hand. Readers, do you have any cranberry recipes you’d like to share with me?
Ice Cream: (Makes about 1.25 L)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote:
2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
For the Ice Cream:
- In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
- Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
- Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
- Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking. Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Chill overnight in the fridge.
For the Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote:
- While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the compote.
- Combine the first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and soften, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- While the compote is cooking, zest the orange and chop finely. Over a small bowl, peel and segment the orange, taking care to keep all the juice from the orange. Cut each of the segments into small pieces.
- In the final two minutes of cooking, add the orange zest, juice, and segments to the compote. Stir.
- Remove from the heat, cool, and chill overnight in the fridge.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish. Spoon 1/3 of the compote in random dollops onto the ice cream. Repeat another two times (3 layers of ice cream, 3 layers of compote). Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.
- Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.