Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream (#20)

26 07 2012

I was hoping to get this post up earlier, but I ran into some technical difficulties a couple of days ago: I discovered that my Donvier Chillfast cylinder, which I normally store in the freezer, wasn’t frozen solid and icy cold, but was melty and sloshing around!  How could that be?!  I had turned down the freezer to its coldest setting the night before to make sure the cylinder would be as cold as possible.  Was my freezer on the fritz?  The cylinder itself?  Luckily, it was neither.  It turned out that the Official Taster was in a pinch to quickly chill two kegs of beer and had grabbed the Chillfast cylinder and submerged it in a tubful of water, along with the kegs and a couple bags of ice cubes.  Official Taster, you owe me some extra dish washing for thisSurely the ice cubes alone would have been sufficient!  So, this set me back half a day while I re-froze the cylinder.  On the upside though, my custard had some extra time to “age” in the fridge.

Week #20’s flavour came to me when I was shopping at my local produce store.  Blueberries!  Only $1.89/lb!  That’s about as cheap as U-pick, with all the picking done for you!  Blueberries pair well with so many different flavours – cinnamon, cardamom, basil, thyme, orange, and lemon to name a few.  I had a hard time deciding between blueberry-basil and blueberry-lemon, so I figured I’d develop an ice cream recipe containing all three.  So here we have Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream: blueberry compote infused with lemon and basil, dolloped between layers of lemon basil ice cream.

jar of blueberry compote

The blueberry compote, along with a big spoonful of ricotta cheese, would be a great topping for waffles!

Alternating layers of ice cream with random dollops of compote creates a marbled effect that allows the creamy yellow colour of the ice cream to be retained.  Marbling also lets you enjoy the subtle flavours of the lemon basil ice cream on its own as well as with the occasional mouthful of blueberry goodness.  Another option is to swirl the blueberry compote into the ice cream in the final stages of churning, similar to Week 13’s Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream and Week 16’s Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream.  This would result in a purple-blue ice cream with berries evenly distributed throughout.  Either way, Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream makes for a perfect summer treat!

blueberry lemon basil ice cream

Blueberry compote marbled into lemon basil ice cream.

Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups half-and-half cream

Blueberry Compote (makes about 1.5 cups)

2 1/2 cups of blueberries, divided
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

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Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream (#16)

27 06 2012

When I posted my recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Ice Cream a few weeks ago, I had every intention of posting a sister recipe — Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream — the week following.  But alas, sweet local strawberries were no where in sight.  Vancouver’s wet, grey, and ch-chilly June weather meant a delay in the ripening of local strawberries.  While you can buy fresh strawberries at the grocery store at almost any time of the year now, those giant red berries coming out of California have spongy interiors and don’t seem to have much taste.  (Find out why in this NPR article.)  Local strawberries, on the other hand, while smaller in size, are darling little red gems bursting with flavour and sweetness.  And finally, THEY ARE READY!!!

strawberries

Hooray, local strawberries are FINALLY in season!

The last time I checked, U-pick strawberries out in Richmond or the Fraser Valley are about $1.50 / lb, harvested berries at the farm gate around $2.00 to $2.50 / lb, and berries at the local farmers market or produce shops around $4.00 to $5.00 / lb.  It is definitely worth spending a couple hours in the U-pick fields or spending a few extra dollars for local berries – they will not disappoint!

This recipe employs the same method as Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream: cooking a fruit compote, then swirling it into a plain ice cream.  You can, optionally, puree and strain the compote and then mix it into the custard prior to churning, but I prefer having larger pieces of fruit mixed into the ice cream.  Yum, a true taste of summer, at last!!

strawberry rhubarb compote

Strawberry rhubarb compote.  Make extra to use as a topping for toast, waffles, pancakes, or yogurt

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

Ice Cream

2 eggs
1/2  cup white sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
3 cups half-and-half cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (makes about 1.5 cups)

2 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp water
1 c hulled and quartered strawberries

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