Summer has certainly been in full swing and what better way to enjoy the season than to make some homemade ice cream. Absolutely!
I was on a major roll with this project, that's for sure. Part of it was spurred on by the fresh peaches and berries available at our favorite Fulton Farmer's Market.
Another part of it was the realization that family was coming to visit for my mom's 90th birthday celebration. Having several flavors of ice cream in the freezer seemed like just the thing for any impromptu dessert needs.
I've mentioned in previous posts that I've been using an ice cream base recipe from David Lebovitz for many years now. It's so straight forward and allows one to come up with all sorts of flavor options. He talks about infusing flavors, add-ins before the churning step and mix-ins at the end. SO GOOD.
The base contains 2 cups cream, 1 cup milk, 5 large egg yolks, 155 g sugar and a pinch of salt. The preparation method is that of a basic crème anglaise, cooled over an ice bath and then refrigerated for some hours or over night until ready to process. I love making the bases a day or two ahead so they can cure and thicken in the fridge, plus I have two canisters for my Cuisinart ice cream maker always at the ready in my freezer. Bring it on!
Peach was definitely at the top of the hit list.
When incorporating certain fruits in ice cream there's the possibility that the end result may be a bit icy. David suggests peeling and slicing the peaches, cooking them until they're nice and soft then puréeing them. I added just a whiff of sugar and a splash of lemon juice to what started out as a pound-and-a-half of peaches (before the peeling/pitting and slicing) and was very happy with the end result. Once my chilled base was ready to process, I blended in the cooled peach purée and churned away.
The peach flavor comes through nicely in this creamy, fresh summery treat. I served this one with my from-scratch angel food cake (YUM!) and some sliced fresh peaches. How can one go wrong with that combo?!
Of course it's great on it's own, one luscious spoonful at a time.
Now for chocolate almond, two of the most lovely flavors that one might put together, whether it's in ice cream or some other delectable baked good or chocolate confection.
This version took a little more time since the warmed dairy is first infused for an hour or so with a cup and a half of coarsely chopped toasted almonds. The only downside is that the almonds are discarded after the dairy is strained. Kind of sad.
BUT!! There's hope after all. Next time I'll rinse 'em, soak 'em in water overnight and make my own NUT MILK! I've been dying to try it. And an even more beautiful thing is once the almonds and water are ground and the milk is strained through cheese cloth, the almond meal can be spread out on a baking sheet, dried in the oven and used in baked goods. Now THAT'S a good deal all the way around.
In this case, once the ice cream base is cooked to the anglaise stage, 4 ounces of chopped and melted bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% is recommended) and 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa are added to the warm mixture before cooling.
In addition, after the ice cream was processed, I mixed in coarsely chopped Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips and some of my ground almond nougatine.
Now THAT made for a delicious finished version of creamy, chunky delight.
Next up - framboise-fraise!
With this version I prepared the strawberries in a similar fashion to the peaches mentioned above. Hull and cut up about 3/4 pound strawberries, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a splash of lemon juice and cook them on the stove top until somewhat thickened and jam-like. Then purée them and chill.
Since I was going for a strawberry-raspberry combo, I also puréed and strained about 8 ounces of fresh raspberries and added them in to the chilled base along with the strawberry purée. Then it's simply a matter of processing to a shear perfection of summery, berry goodness. YES.
Last, but not least, (although this was Steve's least favorite of the bunch, don't ya know!) is coconut lime.
For this version I infused the dairy with 170 grams of toasted coconut and the zest of two limes. After straining, proceed with the usual base prep, chill it over the ice bath and blend in 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed, strained lime juice.
After churning, this one also got a mix-in of additional crushed toasted coconut to add another dimension to the mouth-feel experience. Quite frankly, in spite of Steve's lack of excitement, I found it nicely lime-y and coconut-y. I gave it a thumbs up.
There's just nothing like homemade ice cream! Now YOU come up with your own favorite flavor combos. You can do it!
Happy summer everyone!