Blueberry Lemon Gin Ice Cream

Well, we’ve finally moved across the pond to Edinburgh. We arrived on Sunday afternoon after an overnight flight with a stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland, and have been settling (and sleeping) in since then. Seeing as it was 60˚F and overcast when we got here on the 1st of September, I think it’s safe to say that our summer has come to an end. So I decided it was the right time to share this recipe, as a sort of in memoriam tribute to Texas summers — not that I’m particularly sad to be out of 105˚ days, but there are certain summer flavors that have always meant “home,” and anything resembling lemonade is one of them.

I love this flavor because it’s so simple and refreshing, but there’s also a complexity to it, in that each ingredient really pops at different points in a bite. For me, it’s blueberry up front, followed by gin notes, and finished off with a subtle lemon aftertaste that really builds with each bite.

Citrus can be a bit tricky in ice cream, as the acidity of the fruit will cause the milk to curdle if it’s combined while hot. This makes it important to peel the lemons with care, leaving as little fruit on the rinds as possible. A little bit of fruit left on the peel here and there won’t ruin anything, but you do want to make a clean job of it as much as you can.

I hope you enjoy this light, crisp, and refreshing treat as your summer winds down!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1  3/4 cups raw cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries
  • Peels of 6 lemons
  • 3 oz. gin

Instructions:

Base:

  1. Place the blueberries in a medium stockpot or saucepan and cover with 1/2 cup cane sugar. Toss the combination to coat the fruit evenly in sugar, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the water has cooked out and the compote is thick and sticky like jam, 20-30 min (see the Cooking Fruit page for instructions and tips on cooking fruit).
  2. Combine milk, cream, 1 cup of cane sugar, and sea salt in a medium stock pot or saucepan. Stirring frequently (especially until mixture is fully combined), heat to 160˚F.
  3. At 160˚F, turn off heat and add the lemon rinds to the base. Stir briefly to make sure they are all wet; cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, crack the 4 eggs, separating the egg yolks into a small bowl and disposing of the whites and shells. Whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup cane sugar and set aside.
  5. After the lemon rinds have steeped, uncover the pot. Using a fine mesh strainer or a spoon with holes in it, remove as many rinds as you can easily scoop out.
  6. Using a ladle or measuring cup, temper the eggs by slowly pouring about 1/2 cup of the hot base into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly until the egg/sugar/hot base mixture loosens up. Then pour the mixture back into the base, whisking constantly.
  7. After the egg mixture has been fully incorporated into the base, turn the heat back on at medium-high heat. Stirring frequently, bring the base to 170˚F and turn off heat.
  8. Pour the cooked based through a fine mesh strainer and into a heat-safe bowl. Place bowl in refrigerator and allow to chill, uncovered, until the base is cool to the touch, stirring occasionally to decrease cooling time.
  9. When the blueberry compote has reduced and thickened to the point that it holds its shape for a moment when it is stirred, take the compote off the heat and pour it into a small bowl or jar. Allow to chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator until cool to the touch.
  10. Once the base and blueberry compote are both cool to the touch, add the compote, as well as the gin, to the base. With an immersion blender (or in a food processor), blend until smooth. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and allow to set for at least 4-5 hours.**

Churn:

  1. After allowing the base to set, whisk or immersion-blend it thoroughly again.
  2. Set up your churner.
  3. Pour the base into the churner and turn the cycle on. Allow the ice cream to churn and freeze until it has the consistency of thick soft-serve throughout, 15-30 minutes depending on your churner.
  4. Pour the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and cover. Allow the ice cream to harden to a consistent texture throughout, roughly 6-8 hours depending on your freezer.

** If you are pressed for time, you can get away without waiting this long, though the texture might not end up quite as creamy. Just make sure that everything is fully chilled, or else your churner is likely to have problems freezing the base.

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