Tag Archives: ice cream

Brown Sugar Nectarine Ice Cream

21 Aug

As a child, I thought that making ice cream at home was the type of thing only early American pioneers did. Ice cream came from the store, or an ice cream shop, and it was packaged in a square container that opened up like an envelope from the front. (I cannot be the only person here who remembers ice cream being packaged in this manner, can I? The flimsy box, the tight corners that held onto the ice cream and resisted being nudged out by a rounded scoop? In terms of ice cream package technology, whoever thought to ditch the box with square corners and develop a more rounded package was a genius.) When, in the book Farmer Boy, Almanzo Wilder and his siblings were left to their own devices after their parents left town for a week and deemed the children to be in charge of the farm, what was the first thing the kids did? They made ice cream (and cake, and candy…and then more cake and ice cream). They made so much ice cream and sweet treats, in fact, that they almost completely emptied out the family’s sugar barrel.

Reading about this intense feat of sugar consumption practically gave me a contact high. Making ice cream at home? For dinner? You can imagine how compelling I found this idea (I was going to add in the words “as a child,” but, let’s face it, I sort of like that idea now as well). It seemed so rugged, and yet also so simple. I want some ice cream, so I’ll just make some. It was like reading about the secrets behind a magic trick.

Obviously, as I got older and became in charge of my own kitchen and what went on in it, I found out that making homemade ice cream was just about as simple as eating homemade ice cream. Once I was gifted an ice cream maker, it was like having a license to print money. Somehow, it seems almost sneaky to make your own ice cream , like you’re totally getting away with doing something that’s meant to be handled only by the likes of professionals. It is also, I have found, slightly addictive. Not just the ice cream itself, I mean, but making the ice cream. Every time I find myself in possession of some interesting chocolate or chilies (or both, because, man have you ever had spicy chocolate ice cream? SO GOOD), or a nice supply of super ripe fruit, my mind immediately turns to thoughts of transforming those goods into a creamy batch of ice cream.

Last week, when it was 95 degrees in Portland, we had just gotten back from our annual trip to San Francisco, where we ate ice cream nearly every single day. This year we rented an apartment across the street from a great gelato place, which meant that we ended up spending an inordinate amount of time there, filling our bellies with gelato. We also, as we do every year, spent a great deal of time getting ice cream form Bi-Rite Creamery, as any ice cream loving person should know to do. I am a huge fan of their brown sugar ice cream with a ginger caramel swirl, so, once we got home to Portland and the heat left me no other choice but to make ice cream, I decided to test drive their brown sugar concept with some fresh nectarines. It’s usually my habit to plump up the flavor of fresh fruit with a bit of lemon juice, but, in the interest of trying something new, I subbed in some lime juice instead. What emerged after my tinkering was a creamy, bright, delightful ice cream with the strong flavor of nectarines balanced by a gentle undertone of sweetness. It was wonderful. It is wonderful. And I suggest you grab yourself an ice cream maker and find out for yourself.

Ice cream, previously: Fresh Ginger Ice Cream, Six Threes Ice Cream, Coconut Lime Frozen Yogurt and Chewy Ginger Cookie Sandwiches

Brown Sugar Nectarine Ice Cream Recipe

1 ¼ pounds pitted, diced ripe nectarines (about 3 large)

1/4 cup water

½ cup light brown sugar

3 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup milk

juice of ½ a lime

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine nectarines and water. Bring to a boil, cover, then allow to simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the nectarines have broken down and released a great deal of their juices. Set aside to cool.

While the nectarines are cooking, combine brown sugar, egg yolks, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine, then heat mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of around 170 degrees F. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon, leaving a clean trail when swiped with a finger. Remove from heat, whisk in milk, then place in the refrigerator to cool.

When both mixtures have cooled, combine them in a blender or food processor and blend on high speed until completely smooth and combined. Stir in lime juice and vanilla, then refrigerate until complete cooled, about 2 hours. Alternately, if you don’t want to wait, you can place the nectarine custard mixture in a thin, nonreactive metal bowl, place the metal bowl in larger bowl filled with mostly ice with a bit of water, and stir the mixture as the metal bowl rests in its ice bath. After about 10-15 minutes of careful stirring (being careful not to tip the custard bowl over into the ice water), the mixture will become quite cold.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Makes just under 1 quart of ice cream.

Gelato vs. Ice Cream, the Battle in Which There Are No Losers

20 Aug

As a quick side note concerning last month’s annual trek to San Francisco, it bears sharing that we engaged in a voracious debate concerning which icy treat was more favorable: ice cream or gelato.

St. James Whiskey gelato, topped with a scoop of apricot sorbetto, from Naia in North Beach

In reality, there are very few properties that separate gelato from ice cream.  Both are icy treats made from milk and cream, both are churned while freezing, and both can be served via cone or cup.  The main differences between gelato and ice cream lie in three areas: the ratio of milk to cream contained in each (gelato contains less cream, more milk, resulting in a marginally lower fat product with a less heavy taste), the amount of air contained within each (gelato is churned more slowly than ice cream, which allows less air to be incorporated into the mix and makes for a denser end product), and the temperature at which each item is served (gelato is served at a temperature slightly above freezing, ice cream is served frozen).

Chocolate ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery in the Misson

Facts sorted and items sampled, we considered our tastings.  Bi-Rite Creamery, by making its ice cream in very small batches, maintains a virtue similar to that of most gelato makers (okay, so I recant my above statement about there being three main differences between gelato and ice cream–there are actually four main differences, that being that gelato is meant to be made in very small batches, and ice cream, unless made at home or at an artisanal ice cream shop like Bi-Rite Creamery, is generally not).  Both Naia and Bi-Rite Creamery offer a selection of sorbets, and both places excel at making delicious, unique flavors of their product (I would have taken a picture of the balsamic strawberry ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, and brown sugar ice cream with a ginger caramel swirl that were consumed during this sampling of icy treats,  but I was, delightfully, too busy tasting them to even think about my camera).

In the end, ice cream and gelato were declared dual winners in the unofficial competition.  Not only were we unable to choose a winner between the two frozen delights, but we were unwilling.  To declare one better over the other seemed an almost ridiculous task, especially when, as evidenced below, we found it virtually impossible to register a single complaint about either.

Six Threes Ice Cream

3 Jun

Dear Summer,

Did we do something to anger you?  I only ask because it seems as though you have been avoiding us.  Here we are, the first week of June, and you are nowhere in sight.  I can’t help but think that maybe you are feeling a bit hesitant about joining us this year.  Maybe you had a great time hibernating during the months you were not with us, making you decide that you’d rather stay asleep a few more weeks instead of prodding your good friend The Sun in the ribs and making a good argument for spending some time with us.  We’re pretty fun, you know.  We like going in the pool and hitting baseballs in the backyard while our skin warms in the heat of the afternoon, and the hammock is all cleaned off and good to go.  Basically, we’re ready whenever you are.

Look, I even made a little something to celebrate your arrival.  My husband’s family has this great ice cream recipe that I had been dying to make.  I first tasted it at a family reunion last summer—remember that?  You were sort of there, Summer, but mostly in name rather than in feel (it was extremely cold and wet last August, as you may recall, but I promise I am in no way holding that against you).  Anyhow, my husband’s family made a huge batch of this ice cream.  They took turns hand churning it, and when it was done they called to all of the children to come and have an inaugural taste of the ice cream straight from the dasher.  All of the children were feeling uncharacteristically shy, so I swiped my finger against the dasher and demonstrated how non-poisonous and definitely delicious the ice cream was.

As you may also recall, the children had a rather difficult time getting to the ice cream covered dasher after that, such was my devotion to gobbling that thing clean before anyone else could snitch a taste.  I wouldn’t say I went so far as to push any children aside while protecting my ice cream sample, but that was only because I happened to be taller than all the children, allowing me to conveniently hold the dasher up much higher than they could reach, rendering unnecessary any sort of pushing or jostling on my part.

So, I decided that, in anticipation of your arrival, I would make some of this ice cream.  It is dead simple to assemble, and it tastes supremely fresh and cooling.  The ice cream is egg-free, but it has the smooth, soft, creamy texture of a custard-based ice cream. Do you know what the secret is, Summer?  It’s the banana.  The banana makes the ice cream so rich and luscious, you’d never know it was devoid of eggs.  I tell you, this is the perfect ice cream to start with if you’re feeling hesitant about making homemade ice cream.  It really is foolproof.  Plus, the taste bears a strong resemblance to that of a Creamsicle, which not only gives it points for childhood nostalgia, but also for maximum enjoyability.

I hope we see you soon, Summer.  Rumor has it you’re going to be making an appearance this weekend, but, quite honestly, I can’t really bring myself to believe that prediction, what with how little we’ve seen or sensed of you thus far.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to see you, but I don’t know if I can handle any more stilted anticipation.  If you do happen to show up, believe me, I’ll be more than happy to eat my words—right along, in fact, with a nice bowl of this delicious ice cream.

All the best,

EM from Savory Salty Sweet

Six Threes Ice Cream

The original recipe, which uses three of each measure of ingredients, makes enough ice cream to fill a very large hand cranked machine.  Since the ice cream machine I own only holds 1.5 quarts of finished product, I had to scale the recipe down by two thirds.  This, technically, does not make the ice cream I made a combination of six threes, but rather six ones.  However, since that name does not have nearly the clever ring to it as the original name, I have decided to just stick with calling it six threes ice cream.  Still delicious, just not as abundant.  If you have a larger ice cream maker, you should, by all means, scale the recipe up to make as much ice cream as you can.

Note: Be sure to follow the directions and keep the dairy and citrus ingredients separate until the dairy has been partially frozen in your ice cream machine.  If you add the citrus to the dairy beforehand, the acid in the citrus will cause your dairy to curdle.

1 ripe banana

1 lemon

1 orange, the zest finely grated or chopped

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1 cup sugar

In a medium bowl, blend or mash the banana.  To this, add the finely grated or chopped zest of the orange.  Squeeze juice from lemon and orange, and combine with the mashed banana and orange zest.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, cream, and sugar.  Whisk steadily until sugar is completely dissolved.

Add cream mixture to your ice cream maker, and allow to churn until it reaches the slush stage.

Add the fruit mixture to the slushy cream mixture, then churn according to manufacturer’s instructions (until, that is to say, you have ice cream).

Makes about 1.5 quarts of ice cream.

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