Didn't even register with me that today was the first day of summer until 2 days ago. I mean, it's been so nice out, seems like summer started a long time ago! And even though Haagen Dazs was on sale last week at the supermarket and I totally stocked up, I still wanted to blog about ice cream. Especially since my husband surprised me with two cookbooks last week, one of which is Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.
That book is way beyond your usual vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice creams. She's got weird combos in there! And then some that I wouldn't have thought of, but would still like to try. I also like the fact that there is no egg tempering in her recipes. Well, no egg at all. She uses cream cheese, which I was very happy to see, as my go-to ice cream recipe has cream cheese in it too, and I love it! Another thing she does, is to chill the ice cream base in a ice bath, as opposed to storing it in the fridge overnight and churning it the next day. See, this way you get your ice cream sooner!
I picked the lemon ice cream to try on this first day of summer, because, well I wanted a refreshing ice cream with no chunks in it. The kind of ice cream you want to lick from a cone. Didn't hurt that I had all the ingredients on hand too! Just whole milk, cream, sugar, lemons, cream cheese, corn syrup, cornstarch and salt.
So you start by zesting 2 lemons (in big strips so it's easier to fish out before churning) and setting it aside. You then juice the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice. You add it to a small saucepan with two tbsp sugar and heat it until the sugar is dissolved. This lemon syrup is then chilled and will be added to the churning ice cream later on.
To thicken the ice cream, you have to make a cornstarch slurry by measuring 2 cups of milk, and taking out 2 tbsp to put in a small bowl along with 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch. That's set aside. You should also whisk 3 tbsp cream cheese and 1/8 tsp salt in a large bowl until there are no more lumps. That's also set aside.
The rest of the milk goes in a medium saucepan, along with the zest of the two lemons, 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cups sugar and 2 tbsp light corn syrup. That mixture is heated until boiling, and then boiled for 4 minutes. Then you take it off the heat, and add in the cornstarch. It's brought to a boil again, and cooked for 1 minute until it thickens a bit. The mixture is taken off the heat and whisked gradually in the cream cheese mixture. The whole thing is then transferred to a large zip top bag, and put into an ice bath to chill before churning with the lemon syrup made earlier. (Don't forget to take the zest out before churning.) It then chills for four hours.
It was in the freezer for four hours to the minute, when I took it out to taste it. Yes I was anxious, but by that time, my daughter had asked me about fifteen hundred times where the ice cream was and when could she eat some. She needed ice cream so she could move on... I needed her to move on. Anyways...
It's the smoothest ice cream ever. The texture is just right, melty and soft and just a tiny bit chewy. The lemon flavor came through, nice and bright, and kinda reminded me a bit of lemon cream cheese icing. That's a very good thing. It was just what was needed on the first day of summer.