Megnut

I scream for ice cream

Ever since I worked at Herrell's Ice Cream in Harvard Square during college, I've longed to make my own ice cream. At Herrell's I was an "ICM", or ice cream maker, and spent my shifts making malted vanilla, pumpkin, and chocolate pudding ice creams. So yummy! So today's New York Times article, Ice Dreams, Crystallizing, about making ice cream and sorbet from scratch, rekindled my interest. I've been planning to buy an ice cream maker someday when I have a bigger kitchen but man oh man is this tempting me now!

This summer a pint of overripe raspberries (and memories of the old Tommy's Lunch diner in Cambridge, Mass.) inspired a raspberry lime rickey sorbet, which had all the zesty flavor and pucker of the beverage it was modeled on.

But great ice cream need not be high-concept (if a lime rickey could be considered that). Often a wallflower flavor of a single dimension, like strawberry, takes the slate. In that spirit we set out to create a subtle ice cream from commercial crème fraîche (sour-cultured heavy cream), whisking it with simple syrup to create the base. The flavor was phenomenal, but it left a waxy feel in the mouth.

We then substituted two parts regular sour cream, which is lower in butterfat, to one part yogurt and produced a velvety, tart ice cream that is fun to swap for vanilla, as in a fruit parfait. (Its drier flavor is ideal for treacly grilled peaches and apricots.) We've never had much luck with fig ice cream, which flatters neither figs nor cream, but a simple stewed fig topping with lemon juice and sugar, spooned over sour cream ice cream, tastes divine.

In addition to the lime rickey sorbet, the authors talk about making ginger ice cream and various flavors based on herbs and spices. Right now I have a garden full of lavender, mint (mint sorbets!), and basil . The blackberries are coming into season (and I've already got a quart picked towards jelly) and the rose hips are rippening too. Imagine all the ice cream possibilities! If you are less able to resist than I, you can get the very ice cream maker mentioned in the article, a Cuisinart ICE-20 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Sorbet Maker, from Amazon this minute for $49.95. Must not one click...must not one click...

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