Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ICOTW: Lemon Ice Cream

On Memorial Day, almost as long as I can remember, we've done what I have deemed "The Memorial Day Memorial Tour".  (It might just be in my head that I call it that.)  My paternal Grandparents and Great-Grandparents and a few Great-Aunts and Uncles are buried near where my Dad grew up and Memorial Day is when we visit their graves, clean them up, and put new flowers.  My Grandpa and his two brothers both served in World War II so it totally makes sense to do on Memorial Day. (Also, the weather is nice and it's a long weekend and easy day to remember.)

For many years before I was married it was just my Dad and I who would make the hour trip up north.  Once I got married one of my sisters took over my role but in the last 8 or so years it's expanded to whoever can go.  My Mom goes and usually at least 3 of us girls, occasionally a baby (or a toddler in my case) have tagged along.  We visit the cemeteries, taste wine, and go to the same ice cream stand in my Dad's hometown. 

For many many many years I got the same thing - a lemon soft-serve.  It remains the only place I have ever seen lemon soft-serve and it was quite good.  Then I started trying fancier dipped flavors and haven't had the lemon soft-serve in a few years, but I still consider it every year when we stop.  (Usually my desire for chocolate wins out.)

This lemon ice cream reminds me of that lemon soft-serve and all the happy memories that come along with those trips.  I know, visiting cemeteries doesn't sound like a ton of fun but, one or two kids aside, it's one of the rare times a year I am with my parents and (at least a few) sisters without the pull of kids.  Combined we have 13 and being together without them is very, very rare.  We can actually finish a conversation on Memorial Day!  (kinda...there is still a lot of talking over each other and talking fast trying to get everything's the most we might get to talk for another year!).  My Dad shares memories of his parents and growing up.  It's just a few hours but the weekend wouldn't feel right without it. 

This ice cream was pretty easy to make, the hardest part for me was getting large pieces of lemon zest (and then fishing them out later).  But it was so good I was licking off the lemon peel after throwing pieces in my sink, pre-churning.  This is good, creamy, lemon goodness.  It has a lemon kick but a pleasant one and combined with the super creamy ice quickly became a favorite. 

We dug out waffle cones that had been buried in the back of the cupboard since last summer and enjoyed them during a break from Luke's pool playing.  It felt perfectly summery. 

Lemon Ice Cream
yield: about 1 quart
Lemon Simple Syrup:
-2-3 lemons (save the zest for below!)
-2 TB sugar

Ice Cream Base:
-2 cups whole milk
-1 TB + 1 tsp cornstarch
-1½ ounces (3TB) cream cheese, room temperature
-pinch of sea salt
-1¼ cup heavy cream
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 TB corn syrup
- zest of two lemons (from above)

1) Start with the lemon syrup.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove large pieces of the lemon peel and set aside.  Juice the 2-3 lemons, you'll need ½ cup of juice.  Stir together the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, just a few minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2) Measure the 2 cups of whole milk in a liquid measuring cup.  Pour about 2 TB of it into a small bowl and add the cornstarch, stirring to get a slurry.  Set milk and milk/cornstarch aside.

3) Put the cream cheese in a large bowl and add the salt, whisking until smooth.  Set aside.

4) Combine the milk (2 cups less about 2TB), heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.  Let boil for 4 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally.  After 4 minutes immediately remove from heat.  Stir in the milk/cornstarch and then return to a boil, stirring with a spatula, for about 1 minute.  It should thicken and easily coat the spatula.  Remove from heat.

5) Pour the stove mixture into the cream cheese bowl, whisking until smooth.  You need to chill this before churning and my preferred method is just putting it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  If you want it quicker, you can pour the ice cream mix into a gallon ziplock, press out air bubble and seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice cubes.  This will only take about 30 minutes but is a bit messier.

6) Once your mixture is chilled, prepare to churn.  Remove the lemon zest and pour into the base of your ice cream machine.  Add the lemon simple syrup with the machine churning.  Churn as instructed for your machine (mine is about 25-30 minutes).  When done scoop into a air tight container, press a piece of parchment paper over the top, getting out as many air bubble as possible, and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.  You may need to let sit on the counter 5-10 minutes before it is scoopable.


Source: A Jeni's recipe (she has the best ice cream) via Food52

In the summer I aim to make a different homemade ice cream (or other frozen treat) each week and report back here, good or bad!  I call it "Ice Cream of the Week".  You can follow the "ICOTW" tag to see them all chronologically or go to my "Recipes" page and scroll down to the "Ice Cream/Frozen Things" section for my favorites! 

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