Ice cream is often called the great American dessert. In America, the first record of ice cream appears in a letter written in 1700 by a guest of Gov. Bladen of Maryland. By 1790, ice cream was a favorite treat of Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. No one can identify a single moment or place where ice cream was discovered. Alexander the Great is said to have enjoyed snow and ice that was flavored with honey and nectar.
Let's fast forward to Minot. More than likely ice cream was served at the first parade in Minot. I wonder if anyone took the time to flavor it with juneberries?
There is probably no other dessert that has waltzed through a great variety of parties like ice cream. Its instantaneous adventure of rich creaminess and lively chill has made many appearances at parades, birthday parties, family gatherings on the porch, and even weddings. At my parents' wedding nearly 60 years ago, a wedding slipper was fashioned out of ice cream. As guests received their slice of wedding cake, a very neat column of ice cream wrapped in waxed paper was extracted from a bridal pump mold. Now don't try telling me that finding your sole mate was a 1990s influence!
The beauty of ice cream is that it can be eaten year-round and it tastes as good in the chill of winter as it does in the heat of summer. Do you know how many bowls of ice cream our family enjoyed while watching episodes of Cannon, Gunsmoke, Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda? I somehow have to believe that Frank Cannon, who usually drove the classic silver '71 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, would have equally classic taste for ice cream. What do you think - butter pecan?
According to the USDA, per-person ice cream consumption peaked at 23 pounds in 1946. Currently according to the USDA, the United States produces about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream each year. That's 21 quarts per person. Even though we just had a cool Memorial Day weekend, don't worry - the dog days of summer are going to be at your front door sometime this summer! You will want to ready to create flurries of ice crystals which will be followed by great clouds of thick delicious homemade ice cream - who knows, some may even be pink!
As respectable as store-bought ice creams can be, homemade ice cream is still in a class by itself. Making homemade ice cream is not complicated and for many it is a fun family venture. It is the perfect way to engage young and old in a physical activity - especially if you crank it by hand. You can bet conversation is bright as all wait for the ice cream to be done.
Blueberry-Lemon-Sour Cream Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups light cream plus 2 tablespoon of heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
Yolks of 5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a kettle over medium heat, cook blueberries with the lemon juice and one-fourth cup sugar until berries soften, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and then pour half the berries into a bowl. Set all berries aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring cream and lemon zest to a simmer, and then remove from heat. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with remaining one-half cup sugar until pale and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes. Pour one-half cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking as you go, then transfer it all back into the pot to create a loose custard.
Now back to the blueberries. At this point, stir in half of the blueberries. Heat the custard over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. At this point, you will begin to notice that it has started to thicken and this should make you smile!
Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and salt, and pour through a strainer into a bowl, mashing the blueberries with the back of your spoon to release the juice. The color will be stunning. Place in refrigerator to chill for 6 to 12 hours.
Once mixture is completed chilling, it should register between 35 and 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Pour into ice-cream maker, leave 1 inch at the top of allow for expansion, prepare according to freezer instructions. Add remaining blueberries during the final 5 minutes of chilling.
This will make about 5 cups.
If you have not experienced the delight of an instant-read thermometer, I would suggest that you invest in one. This inexpensive little handy device is an easy way to fail-proof your results.
The first thing one may realize when making ice cream is that it takes patience. There is also a skill to the process - an order of steps - just like the process of making homemade noodles that allows everything to click into the right order at the right promptness. It is important to control the freezing process, producing ice crystals quickly enough to freeze your base, but not so quickly that you create unfriendly ice chunks. Over the years I have learned that you get a better texture if the base is chilled for several hours in the refrigerator before freezing. I realize this is a waiting game, and it is the perfect time to clean out and rearrange your spice cabinet.
Fat in the ice cream mixture is good and it creates a creamy texture. However, you do not want to add too much because you will find an unpleasant film clinging to your spoon and mouth. It is for this very reason to use light cream with a touch of heavy cream added. Measuring the sugar correctly is very important as this helps to prevent ice chunks; however, add too much and the ice cream won't freeze properly.
Please note that many folks make ice cream in what is called the plain or "Philadelphia" style of ice creams, made with just milk and cream. The custard or "French" ice creams are made with eggs, and I believe work best in home ice-cream makers.
When you have the desire to make homemade ice cream, you must get ready to meet your maker. Who would have ever thought that dessert duty could have such a heavenly flair? There are plenty of ice cream makers out there, and it does take a bit of a knack to achieve just the right ratio of rock salt to ice in the frozen mixture surrounding the custard. Too much or too little either way, and you will end up with soup! If you know of someone who makes ice cream, encourage them to help you the first few times and also get their advice on a maker that will suit your needs. Once you have mastered this process, you will be able to churn out great homemade ice cream that gets everyone at the gingham table involved.
If you want to experience a homemade ice cream that is stunning in taste and color rich like vintage cabernet, Blueberry-Lemon-Sour Cream Ice Cream is the one to try. It does take a bit of time to make, so please allow 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 6 to 12 hours chilling time, plus the actual churning time. But, worth every minute!
This recipe came from a cozy inn in Maine, and it arrived at the table with three lavender purple scoops dotted with blueberries in a white bowl which had been lined with very thin lemon slices and a sprig of mint sitting on top like a summer hat. Beneath it, a large saucer was ringed with a fresh blueberry necklace to complete the ensemble.
Let us take a minute to study this presentation. As you know by now, we eat with our eyes first. Purple and yellow are direct complimentary colors on the color wheel and then we have the contrast of dark, full, round blueberries against pure white china. What fun! How soothingly cool, and certainly spellbinding, for your gathered guests. It is the perfect example of balance and moderation when highlighting the goodness of our earth's summer bounty.