Lemon Ice Cream

My 3-1/2 year old nephew tells me that he likes foods that are “chuicy” (his version of juicy). Me? I like sweet + sour, so things like lemonade, lemon pie,and lemon ice cream are no brainers. A few months ago, a co-worker brought in some Meyer lemons and I went crazy making pies.

It’s been beyond busy at work this week and last night seemed like a good night to make a new batch of ice cream. I had some lemons and some leftover buttermilk (from a baking recipe that didn’t quite work out) and remembered a recipe I had Pinned recently. I made a few alterations and the result was crazy delicious.

I started by zesting and juicing five lemons, ending up with about 2 tablespoons of zest and 2/3 cup of juice. I stirred these together and added about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger (I heart ginger). For me, the only downside to the final product is that the ginger didn’t come through, so I’ll double it next time.

I added 1-1/2 cups of sugar and the equivalent of 4 cups of buttermilk to the juice mixture. One of my not-so-great kitchen habits is not reading recipes carefully before starting and I didn’t have as much buttermilk as the recipe called for. I did a little online research and found some tips for creating substitutions:

  • add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar to 1 cup of regular milk, stir to dissolve the cream of tartar
  • add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (white, apple cider, or rice vinegar) to 1 cup of regular milk; let stand for 5 minutes
  • add 3/4 cup of sour cream or plain yogurt to 1/4 cup of regular milk; stir until there are no lumps

I chose the cream of tartar and mixed it with cream for a richer ice cream.

After the combination chilled for a couple hours in the refrigerator, I ran it through the ice cream maker for about 25 minutes. The finished product is always a little soft, so I transfer it into an air-tight container and let it freeze for several hours. Not only is the texture better after freezing, the flavor intensifies as well. Before you get too impressed with my patience: the ice cream rarely gets to the freezer without my tasting a spoonful. I am only human, after all!

Broken pieces of ginger snaps, graham crackers, or anything else you’d like to mix in work best after the ice cream churns but before it goes into the freezer. I froze this batch without anything added, but served it with toasted coconut cookie thins from Trader Joe’s. The coconut mellows out the intense lemon tang; it’s a great combination!

Another tip is that zest doesn’t always mix evenly during the churn process–it sometimes sticks to the paddle. It’s easy to scrape off when transferring to a container, but you can add the zest after churning while the ice cream is still soft. This also applies to little pieces of fruit, fruit skin, and berry seeds. For a smoother ice cream, those items can be strained out altogether prior to churning. Now if someone could give me some tips on getting the little bits out of a fine sieve, I would be thrilled!

What are your favorite flavors of ice cream?

2 thoughts on “Lemon Ice Cream

  1. Note to self: do not read these amazing ice cream making posts before bedtime. You don’t even know how badly I want to get in my car and head up there to raid your freezer right now! Yum!!

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