Photo By: Garrett Miller/Special to the Town Crier
Homemade ice cream is an increasingly popular trend, and it’s not hard to see why. Who doesn’t love ice cream in summer? And ice cream can incorporate the sweet summer fruits that peak in ripeness just when we start seeking refreshing ways to cool off.
With many affordable home ice-cream makers available (as well as cheaper alternative do-it-yourself methods) ice-cream lovers can easily whip up a pint of their own creation in as few as 30 minutes.
For me, this means re-creating an old favorite from childhood, when my family used to vacation in Maine every summer. Besides being a picturesque New England vacation spot, Maine was our way of reconnecting with our entirely East Coast-based family. And during the family reunions that unfolded as relatives from New York, Pennsylvania and Florida trickled in to converge on the town of New Harbor, we ate a lot of great meals together.
The food highlight wasn’t lobster rolls, chowder or baked goods studded with wild blueberries – it was all about the ice cream. My personal favorite was always black raspberry, a ubiquitous flavor on the East Coast that was nearly impossible to find at home, which only made it more special.
We stopped spending our summers in Maine many years ago, and I haven’t been back since. Nor had I tasted the sweet, creamy, lavender-hued frozen confection I so fondly remembered. Then, a recent surge of nostalgia hit me like a crushing Atlantic wave: I missed the family visits, the rocky beaches and, yes, the ice cream.
This year, I wanted another taste of the summers I remembered. And because I couldn’t buy my beloved black raspberry ice cream at the store, I decided to make it myself.
The basic formula of one part sugar, two parts milk and four parts heavy cream yields a base from which endless variations can be explored with the addition of fruits, nuts and other flavorings. To re-create my old favorite, I added egg yolks for richness, cardamom for a little complexity and a puree of fresh farmers’ market blackberries (the closest substitute to black raspberries I could find) to give my ice cream a luscious berry tang and all-natural purple color.
Sweet, refreshing and my perfect little taste of Maine – at least until I work up the nerve to tackle those lobster rolls.
Garrett Miller is a freelance writer, food blogger and graduate of Los Altos High School and UC Santa Cruz. For more of his comfort-food recipes, visit www.noodletherapy.com.
Creamy Blackberry Ice Cream
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup whole milk
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 12 ounces fresh blackberries
• 5 egg yolks
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
Whisk egg yolks, cardamom and salt together in small bowl.
In saucepan, heat milk and sugar with 1 cup cream over medium-low heat until just below simmering (approximately 175 F). You should see small bubbles starting to form and mixture should coat the back of a spoon.
Pour a small amount of hot liquid into bowl with eggs, whisking vigorously. Return to saucepan and stir to combine. Remove from heat and, in medium bowl, whisk into remaining cream and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, puree blackberries in blender or food processor and strain through fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds. Stir into cooled custard, then cover and refrigerate ice-cream base for four hours.
Now your ice-cream base is ready to finish in an ice-cream machine or other freezing method.
Makes 1 quart.