I thought I had seen the last of the Meyer lemons for a while, but found some that were a little sad but still perfectly acceptable at Whole Foods the other day. I had no idea what I’d be using them for, but I figured they’d get used somehow.
It’s going to be very hard to go back to regular lemons after they’re REALLY gone.
The normal grocery store happened to have had blackberries on special this week, and they looked surprisingly fat and juicy, so I picked up a couple containers. Once I got the lemons home and saw the blackberries, I knew I had to put them together, even though I had originally bought the blackberries with something else in mind. That something happened to also have included liqueur, and I’d bought blackberry brandy to go with the fresh blackberries. So I figured I’d see if I could make a softer homemade ice cream by adding some brandy to the custard before freezing it.
It totally worked! There are no gigantic crystals crunching in your mouth when you eat this stuff. Though I will mention that the swirls are a bit harder than the swatches of creamy lemon ice cream – you could add a bit of the brandy to the stewed blackberries before swirling them in, if you want to try to keep it softer all the way through. It’s not hard to scoop or eat the way it is, however.
You could use one Meyer lemon and one regular lemon if you want a more sour lemon flavor, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The cream really brings out the floral notes in the Meyer lemon, making it taste refreshingly of lemons without making your mouth pucker. The blackberry also matches perfectly, providing a deliciously earthy backdrop to the lightly-flavored ice cream.
Meyer Lemon Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream
First, Make the Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest & juice of 2 Meyer Lemons
6 egg yolks
2 Tbsp blackberry brandy
Combine the cream, milk, sugar and lemon zest in a large saucepan and just bring to a low boil to dissolve the sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks and salt. Once the cream mixture has cooled a bit but is still very warm, whisk a quarter cup of it into the yolk mixture. Gradually add the rest of the cream mixture, whisking constantly. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened (not quite custard-like but enough to coat the back of a spoon). Do not allow it to boil. Return it to the bowl and whisk in the brandy and half of the lemon juice (set the rest aside for the blackberries). Allow to cool fully, stirring occasionally. Once completely cool, pour into a container, seal and freeze. In about 3 hours, stir the ice cream until any frozen chunks are broken down. Repeat every hour until the ice cream is semi-solid but still a little soft.
Then, Stew the Blackberries:
2 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Remaining lemon juice
Place the berries and water in a medium saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, gently shaking or stirring every few minutes to keep the berries from clumping together. Add the salt, sugar and lemon juice and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Allow to fully cool (the refrigerator can be your friend here) and drizzle 1/3-1/2 of the juice and berries into the ice cream, stirring until it is swirled throughout but not fully mixed. Refreeze and serve with remaining juice and berries poured over each serving.
So homemade ice cream is yet another thing that can be made better by adding booze. I’m going to keep this in mind and keep on experimenting with flavors, with or without an ice cream maker.
Speaking of which, what’s the best choice for a small but sturdy ice cream maker? Anyone?