Sour Cream Ice Cream

I first had sour cream ice cream 7 years ago at Prune in NYC. It came with a molten chocolate cake and was surprisingly delicious. So when I got an ice cream maker and started looking for flavor ideas, I didn’t hesitate to bookmark Gale Gand’s sour cream ice cream recipe. (In case you missed it, read what Michael wrote after meeting Gale Gand here.)

I didn’t have a pound of sour cream as the recipe called for, so I made up my own version on the spot. I added lemon zest and very little sugar, so it made a nice, tart ice cream perfect for serving with berries. Or molten chocolate cake,

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which Gale Gand can also help you out with (see here).

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Vanilla Black Tea Whiskey Ice Cream

black-tea-ice-cream

Last Christmas, Michael’s mom bought us some loose-leaf black tea from Mariage Frères. The blend smelled sweetly intoxicating with strong vanilla and caramel notes. Mary got it with ice cream in mind, and her idea was dead on. Problem was I looked to a recipe that called for eight egg yolks, and the result was nearly too rich to bear. The flavor was great (especially with the shot of brandy we added), but I felt sick after eating what was essentially a scoop of frozen cholesterol.

The idea of tea ice cream stuck. This summer I made green tea lychee and Thai iced tea flavors.

Then last week I found a Tealosophy Vanilla Tiger tea in my parents’ cupboard. I made myself a cup with milk and sugar, imagining it as ice cream with every sip.

Using a combination of heavy cream and milk, along with a more reasonable four egg yolks, and this time a shot of whiskey, the resulting ice cream was lusciously, but not sickeningly, creamy.

It doesn’t have the warming properties of a nice cuppa tea, but the flavor is just as comforting.

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Banana Milkshakes, or I Can't Believe It's Not Ice Cream

banana-milkshake
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People laughed when they found out I packed an immersion blender for my stay in Buenos Aires. Well, I'm happy to report that it has been getting plenty of use. Pureeing butternut squash and whipping cardamom cream, but most often to make banana milkshakes.

Now, I wouldn't normally consider a banana and half a glass of milk to be dessert. In fact, I would have scoffed at the idea two months ago. But, folks, it's just like ice cream! When you blend a frozen banana with milk, it comes out thick and creamy like any great shake. Many others have probably learned this before me, but in case you haven't tried it, get some bananas in the freezer, stat!

Sometimes I put a spoonful of dulce de leche in it, and it's still the healthiest dessert I love to eat.

The immersion blender, by the way, has been a great thing to have. It makes frozen drinks easily and without the mess of a larger appliance. And if you've ever tried to puree soup in batches using a regular blender, as I did once, you know it's not a fun process. My immersion blender has a whisk attachment and another attachment for chopping. It's pretty snazzy, and doesn't take up much room in your suitcase, you know, should you ever have the need…

(And no, this isn't a paid endorsement. If anything it's an extra thank you to my mom for last year's Christmas gift.)

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Cantaloupe Ice

cantaloupe-iceSome might call this granitas. Among certain company, I might, too. But when it comes down to it, it’s ice, and anyone can make ice. Not to mention, granitas just sounds too fancy for something inspired by an old cantaloupe.

Now, it wasn’t so old it had gotten moldy in any way, but it was extremely overripe, which means it had an overpowering flavor that I just found inedible (though not as terrible as the overripe kiwi I once tried. Imagine artificial kiwi flavor on steroids.) Anyway, the cantaloupe wasn’t bad, it was just too cantaloupey.

So I put it in a blender with a squeeze of honey, stirred in chopped mint and let it freeze, knowing cold dulls the taste of things. When it was solid, I scraped it with a fork to get tiny ice shavings that melted instantly in your mouth, leaving behind a manageable flavor of cantaloupe — that almost floral quality of melon eventually being joined by mint. I found myself eating it slowly (rare for me) and enjoying its refreshing properties.

This method can, of course, be applied to any combination of fruit and flavors. Try Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet in this way if you don’t have an ice cream maker.

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Green Tea Lychee Ice Cream

Lychee, if you’ve never had it, is an interesting little fruit that has a floral-like taste.

Michael is the one who picked up canned lychees with ice cream in mind, but he wasn’t around to experience it. Before Michael left for Chicago, we explored Hong Kong Market in Columbia. I usually go to Chong’s Oriental Market because it’s walkable from my house and where I work. Hong Kong Market is on the edge of town, but it is bigger, has a more options and is less expensive.

Anyway, we never got around to making lychee ice cream while Michael was still in town. A few weeks later, I decided to pair it with matcha (green tea) my sister brought home from Japan. I love the green tea ice cream at Sparky’s, and I’d been thinking about making matcha-mango ice cream until remembering the lychees that needed to be used.

The lychees gave the green tea a new dimension. Like I said, I find them to be almost floral. The flavors together make a nice, light finish to a meal or a not-too-sweet afternoon dessert.

It is National Ice Cream Month in the U.S., but of course we welcome everyone to celebrate with us. Any suggestions for new flavors we should create?

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Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet

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My parents’ house used to have the best lemon tree. I’m sure these lemons would have won a contest of some sort had I entered them. The tree produced absurdly large lemons. Bigger than grapefruits and more interesting shapes, too.

Besides comedic value, the tree offered an endless supply for lemonade, and last summer I started to get creative. The best flavor I made was Strawberry Basil Lemonade.

As soon as I got my ice cream maker I knew I’d have to recreate the flavor in sorbet form. Finally I bought huge package of strawberries and the biggest lemon I could find in the store (still a dwarf compared to our tree’s best). I also picked some of the basil I’ve been growing. It was on.

You can make extra lemon-basil simple syrup to flavor the strawberry sorbet and have some left over for great summer drinks. Add it to iced tea or invent some cocktails. Continue reading “Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet”