Blackberry ice cream
I have two recipes for you today. One of them is really just a variant on the vanilla bean ice cream I posted about last year. But since it's still summery outside, you still have time to use your late-summer berries (and your vanilla beans---Beth) to make Berry ice cream. Oh, it's so good. I like the tart berry flavor combined with the sweet custard of the ice cream.
I've tried this with both blackberries and raspberries, and I like the raspberry flavor best. But both are so nice, honey.
Berry Ice Cream (recipe from here)
4 cups fresh blackberries or raspberries
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 T. vanilla or vanilla bean paste)
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Add blackberries to a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice.* Cook over low heat, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain using a fine mesh strainer, pressing berries to extract as much juice/puree as possible. Set aside.
*Another method I've used is simply to puree the sugar, berries, and lemon in a blender. Then put them through a strainer to remove some of the seeds. With the raspberries, I've never been able to remove ALL the seeds (my strainer is not fine enough), but I still think it improves the ice cream to have fewer seeds.
2. Heat half-and-half, 1 cup sugar, and seeds from vanilla bean in a separate saucepan over low heat. Turn off heat when mixture is very hot---not quite boiling.
3. Add heavy cream to a separate bowl.
4. Beat egg yolks by hand or with an electric mixer until yolks are pale yellow and slightly thick.
5. Temper the egg yolks by slowly drizzling in 1 1/2 cups of hot half-and-half mixture, whisking constantly. After that, pour the egg yolk/half-and-half mixture into the pan containing the rest of the half-and-half mixture. Cook over low to medium-low heat until quite thick and pudding-y, stirring constantly. Drain custard using a fine mesh strainer, then pour into the bowl with the cream. Stir to combine.
6. Add blackberry juice/puree to the cream/custard mixture and stir. Chill mixture completely, then freeze in an ice cream maker until thick. Place container in freezer to harden for an additional two hours.
Raspberry Ice Cream
"But!" you protest. "What am I to do with all the egg whites I have left over when I make this ice cream?" Ah yes, that's just what I worry about whenever I use egg yolks. And here is the solution: angel food cake. It's not hard to make (if you have a stand mixer to beat your egg whites, and an angel food cake pan) and it's SO good. Good with the ice cream, if you wish; certainly with berries; and (my favorite) with lemon curd. We ate some on a picnic the other day, and it was a perfect picnic food---it transports easily, and you can pick it up with your hands and dip it in the lemon curd without ever needing a plate or a fork.
Frankly, I've always been a fan of cake mixes. They work so well (one of my Home Ec. teachers at BYU told us that when they were testing kitchen appliances/equipment at Underwriter's Lab, they had to stop using cake mixes because you just can't mess them up) and they're easy and they're just as good as (most) cakes from scratch I've made. But . . . I think I must change my tune with this recipe. It's incredibly light and fluffy, but it also has more depth and moistness than the cake-mix angel food. It's spongy, but not stretchy. Hard to describe. I LOVE it, anyway.
This calls for lots of egg whites---10 or 12 of them. I happened to be making great quantities of ice cream recently, so I had enough egg whites left over from the yolks I'd used. But if you're making just a single batch of ice cream, you'll have to supplement with additional egg whites. Which will leave you with yolks left over. Which will necessitate you soon making MORE ice cream. WHERE WILL IT END??! But it's not a problem you mind having, right?
Angel Food Cake (recipe from here)
1 1/2 c. egg whites (10-12), at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 t. almond extract
In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 c. sugar and cake flour. Set aside.
Beat egg whites in stand mixer until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until fully mixed, and ten add the remaining 3/4 c. sugar 1-2 T. at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites to soft peaks. (They will look like soft waves, and when you lift the beaters, the egg whites will droop back down into the batter---not fall down in ribbons.) Once you have soft peaks, add vanilla and almond and beat for a few seconds to distribute.
Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites in 6-8 additions and gently fold it in after each addition. Do it with a spatula and be very slow and gentle so as not to delate the eggs.
Spoon batter into a 9-inch tube pan with a removeable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.
Remove from oven, invert pan over a bottle, and allow to cool completely. Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom, of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it. Slice with a serrated bread knife, and serve with berries, cream, or lemon curd.