10 July 2007

Ice Cream Memories

Making homemade ice cream has long been a tradition in my family. I remember the buzz of the ice cream maker on the front porch of my grandpa's lake house. My mom always made a recipe with sweetened condensed milk. The small, red and white Eagle Brand can of the syrupy milk still reminds me of the ice cream.

We seldom let the ice cream set up to get hard, leaving me with the impression that all homemade ice cream was soft, to be eaten only out of a bowl and never a cone.
My mom often topped her vanilla ice cream with fresh sliced strawberries or sometimes chunks were blended into the mixture.

Sure, ice cream isn't hard to come by. There's an ice cream shop and a Dairy Queen within walking distance of my house, not to mention the coolers full of the cream at my neighborhood Safeway. While I do enjoy a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, there's something magical about homemade ice cream.

Perhaps it's because the hum of the electric ice cream maker takes me back to my hot childhood summer evenings outside with my family at the lake. There's also a part of me who relishes the day I can pick up fresh berries at the farmer's market and turn them into the perfect summertime treat in a matter of hours. And every time I combine these five ingredients, I am transfixed by the simplicity of a recipe. Just a few humble ingredients, basic kitchen tools and the ice cream maker I bought for less than $20.

Sure, it takes some time to create, but frankly, what great memories don't?

1 1/3 cup milk
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup honey
1 egg
2 pints fresh blueberries

In a blender or food processor, puree half of the berries. Pour through a fine sieve, if desired.
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan combine cream, milk and honey. Gently warm, stirring to melt all honey. Remove from heat. Cool liquid mixture.
Seperate the egg white and yolk into two bowls. Beat the whites to soft peaks and set aside (about 2-3 minutes by hand). Beat the yolk until light yellow in color (about 45 seconds). Gently fold the yolk into the white. Set aside for a moment.
Fold the berry puree into the milk and cream mixture. Then fold the egg mixture in, being careful not to overmix. Add in the remaining whole berries.
Transfer the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and follow maker's instructions. Be sure to allow ice cream to set up for a few hours in the freezer once it is made.

Variation: Substitute any type of fresh berry or other fruits such as peaches (which would need the skins removed).

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