04 August 2010

A cool summer treat

About six years ago, I gave Seth an ice cream maker for his birthday. I didn't expect him to start making summertime desserts, but I thought the gesture was sweet because I could make him ice cream. He does help, taking the outdoor (or bath tub in the winter time) duty of packing the ice and rock salt and checking on the machine waiting for the gentle hum to turn to a slow whine when the ice cream is done.

Of course, they make quieter, more compact and less messy ice cream machines that do all that work just sitting on your kitchen counter. I don't mind packing the ice, it's the way my mom makes ice cream, so it always seemed to be the right way to me. Besides, hanging around outside watching the bucket sweat and a slow stream of salty water run away from the machine is part of the anticipation of the summertime treat.

Marionberries are an Oregon fruit similar to a blackberry.

Running the berry puree through a fine sieve will eliminate seeds from your ice cream. This step can be skipped if you don't mind the seeds.

Over the years I've tried several ice cream recipes. I tend to like fruit-flavors mostly, settling on a heavenly peach, blueberry, raspberry and just last weekend, marionberry. Some recipes have eggs, others don't. Some call for the eggs to remain raw, while others call for a slow heating, to make a custard. Those recipes are generally richer, and pretty darn delicious.

But sometimes you need a quick and low-pressure recipe. Folks, this is it. It doesn't get much simpler than this. The only downside I've found is that I don't think this recipe holds as well, meaning that a day or two after you make it, the texture just isn't quite as good as when it's fresh.
So, to remedy this, make it for a crowd, so you have nothing but an empty canister left when you're finished.

This recipe can easily be modified for any flavor profile, and because it's simply equal parts milk and cream, you can make as large or small a batch as you like.

Marionberry Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 pint of marionberries (or any other type of ripe berry)
Approx. 3/4 cup sugar (baker's sugar is best but white sugar works)
Pinch of salt

Rinse and drain berries. Puree in a food processor or blender. To eliminate seeds, press berry puree through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Add sugar to the puree by the 1/4 cup and whisking until sugar is dissolved (This will happen more quickly with the baker's sugar because of its finer granules). Taste as you add sugar as exact amount will depend on the sweetness of the berries. Combine the milk and cream in a bowl and add berry puree. Add a pinch of salt. Stir.

Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's directions.

This ice cream could be eaten immediately as a very soft ice cream. Or transfer to a freezer-safe container and allow to set up for 4 to 6 hours.

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