Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

Its National Ice Cream month. So of course I have to commemorate the event by making some homemade ice cream. At first, I was thinking of slapping some store-bought vanilla ice cream on some of my Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies I just made the other day to make some ice cream sammies. Or just make some of my Orange Ice Cream. But I thought I should try something new.

On our recent trip to Las Vegas, we visited one of the casino-resorts that had an ice cream shop that was advertising Blueberry Pie shake. That reminded me of my childhood, when my dad used to treat us to a scoop of ice cream from what used to be Thrifty Drug store (its Rite-Aid now). Back then, they used to have a Blueberry Pie flavor that I loved. They don't serve it anymore, but I sure miss it and I always look out for a similar flavor. So when I saw the Blueberry Pie shake at the ice cream shop, I thought why not make it myself. I did a quick search and found this recipe from Grin and Bake It.

This is an egg-based ice cream. I usually steer clear of any custard based ice cream because they never turn out right for me. The custard mixture usually curdles up on me. And this time, the mixture sort of separated, making the mixture too thin. Luckily, this recipe came with lots of notes to help for a successful batch. It turns out, the mixture separating happens often. So I followed the notes by continuing to heat the custard mixture and it began to curdle, which the recipe says is okay because the churning will smooth it out. Safe.

My next obstacle was the churning process. My first attempt at churning the custard mixture failed because my ice wasn't "cold" enough, if you can believe that. The custard didn't fluff up. I had run out of the rock salt, which I think is key to keeping the ice really cold. So after buying a new box of rock salt, I completed the churning process the next day and was finally able to have a fluffy mixture to complete the ice cream. I used the recipe's blueberry pie filling, but you can definitely also use a canned pie filling to save time. The final product was a yummy frozen treat, reminiscent of my youth, eating blueberry pie ice cream from the drug store. I'm definitely making this again.

Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
graham crackers, crushed or chopped into small pieces (about 3/4 cup)

Blueberry filling
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/8 cup confectioner's sugar
1/8 cup water

1) To make the ice cream, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan. Scald milk over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.

2) While the milk is cooking, whisk eggs yolks in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. Temper the milk by whisking in a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring often. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and cool in an ice bath for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

3) While custard is cooling, combine cream and vanilla in a separate bowl. Stir cream into cooled custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until completely chilled, from 4 hours up to 3 days.

4) To make the blueberry filling, combine blueberries, confectioner's sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stirring occasionally. Mixture should begin to thicken around 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Use immediately or refrigerate.

5) Freeze chilled custard in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions. Add graham cracker pieces at the last minute of churning, just until mixed. In an airtight container, layer ice cream and blueberry filling. Freeze for a few hours to overnight before serving.

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