With Memorial Day behind us, it is now safe to take a few very important actions. First, we may all now wear white. Okay, who am I kidding? That rule’s long been defunct. Alright, then more importantly, we can break out the flip flops and sandals. Or, for the more daring among us, it’s time to don the skimpy swimwear. Speedos, anyone?
I, however, am most pleased to be celebrating the seasonal milestone that is marked by Memorial Day with the first of this summer’s ice cream recipes. Now, I won’t try to fool you. I eat ice cream every month of the year. Odd fact: I eat the greatest quantities of ice cream in the month of November. Why? Because that’s when Edy’s puts out their limited edition Pumpkin Ice Cream, which happens to be my favorite of all flavors. Oh baby!
Pumpkin aside, I’ve been searching for some rock star flavors to make at home; ones that include a locally grown ingredient. I have visions of basil ice cream and stevia chamomile tea ice cream dancing in my head. But to start things off with a real bang, I decided to put that freshly harvested honey to use in a Lemon Honey Ice Cream that is wickedly rich.
The original recipe came from Melissa at The Traveler’s Lunchbox (excellent blog you should check out) and called for ricotta cheese to thicken the cream instead of the usual egg custard. I kind of don’t like eggs so the idea of skipping the custard was enough to lure me in, although her photo was smashing as well. I read her note about American’s not having access to good ricotta and to beware. I wasn’t deterred. I found the best ricotta I could (an import from Italy) and gave the ice cream maker a whirl.
First, let’s put the suspense aside and tell you that this was an amazing flavor combination and the creaminess/consistency was even richer than a custard based ice cream. However, I think Melissa was right to warn about the quality of the ricotta. The texture was just a little grainy. It certainly didn’t stop me from eating four bowls in two days. But it would be something I’d like to change for the next time. Thus, I’ve adapted the recipe even further to call for half mascarpone cheese and half ricotta. It might be fine to just go for all mascarpone, but the thickness might suffer.
Playing with your food is a good thing, contrary to popular doctrine, and I plan on playing with this recipe a few times until it is absolute perfection. In the meantime, I didn’t want to hide this treasure from you. In addition to flavor, this recipe is such a great find for it’s quick and easy nature. With no eggs to cook, you can get the ingredients mixed and in the ice cream maker within ten minutes! So get creative with your frozen concoctions! Don’t stick with plain ol’ vanilla this summer (not that there’s anything wrong with a classic double scoop of vanilla on a cake cone).
And for those of you donning swimwear, let’s see the real depths of your daring nature! Grab a couple scoops of this luscious ice cream and still rock that suit! I’ll be sitting here in the shade, licking the bowl and humming “Summertime and the livin’ is easy…”
Honey Lemon Ice Cream
Adapted from Traveler’s Lunchbox
½ C. honey
1 t. lemon zest
8 oz. ricotta
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
2/3 C. milk
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
1 C. heavy whipping cream
3 T. powdered sugar
In a large bowl, combine the honey, lemon zest, ricotta, mascarpone, milk, and pinch of salt. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the bean specks inside and add to the honey milk mixture. Set mixture aside.
In a clean bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and whip for another minute. Fold whipped cream into the honey milk mixture. Taste the mixture for sweetness. It should be slightly sweeter than you’d like since the sweetness will mellow in the freezer. If desired, add more honey.
Place mixture in ice cream maker and follow manufacture’s directions. When serving, drizzle scoops of ice cream with additional honey.
(makes 1 quart)