Buttermilk Ice Cream

I like my sweets to have a little tang to them. This particular ice cream is so rich from the egg yolks with just a little sour kick in each bite. It is absolutely delicious with stone fruits like pluots or apricots or summer berries, and killer when drizzled with a nice balsamic reduction and honey.

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

2 cups heavy cream
1.25 cups sugar
6 – 12 large egg yolks (the more the richer!)
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt

Small stock pot or large saucepan
Large mixing bowl, preferably glass
Ice cream maker or KitchenAid with ice cream maker
Quart size or larger container with lid
Chinois or fine mesh strainer

In the small stock pot or large saucepan, whisk the heavy cream and one cup of sugar together and bring to a simmer (160°F) over medium-low heat. Bring it up to temp slowly; high heat will burn the milk solids at the bottom of the pan and you’ll have to start over.

If you are not particularly good at eyeballing a pot of liquid and just knowing the temperature, use a thermometer. Making ice cream base is simple, but if you cut corners and make uneducated guesses, it will become a frustrating mess in a snap. I prefer to use a probe thermometer with an alarm when I’m at home. I can set it to go off at whatever desired temperature and go set up the rest of the recipe without fear of scalding my cream. It’s a grand $7 purchase at IKEA, and so worth it!

Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until a little foamy. If you used refrigerated eggs, let this mixture sit out on the counter to warm.

Now we’re going to employ a very useful technique in making sauces and custards called tempering. Often times recipes will ask you to combine a very hot and a very cold liquid that contains egg, and if you just go for it, the egg will curdle and you will have to start all over again. And that, as you probably know, is a big reason why a lot of people do not cook: if you miss a major detail, the whole thing’s ruined and you’re still hungry!

So, in sum, don’t cook hungry. (Or snack the whole time.) And don’t forget to use tempering when combining hot and cold when eggs, acids, and dairy products are involved.

So, back to making ice cream: We have this bowl with coldish, sugary egg yolks and this saucepan with hot, sugary cream. We want to combine them without curdling, so place your bowl of egg yolk on a towel to secure it and have your whisk ready and waiting in that bowl. Start whisking and pour in just a little bit of the hot cream. Do not stop whisking until it is completely incorporated. Repeat until the sides of the egg bowl are warm, meaning that you have successfully brought the yolks to a higher temperature without coagulation.

Now, place the pot of cream back on the stove and have your whisk ready in that. While whisking, pour the tempered egg yolks back into the cream. Turn the heat back on medium-low and stir slowly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Let the mixture cool in the fridge uncovered until thoroughly chilled, 1-2 hours. For the best result, now cover it with a lid and chill overnight.

Spin the chilled mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Watch hungrily as it looks more and more like ice cream! It is finished exactly when you think it is; that is, when it is as thick as you’d like it to be. Use a spatula to get all of the ice cream back into your lidded container, close it up, and freeze it for an hour or so until it has set.

Scoop and enjoy!

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