Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you will remember how happy I was to see that Jeni's Ice Cream was participating in the Food and Wine Celebration that I attended this year. If you have never tried her product I pity you. It really is the creamiest, smoothest ice cream I have ever tasted. So, you can imagine how excited I was to find this article on the Food & Wine site featuring Jeni along with a few of her recipes! I have already made the Vanilla Bean recipe, in which I followed the exact instructions. It turned out perfectly!

This week I hosted the last summer Stitch n' Bitch. I wanted to have a really special treat for my girls and we had talked about making Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. Knowing that Jeni's recipe was a good based to use, I added the verbena from my garden. Here are a few pictures of the verbena.

For this recipe I used 2% milk in place of the whole milk to see if I could lighten up the calories and fat without losing the creaminess. I think it tasted about the same as the original. I love the fact that there are no eggs in her recipes, it cooks up very quickly. Be sure to chill the base till quite cold as well as to freeze the dasher at least 20-30 minutes.

I served the ice cream along with some Blueberry Angelfood Muffins. I will post about the muffins later, they were very good, but just an experiment. The combination of lemon and blueberry is always a winner. Here is the ice cream recipe with step-by-step photos.

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
makes about 3 1/2 cups

2 cups 2 % milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup of verbena leaves, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Rinse the fresh verbena leaves under cold running water, then swish in a bowl of cold water to remove any unwanted critters or dirt from the garden. Then give them a good spin in the salad spinner and lay out on a towel to dry. Reserve about 4 large leaves to add in later. Just before you are ready to add them to the milk mixture, give the rest of the leaves a rough chop.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes.Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt and stir in the chopped leaves. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes (it took my mixture closer to 30 minutes to get cold).

Roll the 4 leaves that you reserved up tightly and cut into very thin slivers. After you strain the ice cream base add the slivers to the mixture and then pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container. (I strained mine through a fine sieve into another bowl, pressing quite a bit on the leaves to extract to flavor. Then I added the finely chopped leaves and poured it into the machine. This was just an easier, less messy option for me).

Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

You will really enjoy the taste of this ice cream. Just the right amount of lemony flavor and oh, so creamy. Thanks Jeni!

note: I will be posting on the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Blueberry Anglefood Muffins shortly, stay tuned!


maybelle's mom said...

oh, this looks wonderful.

kat said...

what a treat!

thehungryengineer said...

I love lemon verbena ... neat idea using it in an ice cream ... I bet it was very refreshing, and it certainly looks wonderful!

If you don't mind me asking, which ice cream maker do you use? I've been trying off and on for a while to make good ice cream, but can't ever get mine to turn out quite right. After some very explicit direction-following on my part, I've come to the conclusion that it *might* be the equipment that I'm using.

Any help is appreciated!!

Kimi said...

HG, I have a Cuisinart ICE-25 Classic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker that I purchased this year. If you go to the June, "Strawberries Galore!" post you will see a picture of it. I have been very happy with it. Hope that helps and thanks for the comment.

Mom and Kat, thanks for stopping by!

Brilynn said...

Nothing compares to homemade ice cream, this sounds fabulous!

Tom Aarons said...

What a great idea. And your photos of the verbena and the cooking are just beautiful!

Lauren said...

I'm wondering if lemon verbena and lemon balm could be used interchangeably? I've seen a lot of balm here but not so much of the lemon verbena (fresh at least) and would love to try this. hmm . . .