I’ve been thinking about making this ice cream flavor since last fall. Yes, I do think about ice cream all year long and even in the cold of February, it’s still an awesome food as far as I’m concerned. At some point in the early winter, Meyer lemons become available and with their not-so-tart flavor and juicier insides, they seemed to be a perfect fit for ice cream. So I kept thinking about the ice cream, and even bought lemons. But I never made the ice cream. The lemons rotted in my fridge. I thought my opportunity was lost for yet another year.
But, I recently found Meyer lemons in Kings. Not sure what happened there with the seasons, but I jumped at the chance to work out my theory that if blueberry and lemon pair well in vodka or beer, then why not ice cream. I did have to try this twice, and while the result is not exactly what I was looking for, or expecting, I can’t say I was disappointed.
What I was hoping for was a soft, lemon-flavored ice cream with a swirl of blueberry. What I ended up with was an inexplicable bonus; ice cream that tastes like blueberry pie. Yes, there is a lemon base, and I even managed to use lemon juice without creating a custard and without causing curdling, but when combined with the blueberry, the result is blueberry pie. That’s what I call a double bonus. I love blueberry pie and am too lazy to make custard-style ice cream.
So, while blueberry season is still here, and if you can find Meyer lemons, this is worth trying. If the Meyer lemon window is closed, you can still use frozen blueberries in the winter when the lemons return and make the ice cream.
Blueberry Pie Ice Cream
For Ice Cream:
1 cup sugar
Zest from 1 Meyer lemon and juice from half of that lemon
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups heavy cream
For Blueberry Swirl:
3 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
The first thing to do is make the blueberry swirl. Simply rinse the blueberries and place in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and a little bit of water, maybe 3 tablespoons.
Put the heat on low, and let the blueberries start to cook. Stirring occasionally, keep them cooking until they get soft and start to develop liquid. When they are “mashable” remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, purée in a small food processor or with an immersion blender. Place in refrigerator to cool. This can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, or if it’s my kitchen, a week.
While the blueberries are cooling, start the ice cream.
In the work bowl of a food processor, place the sugar, zest and juice. Process until the zest is very fine and the liquid is absorbed by the sugar. About 15 seconds.
Next, add milk to the food processor and process again for another 15-20 seconds. Place the mixture that was in the food processor in a large bowl. Then add the heavy cream and stir together. At this point, the sugar should mostly be dissolved.
Once combined, add liquid to the freezer bowl of ice cream maker.
Process for 20-30 minutes until just about set. At the last bit of processing, add the blueberry liquid very slowly and wait between additions. Don’t over mix–just do enough to incorporate through the lemon.
Notes from my experience:
I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe, but I’m not giving up on deeper lemon flavors.
When I told my kids I was working on lemon blueberry ice cream, they looked at me like I was nuts. When it was done and I said it was blueberry pie ice cream, that was just a game changer.
I may have to try putting some of this into a small graham cracker crust and seeing what that’s like. Yes. That’s the next step for sure.