I have a prediction and I can almost guarantee it will come true. Guar – an – tee. Like sure enough that if I was a betting woman and if they placed bets on things like ice cream or cookbooks or ice cream cookbooks, I would clean up in Vegas.
The internet is soon going to become overrun with recipes pulled from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book. For real. It’s going to hit big and it’s going to hit hard, maybe not with the same strength as No-Knead Bread or the New York Times chocolate chip cookies, but strong all the same. This time I am on the cutting edge, not joining in the club two years after it has formed.
“What is the big deal?”, you might ask. Have you ever made ice cream? Used lots of yolks, and had to strain out the scrambled bits? Made a truly delicious treat but with just a bit more iciness than you would like in your ice cream? This woman, Jeni, she has been making ice cream for years and she has nine ice cream shops (and counting) to prove that she knows her stuff. She doesn’t use eggs. At all. What she does is use a bit of cream cheese and cornstarch and a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup. The cooking method is streamlined – milk and cream get boiled together for exactly four minutes. A cornstarch slurry is stirred in and then the mixture boils for exactly another minute. Whisk the whole thing into cream cheese with a bit of salt, and you have the base for your ice cream. I’ve always thought that making ice cream was so easy for how delicious it is – now I think it’s even easier.
In addition to coming up with and streamlining this process, Jeni has shared her treasure trove of recipes in a delightful book. They are arranged seasonally – seasonal ice creams! Who knew? I’m a person who likes to chew when eating ice cream and I love that there are plenty of add-ins, mix-ins, and pairings that make even the most routine flavor exciting.
Graham’s eyes got really big when he saw the cover of the book. He immediately pointed to the scoop that looked like it had cherries in it. We made Cherry Crisp Ice Cream. We roasted cherries, made the crispy bits (think a streusel on a cherry crisp), and used our new technique to make the ice cream. We licked the paddle (swoon!), alternated the vanilla bean ice cream with the other goodies in the container, and put it away in the back of the freezer to firm up. The result? The boys did not like it. I had a feeling they wouldn’t. Their ice cream tastes are more simple. They probably won’t like the Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream which intrigues me, or the Black Walnut Divinity Ice Cream which does not. It might be that I have to use my other more traditional ice cream cookbook when making that special treat for them.
As for Randy and I…well. Randy said it was the best ice cream I have ever made. Most recently I made a strawberry version (from another book) and both of us were turned off by how icy it was. This was the opposite. So creamy, velvety, not a hint of an ice crystal. This is totally Randy’s type of ice cream flavor and totally not mine. But holy cow was this good. I’m a little worried. If a totally-not-my-type-of-flavor has me dipping my spoon directly into the container over and over again, what am I going to do when I make a totally-me flavor?
One Year Ago: Big French Salad
Two Years Ago: Coconut Bars
Three Years Ago: Panzanella with Artichokes, Olives and Manchego
Cherry Crisp Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart
For the ice cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1½ ounces (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
1 recipe roasted cherries (recipe follows)
About 1 cup Crisp Streusel (recipe follows)
Mix about 2 tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Spread about ½ of the cherries over the bottom of a freezer safe container. Scoop out about 1/3 of the ice cream and sprinkle with 1/3 of the streusel. Top with the other half of the cherries, another 1/3 of the ice cream, and another 1/3 of the streusel. Repeat with the remaining ice cream and streusel. (There will be quite a bit of streusel left over. Use it for another ice cream or for a pie or crisp topping.) Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, about 4 hours (if you can wait that long.)
2 cups pitted fresh or frozen (not thawed) red or black cherries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a 9-inch square baking dish, tossing to mix. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the juices are thickened and bubbly, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Put all the ingredients except the oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture looks like coarse sand. By hand, add the oats and mix well. Spread out on a baking sheet and break up any large clumps into crumbs about ½-inch in size.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until toasted and browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, especially in the corners, and to turn over the unbaked portions. Let cool completely, then freeze until ready to use. The streusel can be frozen for up to 1 month.