the most expensive ice cream I’ll ever make

With Minnesota’s recent frigid blast of cold weather, I’d bet there’s been lots of baking going on. Baking seems meant for cold days, which was reason enough for me to whip up a loaf of banana bread and multiple batches of chocolate chip cookies (science fair time!). But I’ve also rebelled and made what is most definitely not winter fare.

A library borrow–Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones–was my inspiration. There’s plenty to this lovely book (sugar cones, shortbread, cakes, herb-and-spice ice creams, fruity ice creams, decadent ice creams), but I was drawn to the simpler flavors. Buttermilk ice cream was a must-make as I’m always trying to push through a 50-pound bag of buttermilk powder I couldn’t resist buying a few years back. (I’m a sucker for good deals.)

Despite the 5°F high yesterday, I set about to make my own ice cream. My snazzy little ice cream maker (it’s red!) meant that all I had to do was cook up a custard, cool it down, age it overnight (hardest part as I wanted to churn it immediately), then spin it the next day to freeze.

Thinking it would make a fun blog post, I started snapping photos as the custard just approached a simmer. One hand on the phone, one hand on the whisk–recipe for disaster. As my phone splashed into the hot custard base, my heart sank. Knowing I’d burn my hand if I reached in, I frantically pulled open drawers looking for a pair of tongs to extract the phone. I removed it from its case and wiped it down and was thrilled when it still seemed to work. After only briefly considering tossing the custard (nah), I soldiered on, cooking and then cooling the base for overnight refrigeration.

custard sans cell phone

custard sans cell phone

Trying to receive a phone call later that night, I realized the phone was indeed damaged. Which makes this ice cream a spendy one. Never one to hold a grudge, I churned the ice cream this morning and found it to be every bit as tasty as I’d imagined. Rich, very slightly tangy, sweet, creamy, lush. A drizzle of homemade Hershey’s syrup (as easy a DIY as they come–you must make this and keep it on hand at all times) made it Perfect.

amazing buttermilk ice cream with diy Hershey's syrup

amazing buttermilk ice cream with diy chocolate syrup

Subzero temps and having to shell out a chunk of cash to replace my phone–two downers for sure. But there’s no changing the weather and what’s done is done, so I’ll enjoy my buttermilk ice cream and keep paging through Sweet Cream for the next batch of ice cream inspiration. Crème fraîche (on page 38) is looking pretty good….

Buttermilk Ice Cream

adapted slightly from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

  • 3 large egg yolks (original recipe was for 5)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup 1% or 2% milk (used 1%)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (whisked together 1/4 cup buttermilk powder, 1/2 cup water, and enough fat-free half-and-half to yield 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In medium heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar.

In heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together cream, milk, and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Heat over medium-high heat just until barely simmering. Reduce heat to medium. Gently stir 1/2 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly; repeat. With heatproof rubber spatula, stir cream in saucepan as you slowly pour egg mixture into pan. Gently cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened, coats back of spatula, and holds clear path when you run your figures across spatula.

Strain base through fine-mesh strainer into clean container. Set container in ice-water bath; let cool, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, remove from ice-water bath. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.

Whisk buttermilk and vanilla into cold base. Freeze in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy immediately or transfer to chilled container and freeze 4 hours. Makes about 1 quart.