August 1, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream )

For a long time, I thought Meyer Lemons were a thing that Martha Stewart had mostly made up.  You know, like making handmade doilies out of banana peels or raising special breeds of chickens because you have time in the morning to savor your eggs long enough to notice the tiny difference in taste between one breed's and another.  Something potentially real, but so rare or fussy or prohibitively expensive that only my gal Martha would use them to make a freaking pound cake.  I knew that I was about as likely to see them in my own grocery store as I was to see those pale blue hen's eggs.  And I was right.

But then other people started mentioning them.  In Saveur.  And Fine Cooking.  And once in a publication whose most exotic ingredients had, until that point, included "Jell-O flavors that aren't Red," and "Whipped Cream.  No, not the stuff that comes in a tub.  The stuff that looks like milk."

Not for the first time in my life, I began to worry that Martha Stewart was using her mind-rays for evil.

But 3 years later, lo and behold, there in the produce section of my grocery store were bags of Meyer Lemons.  Just sitting there, as if nothing in the world could be amiss about that.  And since my grocery store is known as much for its tube sock selection as its produce, I'm forced to admit that Meyer Lemons must now be mainstream.

I bought 2 bags.  I instantly regretted it.  The price, as it turns out, is not yet quite as mainstream as the fruit itself.

But the ice cream I made from them?  Entirely worth it.  And not the least bit make-believe.

Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream
from The Los Angeles Times

Meyer Lemons are thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a tangerine.  They are slightly rounder than a regular lemon, and less sour.  They work beautifully here with cardamom, which has always reminded me vaguely of citrus [especially grapefruit] anyway.  

Meyer Lemons  [ 5 ]
Cardamom   [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Half-and-Half  [ 1 cup ]
Sugar  [ 1 cup ]
Vanilla Bean  [ 1/2 ]
Egg Yolks  [ 6 ]
Whipping Cream  [ 3 cups ]

1.   With a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove yellow portion only from rind of  1 Lemon.  Set Lemon
2.   In a medium pot, place Lemon Peel, Cardamom, Half-and-Half and Sugar.
3.   Split open Vanilla Bean, scrape seeds into pot and then add emptied pod as well.
4.   Over High heat, heat Mixture until just before the point of boiling.
5.   Remove pot from heat and leave to steep for 10-15 minutes.

6.   In a bowl, whisk Egg Yolks to blend and then, whisking constantly, slowly add about half of the hot
         Half-and-Half Mixture.
7.   Whisking constantly, pour Egg Mixture back into pot.
8.   Over Medium heat, cook Custard until it coats the back of a spoon  [ 4-5 minutes ].
9.   Strain Custard into a bowl.
10.   Finely grate the yellow zest off of 2 Lemons.   Set Lemons aside.
11.   Add Zest to Custard.  Stir, and let stand for 10 minutes.

12.   Add Cream to Custard.
13.   Juice all 5 Lemons.
14.   Stir Lemon Juice into Custard.
15.   Place bowl of Custard in refrigerator until completely chilled.
16.   Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
17.   Scrape into a bowl and press waxed paper on surface to cover.
18.   Place in freezer until completely firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

Other Recipes Featuring Lemon:
 Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken
Chicken Milanese with Sage-and-Lemon Butter Sauce

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