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4 Recipes That Will Make You Scream For Ice Cream

Strawberry ice cream in a bowl. (Getty Images)
Strawberry ice cream in a bowl. (Getty Images)

I always thought making ice cream at home was super complicated and not worth the time and energy. There are so many great ice creams and sorbets in the freezer section, why bother?

Well, after spending a day with the immensely talented chef Krista Kern Desjarlais of Bresca and the Honeybee at Outlet Beach in New Gloucester, Maine, I learned that making your own ice cream can be pretty simple and straightforward. And you can get wildly innovative and create any flavor you like using the best summer fruit, herbs and flavorings.

Here are Kern Desjarlais’ recipes for Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Watermelon-Lime Sorbet, and a genius chocolate “shell” to pour over ice cream that calls for only three ingredients. I’ve also included my own variation on the classic custard with a Strawberry Ice Cream that can be made using any fresh summer berry. (You can also add good quality chocolate chips for a Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.)

Find a moderately priced ice cream maker. They range from around $35 up to several hundred. My preference is for the ice cream attachment on my KitchenAid mixer.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

You can use fresh mint leaves or mint extract in this refreshing ice cream but chef Kern Desjarlais says you want to avoid a toothpaste-like mint flavor. Fresh mint gives you a more subtle mint flavor so it’s well worth seeking out fresh leaves.

The custard needs to be refrigerated overnight before being churned in an ice cream machine and, to properly firm up, will require at least 4 hours of freezing time before serving. The ice cream can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. It’s best to place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper directly on its surface to prevent freezer burn.

Makes 1 quart or serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons organic mint extract, plus more to taste (may substitute with 1 packed cup fresh mint leaves)
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (preferably 64%), finely chopped (may substitute with about 4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate bar)


Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and vanilla using medium heat until you see steam rising from the surface. Do not bring the mixture to a boil. If using fresh mint leaves, add to the cream and milk. If using mint extract, do not add at this stage. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Using a ladle in one hand and a whisk in another, slowly drizzle the liquid mixture into the sugar-yolks mixture and whisk to incorporate. Continue to whisk the liquid to the sugar-yolks mixture until you’ve added about half of the dairy, then pour the egg-dairy mixture into the saucepan with the remaining dairy.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low. Stir continuously with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon for 10 to 15 minutes until the custard thickens slightly and reaches 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Dip the spatula or spoon into the custard and hold it horizontally, then run a finger across the custard on the spatula — if the path stays open, your custard is ready. Remove from the heat and pass the custard through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large measuring cup.
  5. Place the measuring cup in the prepared ice bath, stirring for about 5 minutes until you can comfortably insert your pinkie in the mixture (the custard should register about 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). If using mint extract, add half and taste the custard. It should have a defined mint flavor but not be overwhelming. You need to take into account that the mint flavor will dissipate slightly as it sits overnight. Add the remaining extract, if desired.
  6. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to churn the ice cream, pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. Depending on your ice cream maker, this could take 20 to 40 minutes, so start checking at 20 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter. Fold in the chocolate chips and churn until the ice cream has thickened slightly, an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Transfer to a quart-size container, cover with a sheet of parchment or wax paper and cover with a lid. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
  • When ready to serve, let the ice cream soften on the counter for a few minutes until scoopable, then scoop into bowls and serve.
  • Strawberry Ice Cream

    This ice cream is best made with ripe, fresh strawberries. You can easily substitute blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. The custard needs to be refrigerated overnight before churning in an ice cream machine and then, to properly firm up, will require at least 4 hours of additional freezing time before serving. The ice cream can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. It’s best to place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper directly on its surface to prevent freezer burn.

    You can also add chocolate chips along with the berries for a crunchy Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

    Serves 4 to 6. Makes 1 quart.

    Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • Pinch of fine sea salt
    • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
    • 2 cups ripe strawberries or other berries, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (preferably 64%, finely chopped (may substitute with about 4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate bar), optional


    Instructions

    1. In a large bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt until thoroughly combined.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream, milk and vanilla until you see steam rising from the surface. Do not bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
    3. Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Using a ladle in one hand and a whisk in another, slowly drizzle the liquid mixture into the sugar-yolks mixture and whisk to incorporate. Continue to whisk the liquid to the sugar-yolks mixture until you’ve added about half of the dairy, then pour the egg-dairy mixture into the saucepan with the remaining dairy.
    4. Lower the heat to medium-low. Stir continuously with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly and reaches 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Dip the spatula or spoon into the custard and hold it horizontally, then run a finger across the custard on the spatula — if the path stays open, your custard is ready. Remove from the heat and pass the custard through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large measuring cup.
    5. Place the measuring cup in the prepared ice bath, stirring until you can comfortably insert your pinkie in the mixture (the custard should register about 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 5 minutes. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container, cover and refrigerate overnight.
    6. When ready to churn the ice cream, pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. Depending on your ice cream maker, this could take 20 to 40 minutes, so start checking at 20 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter.
    7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mash the berries with a potato masher. Sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons of sugar and let sit for about 20 minutes while you are churning the ice cream.
    8. Add the strawberries (and all juices from the bottom of the bowl) and the chips, if using, during the last 5 to 7 minutes of churning. Churn until thickened slightly.
    9. Transfer to a quart-size container, cover with a sheet of parchment or wax paper and cover with a lid. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
    10. When ready to serve, let the ice cream soften on the counter for a few minutes until scoopable, then scoop into bowls and serve. Makes 1 quart.

    Krista Kern Desjarlais’ Chocolate Sea Salt Shell

    Three ingredients are transformed into this simple chocolate topping. You can spoon the topping on any type of ice cream, hardening to a shell when it hits the ice cream. Bear in mind this won’t be as crunchy as some commercially-produced chocolate shells. Use a mild olive oil for the best flavor.

    The topping can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The sauce will harden when refrigerated. Warm it in a microwave-safe bowl in 5-second increments until pourable.

    Makes 1 cup or 8 servings.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chopped chocolate or chips (64%)
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, or more to taste


    Instructions

    1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering but not boiling.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate with the hot oil and, using a silicone spatula or whisk, stir until smooth. Season with salt, taste, and season with more salt, if desired.

    Watermelon-Lime Sorbet

    Bresca and the Honeybee at Outlet Beach serve this refreshing sorbet on hot summer days. Plan on letting the sorbet mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator before you spin it in your ice cream machine, then at least 6 hours in the freezer after it’s churned. Depending on how tart you prefer your sorbet, you may want to add more lime juice, as the flavor will lessen once frozen.

    Keep in mind: The sorbet mixture needs to be refrigerated overnight before being churned in an ice cream machine and, to properly firm up, will require at least 6 hours of freezing time before serving. Sorbet can be frozen in an airtight container, with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the sorbet to prevent freezer burn, for up to 1 month.

    Makes 1 quart or serves 6 to 8.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup or tapioca syrup
    • 2 limes, plus more to taste
    • 4 cups watermelon chunks, seeds removed
    • Pinch of fine sea salt, plus more to taste


    Instructions

    1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool until lukewarm.
    2. While the syrup is cooling, finely zest the limes and juice them. You should get about 1/4 cup of lime juice.
    3. In a blender or food processor, puree the cooled sugar syrup, watermelon, and lime juice (reserve the zest) until smooth. Strain the mixture, pressing on solids with a silicone spatula, through a fine-mesh sieve set over a 4-cup measuring cup with a spout. Whisk in the lime zest and sea salt. Transfer to a quart-size jar with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
    4. When ready to churn, taste the sorbet base, and add more lime juice (up to 2 tablespoons), zest and/or salt, if needed. (Keep in mind that once frozen, the lime flavor will weaken slightly, so if you prefer your sorbet tarter, add lime juice now).
    5. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker until the sorbet reaches a consistency of Italian ice. Depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a lidded container and freeze to firm up, at least 6 hours.
    6. To serve, remove the sorbet from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then scoop and serve.


    For more information about Bresca and the Honeybee at Outlet Beach and chef Krista Kern Desjarlais, click here.

    This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.