Tag Archives: blueberry

No Brainer Blueberry Ice Cream

For the first time in many years, I missed strawberry season.  In my defense, the season fizzled out pretty quickly this year.  But the reason doesn’t really matter when there is no strawberry jam to fill the freezer for the entire winter.  It just seemed that between travel and schedules, I couldn’t get a flat when they were available and by the next week they were just done.  I hate that.

So, I’ve been going through the freezer and assessing what is left from last season.  Luckily, we’ve still got quite a few blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  Has anyone ever made jam from frozen strawberries?  If so, let me know how it turned out.  I might give it a try so I don’t have to break down and buy grocery store strawberries for jam — which just seems absolutely sacrilegious.  I think I’d rather just live with raspberry and peach jam than have grocery store strawberry jam.

We still have a ton of frozen blueberries and no one here is a big fan of blueberry jam.  So, I decided to make up a batch of blueberry ice cream.  I tweaked two different recipes/styles and the resulting ice cream is very easy and delicious.  The first recipe is from Epicurious and it is a quick and easy method that doesn’t require a custard base.  The second is from the latest Cooks Illustrated (paywall for recipes), where they discuss how to prevent your ice cream from being too “icy.”

The basic idea is to substitute some corn syrup for part of the sugar and then make sure the base is super chilled before churning.  If you don’t have time to give it a good chilling (4-6 hours or ideally overnight), they have a great method where you take part of the base and put it in a separate container in the freezer (while the rest chills in the fridge).  When you are ready to make the ice cream, take the frozen part of the base and mix it in the refrigerated base — it acts like a big ice cube of ice cream.  Stir it in to melt into the base and then it will be cold enough to put in the ice cream maker.

The resulting ice cream is rich and creamy, but not at all icy (which can happen easily with fruit-based ice creams).  You’ll notice it’s not exactly low fat, but it is also not the kind of ice cream you are going to eat a big bowl of.  A small scoop of this and you’d be entirely satisfied.   It highlights the perfectly simple flavors of summer that require absolutely no lily gilding.

No Brainer Blueberry Ice Cream

I’m sure it would also be good with other berries, but I’d probably strain the base if using raspberries of blackberries to get the seeds out.

Yields about 1 quart

2 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/8 t salt
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract

1.  In a medium saucepan, mix blueberries, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes.

2.  Place blueberries in a blender or food processor with half and half.  Blend or process until very smooth (allowing any steam to escape from blueberries by keeping the feed tube out of the processor or keeping the lid slightly off the blender).  Remove and place in a wide freezer-proof container (like a square pyrex).  Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.  Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight.  (To ensure the mixture is super chilled, which is imperative, you can take a cup or so of the ice cream base and freeze it.  When ready to make the ice cream, stir the frozen “ice cube” into the base until melted.

3.  Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Mine took about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately for a soft serve texture or transfer to a container and freeze for a harder texture.  (Let soften a few minutes before scooping.)

 

Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

I have nothing interesting to say.  Would you call that the summer time blues?  I guess it just has to do with trying to keep everyone entertained, fed, appeased, bathed, and exercised.  While I attempt to keep the house cleaned, the weeds pulled, and the damn bathing suits and towels hung up.  It hasn’t helped matters that my husband was on the west coast all last week.  The kids and I are having a great summer, but I’ve just been unable to focus on cooking anything complex or interesting.  When we are here by ourselves, dinners usually include fancy things like eggs and toast.  You would be surprised by how nicely a glass of wine goes with breakfast food.

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So, I was so pleased when my mom, grandmother, and sister decided to come visit us for the afternoon.  Aside from bringing cousins, which are an amazing source of entertainment, I got to plan a nice lunch for everyone — which pulled me out of my cooking funk.  I figured it probably wouldn’t have been cool to serve them the leftover pizza I had in the fridge.  So I made some great tarts based on this Epicurious recipe which were really delicious (and provided me with leftovers to get through the rest of the week).  For dessert, I made a Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake inspired by another Epicurious recipe.  I felt redeemed.

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I made my cake entirely with whole wheat pastry flour and sweetened it with honey and brown sugar.  I flavored it with a bit of fresh thyme — although lavender or rosemary would be equally nice for a little herbal flavor.  If the sweet and savory combos aren’t your thing, just skip the herbs.  I also added some sour cream to balance out the whole wheat flour, which frequently requires more moisture.  I served the cake with some fresh whipped cream and a simple blueberry sauce made of fresh berries, a little water, and a drizzle of honey simmered until thickened.

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The only problem was that with six eggs in the recipe, I had to come up with something other than omelets for dinner.  The leftover cake, however, made a tremendous breakfast.  (Oh.  You judge me.  But if it were in muffin form, no one would think anything of downing it with a cup of coffee.)

You see?  I told you I had nothing interesting to say.

Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Makes one bundt or tube cake

1/3 cup whole milk
2 t vanilla extract
6 eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 2/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 cups of butter, softened (three sticks)
Zest of two lemons
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 heaping cups of fresh blueberries, tossed in about 1 T flour
2 t fresh thyme, finely chopped (or other herbs such as lavender or rosemary)

For the glaze:
Juice of two lemons
1/3 cup of honey

1.  Butter and flour a ten inch bundt or tube pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream.

3.  In another medium bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, salt, and baking powder.

4.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter with lemon zest and herbs (if using) until light and fluffy. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the egg and milk mixture.  Repeat with remaining flour and egg mixtures until they are incorporated.  Do not overmix.

5.  Gently fold about half of the blueberries into batter.  Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the bundt pan and top with 1/2 cup of remaining blueberries.  Repeat with remaining batter and blueberries (3 layers), ending with a layer of blueberries on top.

6.  Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (Mine took a lot longer than this b/c I was using a bunk silicone pan– which I subsequently threw in the trash — but I think any decent pan will be done within 1 hour and 15 minutes.)

7.  While cake is baking, place juice of two lemons and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer and remove from heat.  When cake is finished, poke holes all over with a toothpick or skewer and brush on about half of the lemon glaze.  Let cool about 20 minutes and invert onto cooling rack or plate.  Poke holes on top of cake and brush with remaining lemon glaze.  Cool completely and serve with loosely whipped cream, blueberry sauce, or lemon curd.

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