Dog Days

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I has been SO HOT in Chicago. The last several weeks have each sported several days in the 90s, with humidity to match. I realize that this not hot compared to the Sahara, or even just Texas, but it’s been miserable. I have a relatively high tolerance to heat, but even I have been dangerously wilted by the end of the day. (It doesn’t help that my workplace is kept at roughly 35 degrees, meaning that I also have temperature whiplash).

Naturally, therefore, I have no desired to eat a cooked dessert–even room temperature fruit is almost too much. I could refrigerate the fruit, but most fruit tastes best without too much chill on it. The best chilled dessert is obvious, of course: ice cream.

I think I’ve made a new ice cream every few days for the past two weeks. Right now I have four flavors in the freezer: fresh mint-fudge swirl, blueberry-lemon, toasted almond-candied cherry, and cherry-chocolate chip (seen in the picture above). I owe the almond and mint recipes to David Liebovitz (though I did use a lesser quantity of almonds than called for, because I was somewhat short of cash that shopping trip), the cherry-chocolate to Simply Recipes, and the blueberry to my own tortured brain. (Desperate for ice cream! Almost no ingredients! Mix things together!)

The cherry and blueberry ice creams started with cooked, sweetened fruit brightened with a little lemon juice and mixed with a few cups of milk.  Chill overnight and churn.

The mint and almond ice creams started with infusions–two cups of milk heated to the point of steaming with either 2 packed cups of mint leaves (chocolate mint, from my back garden) or 1/4 cup of heavily toasted almonds (I took them to a deep dark brown–just this side of burnt). In both cases I let the mixture infuse for far, far longer than called for in the recipes. Most recipes call for an infusion time of about an hour, but I let both the mint and the almonds sit in the milk for 24-48 hours (in the refrigerator, obviously). After straining, I made the milk into a simple custard, which I mixed with sweetener, cream, and a little salt, to bring out the flavors. After freezing, I swirled in my sauces. Simple simple simple.

Every ice cream is wonderful–I can’t think of anything I would change about any of them. Teacherman will be out of town for the next two weeks, but, sadly for him, I will not be saving any of this deliciousness. I plan to eat ice cream every single day, as long as the hot weather lasts.

Well, maybe not. Maybe there will also be some sorbet. Or popsicles. Yes, definitely popsicles . . . .

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment