I'm not making any more homemade ice cream.* It's not that I don't love it. I do. I really, really do. It's just that I can't possibly make a better one than the Lemon-Ginger Cookie Ice Cream I made a few weeks ago.
Here is the best possible way I can describe this ice cream: a light, slightly tangy lemon custard base with chunks of spicy, chewy gingerbread cookie mixed in. It's like eating summer. It's amazing.
I originally came up with the idea for this flavor combination when I read the menu of the local gourmet ice cream sandwich purveyor Coolhaus, which offers a signature combo of a scoop of meyer lemon peel ice cream between two ginger cookies. Like any normal human being, I knew I absolutely had to eat this. I decided I'd find a recipe for lemon ice cream somewhere, then bake some ginger cookies and mix them in. But in my googling, I discovered that I'm not the first genius to come up with this idea. In fact, ice cream guru David Lebovitz has a recipe for Lemon-Speculoos Ice Cream in his book The Perfect Scoop (speculoos being some kind of Belgian gingerbread cookie, I learned). I found an adapted version of the recipe (and much prettier pictures than mine) over here. I followed it more or less exactly, though I did make a couple small changes. My version is below.
For the lemon ice cream:
- 3 large lemons
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- pinch of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or blender. Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is very fine.
- Warm the milk with the lemon-scented sugar, 1/2 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for 1 hour.
- Rewarm the lemon-infused mixture and pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream into a large bowl set over an ice bath and set a strainer on top.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour some of the warm lemon-infused mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream until cool.
- Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold in the crumbled speculoos.
For the speculoos:
- 2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 3 Tbsp packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg yolk.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until smooth. Using your hands, pat the batter onto the baking sheet in a circle about 5 inches in diameter and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, break into bite-sized chunks.
My first taste of the ice cream, straight out of the mixer, was delicious. A few hours later I had a small bowl and was disappointed - the flavors seemed to have flattened out. The lemon wasn't "popping" as much. But then, the next day, all was right again - the flavors were balanced again. Maybe my palette was off the night before, or maybe the ice cream needed a day for the flavors to meld and come together. Either way, it was absolutely delicious. I will absolutely be making this recipe again (and again, and again...). And maybe next time I'll share.
*I'm lying. I'm totally still making homemade ice cream. It's just that none of it will ever compare to this.