Recipe: Blueberry Ice Cream
Top: blueberries from Josh Pond, Maine. Photo by AmEx.
Blue Moo Moo
Back in July Big Gay Ice Cream was asked to take part in an interesting American Express campaign called “Express Love.” That sounds cheesy, like it’s going to be some horrid romance thing, but really it was about creativity, and focused on creative people doing what they love. The campaign was to promote their Blue card, so they requested that we get creative and it involve blue. That sounded like a fun challenge to me so we signed on.
The “blue” component was unquestionably blueberries. I particularly wanted to develop the recipe using Maine blueberries. I grew up in Pittsfield, ME and we Mainers are VERY proud of our little blue balls. I think the only other food we would get in a fight over is the whoopie pie. Anyone who says that whoopie pies weren’t born in Maine faces a beat-down, though no Mainer would bother going through with it. We have a blueberry sauce recipe in Big Gay Ice Cream Book and it’s used for the Violet Beauregard, one of the sundaes on the menu at our three shops. The logical next step was to come up with a blueberry ice cream.
The second non-negotiable (the first being the "blueberries from home") was that the recipe not be yet another blueberry-balsamic, something I am nearly as tired of as strawberry-rhubarb. It could contain balsamic, sure, but that wasn’t going to be the secondary depth.
We had a bit of a time trying to figure out a name for the recipe, something AMEX requested in the contract. We threw all sorts of ideas around. Fancy Hollywood Agent Lisa even combed through the "Arrested Development" scripts that reference Blue Man Group. Finally Bryan thought about Annette Funicello's song "Blue Muu Muu" and TA DA! We had our name.
Thank you to Josh Pond for sending me a few cases of their blueberries so that I could work with the real thing. That's enough. Here’s the recipe and a few photos, some of them lifted from AMEX. I hope you enjoy this one. Happy freezing!
Copyright 2016 Big Gay Ice Cream
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh Maine blueberries
Zest from 1/2 small lemon
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 large egg yolks
1.5 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, warm the blueberries, sugar, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Pour the blueberry mixture into a blender and cover the top with an expendable dish towel. NEVER put the top on a blender when you are working with a hot ingredient. Blend the berries until liquified.
Whisk the egg yolks and set aside.
Warm the milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often to keep the mixture from scorching, for about 5 minutes, until it has begun to steam.
Place the beaten egg yolks in a large nonreactive saucepan; add the warmed milk and cream to the yolks in a very slow, steady stream, whisking continuously.
Set this saucepan over medium heat, add the liquified blueberry mixture and stir for about 2 minutes, until fully incorporated. Continue cooking, stirring continuously, for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken; do not allow to boil. Transfer the pan to an ice bath to stop the cooking; stir until the steaming stops.
Transfer the mixture to an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours- preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to freeze, remove the mixture from refrigerator and give it a good shake. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it is finished the freeze cycle transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours to harden. The ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 5 days.