20 June 2011

Eats: lemon almond ice cream

Whew. I don’t know about you guys, but I am a little worn out. All those photos and memories and SO MANY WORDS last week! But it was worth it. Well, it was worth it to me, at least. You guys are probably ready for me to move on from our wedding.

Haha, suckers! I’m not done!

Now we have to talk about our anniversary. And? ANNIVERSARY CAKE. Surely you didn’t forget about the glorious anniversary cake! Mr. P and I have been anticipating this cake for eleven months. We finished off the last piece of leftover wedding cake on our one month anniversary and then looked at each other, sadly, with a slightly wistful look in our eyes. I may have even mumbled something about staying together for the cake.

So we were very happy to finally, FINALLY! get this. Happy cakiversary!

We actually had two kinds of cake at our wedding, and for our anniversary Mr. P requested the chocolate chip cake with chocolate ganache and strawberries. I know, it looks delicious! You can only imagine. On second thought, don’t even try. You will fail.

The other kind of cake we had at the wedding was almond cake with lemon curd filling. Does that sound weird to you? Our baker deemed it “really unique” and had “never thought of that” which was probably her nice way of saying “Um, you sure? Because I think that sounds kinda gross.” But it sounded tasty to us and boy, were we right!

We could only have one kind of anniversary cake. After all, when it’s complimentary you don’t push it. But I was sort of craving both. FOR ELEVEN MONTHS. So when I came across this recipe for lemon almond ice cream, I had to try it.

This was my first try with our ice cream maker, which, apropos to the occasion, was a bridal shower present from our darling friends. It’s a KitchenAid mixer attachment, just a special beater and a bowl you keep in the freezer, which I like because I have an agitated dislike of specialized kitchen gadgets that take up a lot of space but only make one thing. Mr. P had already used it to make raspberry sorbet and helped me get it going this time. Team P!

Because I find following recipes difficult – perhaps because I deem myself creative and all Top-Chefy and I bet it will taste better THIS way just watch me – I did not follow all the directions in the above link. But it still worked, ohhhh, sooo well. Here’s how I made it.

You need these guys: 1 pint half and half, a generous 1/2 cup sugar, 2 lemons (mine were on the big side), 1 scant teaspoon each of vanilla (not pictured) and almond extract, pinch of salt (not pictured), and 1/2 cup slivered almonds. I really only had 1/4 cup on hand, but I would have liked to had more. Also the original recipe said to toast them but I am lazy, so they went untoasted AND the universe didn’t implode.

You’re also going to need a zester or grater or something to get the lemon peel into teensy bits. This is where, as a single lady, I would have tried my best with a dull orphaned steak knife. But we received a microplane zester for our wedding! Married-people kitchens are the best.

After zesting zee lemons, you should have about two tablespoons of the good stuff. I worried it would be a little bitter with all of that, but the sugar balanced it out. So go for it.

Then cut the lemons in two and squeeze all the juice out of them. Like I said, my lemons were on the larger side and so two lemons produced 1/3 cup of juice. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but I didn’t want it to be too tart. 1/3 cup was right for me. If your lemons are small you may want to add a third. Or you could supplement with store-bought lemon juice. I won’t tell. It’s what I’d do. And I’d pat myself on the back for not having to pick out all those pesky lemon seeds either.

Combine that juice with the lemon zest, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Then whisk it. Whisk it real good.

The original recipe said to fold in the almonds after making it into ice cream, but I dumped them in at this point too on accident. It was fine except for one frozen clump of slivered almonds stuck to the bottom of the beater, but the clump was delicious and in my kitchen, delicious = success.

In addition to not having almonds yet, that bowl was also supposed to sit in the fridge overnight, but again: I pathologically ignore recipe directions. So it sat in the fridge for, like, an hour. That’s all the patience I had.

Then it was time to mix it up! It took about fifteen minutes in the mixer until it looked solid-ish:

And here’s the delightfully soft serve result after mixing:

I could have eaten that all at once even though it needed to go into the freezer to harden up. See, I got myself in trouble doing this:

And then I had to pace in front of the freezer for a few hours until I could have more. I was only able to hold off until after dinnertime by licking every spoon and bowl and drip on the countertop from preparing it. And then finally, in the unflattering post-dinnertime light:

You guys. YOU GUYS. This was so hand-flappingly good! I licked my bowl clean. And Mr. P’s as well. I mean he left like a good half-teaspoon of melty goodness in it. He was just going to let that half-teaspoon go to waste!

Verdict? Mr. P liked it, but not as much as me. His friend told me it was pretty awesome, but he could have also just been super nice to me because he and Mr. P got to watch TV together for hours while I hid downstairs in the office working. So, from my informal tasting panel, the reviews ranged from “good” to “hold on don’t put that in the dishwasher yet there is a drip down the side and I need to lick it off”.

The only cons: the recipe as written above makes less than a quart, and it’s not super cheap because of the slivered almonds. So basically I need to figure out how to make my own slivered almonds from less-expensive whole ones. Or just chop them up? Wait a second. I have a food processor! Married-people-kitchen WIN!


Tina said...

I made some ice cream this weekend, too! Sugar-free, no less... but I cannot make it sound nearly as good as yours did. No way. But it made Ron very, very happy! Victory scored. Points made. Done. (I didn't care for it at all - fake sugar taste to me. He liked it even better then - all for him ;-))