Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Buttermilk Ice Cream

I doubt it's a shock that I love most things that are quintessentially southern.  Unless we're talking squash.  Or boiled okra.  Don't be mistaken, I don't love those things.  
But let's talk buttermilk.  Usually, as a southerner especially, you think biscuits or fried chicken when you think about reasons to have a carton of buttermilk in the house.  However, I just remembered the idea to use buttermilk as a dessert.  A basic, and ridiculously rich, custard ice cream is just the ticket.  And what Little doesn't love the anticipation of ice cream churning on the porch?  Ah, another reason I love summer!

The custard is a rather basic recipe.  Just keep in mind that if you're going to make southern things like mac and cheese or any custard, you have to be ready to stir.  Before you gather your ingredients ready yourself to stir for 20-30 minutes. Collect your iPhone and ear buds to either listen to your favorite playlist or the newest podcast on handling Disney World like a pro while keeping it a complete surprise from Homey. 

Oh, I digress.  I'll delve into that later...
Now gather your ingredients.  
 2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
 6 large egg yolks*
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or half a vanilla bean, scraped and simmered with the cream*
Pinch of salt

*Varying custard type recipes will call for varying numbers of egg yolks.  Up to a dozen!  I have the exceptional opportunity to have mostly "vortex fresh" eggs in the house.  They are delicious and richer than store bought.  We will use 6 (because I want to save the whites to use later this week!  I don't know what to do with 12 egg whites at the moment). Also, I'm using homemade vanilla extract, but I would probably opt for the bean over store-bought extract.  All that to say, whatever you have on hand is completely fine.
Bring the cream and sugar up to a simmer over medium heat. Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar.  Remove the cream from the heat, and temper the egg yolks. This is what we did on the greek chicken soup.  Carefully use a ladle to add the hot cream to the yolks to bring it up to temperature.  We don't want scrambled egg ice cream.

Once the eggs are tempered, add them to the cream, whisking constantly over low heat.  Now is when we sit and stir for a bit.  When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, it's ready.  Like this:
Strain this mixture with whatever straining mechanism you have (I don't really think you need specialized equipment for this...there wasn't much to strain out).
Now stir in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt.  Let that bowl of awesomeness get good and cold in the fridge.  Prep your ice cream maker too.  Yeah, they say "quick and easy" ice cream on your churn, but everything needs to be cold.  We must have ice and rock salt too.  So make sure you have your ducks in a row while the mixture gets cold.  This is a great make ahead dessert because it can sit in the fridge overnight and while you prep your churn the next day.  Then shock and amaze people by serving up this rich, unique ice cream at this weekend's cookout. 

When you're ready, just dump the mixture into your churn, and let it go.  Let it go.  Don't hold it back anymore.  (I'm sorry, I love that movie, and I'm geeked out about going to Disney World for the first time.  Please don't tell Homey she's going).

Oh how I love modern plug-it-in ice cream churns.  As much as I love the idea of Opie Taylor churning by hand on the front porch, while Andy strums the guitar and Aunt Bea knits or mends on the front porch, there is something in me that appreciates plugging something in and letting it work.
Give it 30-45 minutes.  The first time we checked it about 30 minutes in, it was a tad goopy.  We want it to hold it's shape when we crudely swipe a finger through it.
It's so divine!  It holds together straight out of the churn, and it stays pliable days later.  Actually, with the eggs and buttermilk, it is reminiscent of licking the beater after making pound cake.
Eat it straight up or throw in the summer staples of peaches and blueberries...whatever you have on hand!  Delightful, sophisticated, quintessentially southern, and really quite fun and affordable.  Enjoy!

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