The past week has been a whirlwind of beads, booze, and parades. Mardi Gras has come and gone and life can begin settling back to normal. Not that I am complaining about living in such a fun city, but as fun as Mardi Gras can be it is also exhausting. The festivities were fun but bittersweet this year because we spent one last season with our neighbors and good friends, who will be moving at the end of the week. Stay tuned later this week for a super cute video of my 8-month-old neighbor eating my ice cream. She loves it!
My flavor this is week is one of my all-time favorites. Wildberry Lavender is a flavor found in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams shops year-round and it never gets old. Sweet blueberries with hints of citrus and lavender. I was super excited to see the recipe included in Jeni's new ice cream cookbook. Using hand-picked frozen blueberries from my freezer, I made this purple scoop to celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy!
Slightly adapted recipe from in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
I made the recipe from Jeni's cookbook with only one substitution - vanilla sugar. I think the vanilla adds a smoothness to the flavor but it also takes away some tartness, so if you'd like your scoop more tart just use regular sugar. Directions for making vanilla sugar are below. Also, this recipe uses food-grade essential oils to add flavor. There are several oils available on the market, but Jeni recommends these.
1/2 cup wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons vanilla sugar, divided*
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1.5 ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3 drops sweet orange food-grade essential oil
2 drops lavender food-grade essential oil
Combine blueberries and 2 Tablespoons vanilla sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, set aside and cool.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine remaining milk, remaining vanilla sugar, cream and corn syrup and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add blueberry sauce and stir until combined. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and turn on the machine. Add essential oils through the opening in the top of the machine and continue freezing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer churned ice cream to a plastic container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
*To make vanilla sugar: Combine 2 cups sugar with one whole vanilla bean (sliced and scraped) in an air tight container. Store for one to two weeks, shaking occasionally. Use just as you would regular sugar. This is also a great use for left over vanilla bean pods.