For a long time, lemon-flavored desserts fell onto my “Foods You Probably Won’t Appreciate ‘Til You’re Much Older” list, somewhere in between oat bran muffins and roasted beet salads.
A chocoholic all my life, I’ve always had an extreme disinterest, even disdain, for fruit-centric desserts. Pies, tarts, cakes, you name it – if it had fruit in it, I wanted no part of it. Add citrus to the mix, and I was thoroughly disgusted.
Then at some point, things started to change. I’m not really sure when it happened, but the part of my brain that controls dessert began to grow curious about the prospect of lemon. I think it probably had something to do with the fact that my best girlfriend loves all things lemon.
I’m someone who is easily influenced by others in matters of food; even if I order the very best thing on the menu, I always want what everyone else has. I think after years of watching my friend order delectable lemon cupcakes, tarts, and pies, I started to wonder what I was missing.
So, one day, in the spirit of camaraderie and friendship, I ordered a lemon cupcake, and everything changed.
I fell madly in love with lemon.
I’ve known that I wanted to make some sort of lemon ice cream for some time now, but couldn’t figure out how to make it special or interesting. So, when I saw the infamous Meyer variety of lemon at my local grocer, I knew instantly that I had found my secret ingredient.
And I was not disappointed. Sweet and fragrant, tart and juicy, these lemons really pop when set against a backdrop of cold, luscious ice cream. And because I need everything to be over the top, I went to town adding in several handfuls of buttery, salty, graham crust pieces. The result is an ice cream that’s very Key Lime Pie-ish, but with distinctly delicious floral and sweet undertones.
This is hands down one of my favorite ice creams that I’ve ever made; which is odd, because there is no chocolate or peanut butter in sight. It must be a true testament to my maturing taste buds, don’t you think?
What’s your favorite lemon dessert?
Happy scooping 🙂
Meyer Lemon Pie Ice Cream
Yield: About 1 Quart
You will need:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
Juice of 3 Meyer lemons, or to taste (Use 4 if you like it super tart!)
Zest from 3 Meyer lemons, or to taste
½ cup graham cracker crust pieces*
-Place a sieve on top of a medium size bowl
-Prepare an ice bath in a large container (or your kitchen sink)
- In a medium bowl, lightly break up the egg yolks with a whisk. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, and salt. Heat until the granules of sugar are melted and the mixture just begins to steam.
- Add the heated cream to the egg yolks, a little at a time, whisking the egg yolks constantly so they don’t scramble.
- Once all of the heated cream has been added to the yolks, add the mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. After about ten or fifteen minutes, the mixture will thicken (you will feel it start to “push back” against your spoon). Once the mixture covers the spoon, but leaves a clear path when you wipe your finger across, your custard is done!
- Pour the custard through the sieve and into the bowl. Submerge bowl into the ice bath, and stir occasionally until mixture is cooled. Add the lemon juice, and zest the lemon straight into the custard (if you want very small pieces of zest, you might want to zest lemons into a blender or food processor first, then add to your ice cream base). Refrigerate until cold; at least 4 hours or preferably, overnight.
- Make your ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, mix in the graham pieces by hand.
*An easy way to make “faux” graham crust is to break several graham crackers into large pieces and place in the bottom of a coffee mug. Put about a tablespoon of butter on top, a sprinkling of sugar, and a dash of salt, and place into the microwave. Nuke for 30 seconds, stir around, and then cook for 10 more seconds. Let sit until cooled – voila! Easy graham crust pieces.