Vanilla Bean and Berry Crumble Ice Cream

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It seems like just yesterday that I was happily bidding adieu to the month of July, excited to get my ish together for August, when now all of a sudden it’s basically September and said ISH is still not together.

(And by “ish,” obviously I mean all of the delicious ice cream that I wanted to make this summer).

*sigh*

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Sure, sure – I know summer isn’t technically over, but the signs are all there…

It’s back-to-school for the kiddos, Football Things are showing up on TV, and Big Food is slowly but surely planting the seeds for impending PUMPKIN MADNESS.

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I really couldn’t be more excited about this recent turn of events, but alas, the overachiever in me (or maybe it’s the procrastinator?) still wants to squeeze in some last minute “summery” recipes that I didn’t get around to yet this year.  Thus, I’m launching a Farewell Summer Tour here on ITSF; it started with last month’s Orange Creamsicle delight, and now I’m making a stop in a blogosphere near you with this luscious Vanilla Bean and Berry Crumble variety. Get ready for it!

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One of the defining moments of this summer for me was learning to appreciate fruit (well, some fruit).  I kicked things off with that delicious and boozy Strawberry Shortcake Float, and then I got a little more adventurous with Mango Ginger Ice Cream and Roasted Cherry and Bourbon Sundae Sauce. But for my first ever summer tour, I knew that it was time to get out the big guns and make some sort of show-stopping baked goods-inspired flavor. And what better dessert than ooey gooey berries surrounded by buttery spiced crumbles to help me achieve my super important ice cream goals?

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I’ll admit that part of the decision to make berry crumble was driven by this adorable mini cast iron skillet that I found on clearance at World Market a few weeks ago. As soon as I saw it, I started visualizing big sloppy slabs of berry crumble topped with fluffy vanilla ice cream.

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You guys.

Me.

Visualizing fruit desserts. Fantasizing about them, even.

WHAT IS LIFE?!

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Berry Crumble/Crisp (does anyone know the difference?) is a fantastic late summer dessert because while berries are still technically in season, it gets into that area of transition with slight fall-ish spices and a little bit of warmth (well, my version isn’t warm, but you know what I mean).

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Typically when I make a recipe like this that incorporates some type of baked good, I’ll make a really small portion; just enough to use in 2 quarts of ice cream. Sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes it’s just kind of a pain. I want more rewards for my efforts!

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Well, this time around, as I was prepping my itsy bitsy batch of roasted berries and crumbles, I thought, ENOUGH.

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One of my favorite restaurants here in NE Ohio makes an apple pie milkshake that is to-die-for, and although the recipe is kept a secret, I’ve heard a rumor that the chef literally just bakes an apple pie, puts it in a blender with vanilla ice cream, adds some bourbon, and voila – best milkshake ever.  Feeling inspired and courageous, I adopted this same method for my berry crumble ice cream.

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Basically, I made an entire 9 x 9 pan full of legit berry crumble, set aside half for eating plain, another small portion for pictures, and literally SMASHED the rest to layer in with my vanilla ice cream. It was one of the most psychologically rewarding experiences that I’ve ever had, like a weird therapy session that tastes delicious served on a waffle cone. And the best part? There were plenty of leftovers for pictures…and for eating.

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The tart, roasted fruit was succulent and amazing and the crumbles stayed soft in the ice cream from all the butter and sugar. The aroma of the berries had my mouth watering during the photo shoot, which doesn’t happen very often, if ever (ice cream rarely has a strong smell because it’s so cold).

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You guys, I ate some fruit this summer! And I liked it!

I’m super proud of my new-found culinary maturity.  Now, if only I could figure out that whole vegetable thing…I’d be golden. But maybe next summer 🙂

Happy scooping!

Vanilla Bean and Berry Crumble Ice Cream

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print
 Yield: 1 Quart

Ingredients:

For the ice cream base:

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Pinch of kosher or sea salt

1 Vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped out

3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

For the Berry Crumble:

4.5 cups of fresh berries (any variety; I used strawberries and blackberries)

4 tbs sugar

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups flour

1.5 cups brown sugar (packed)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1.5 cups butter

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix two tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water (lots of ice!!!). Set aside.
  3. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean pod, and seeds, then bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 mins exactly.
  4. After 4 minutes, remove the milk mixture from heat and gradually mix into your cornstarch slurry mixture that you made in Step 1. Add back to the saucepan, and cook over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until thickened and it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream cheese.
  5. Place mixture in a gallon sized ziplock bag (not the press n seal kind; make sure you get the fancy kind that locks). Submerge in ice bath for half an hour until cold, or, skip the ice bath altogether and place bag in the fridge overnight.

Make the Berry Crumble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss berries with sugar and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly.
  4. Press half of the mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Cover with berries, then sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool, eat some, then let cool completely.

Make the Ice Cream:

  1. Remove your chilled vanilla bean base from the fridge and discard the vanilla bean pod. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  1. Once the ice cream is finished, add a layer to your storage container, then add a layer of smashed crumble, then a layer of ice cream, then crumble, etc.
  2. it to your storage container, and store until texture is hardened (preferably overnight). Once ready to serve, let the ice cream sit out for 10 or 15 minutes until softened.
  3. Enjoy!!!!