Meyer Lemon & Thyme Ice Cream
Meyer lemons taste like a cross between oranges and lemon. They're less acidic, sweeter, and have almost herbal and floral notes. These flavors are accentuated with fresh thyme for an ice cream that's both luscious and refreshing.
|1 quart (4 - 8 servings, depending)||15 minutes|
- 7 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4-1/2 t-spoons Meyer lemon zest (1 tablespoon, plus 1-1/2 t-spoons) (about 3 Meyer lemons)
- 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 2 Meyer lemons)
- 3 - 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Small pinch kosher salt
Servings: (4 - 8 servings, depending)
- Zest 2 Meyer lemons right into a pot large enough to eventually cook the custard in (deep, and very wide—see note), enough to yield 1 tablespoon. Pour in the milk and cream, and place over medium heat to bring to a scalding point—it begins to steam and bubbles just begin to form on the sides of the pan.
- Throw in the sprigs of thyme, shut the heat off, and let it all steep for 30 minutes (don’t cover the pan).
- Once 30 minutes is up, bring the cream mix back to a scald while you whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together until thick, pale, and slightly voluminous—about 2 – 3 minutes.
- When the whisk is lifted out of the bowl, the yolks should fall off the whisk in an even, continuous ribbon.
- Now that the cream is scalding again, temper the eggs by whisking a ladles-worth of hot cream into the them. Do this a few times before pouring the rest of the cream into the yolks.
- Wipe the pan out and pour the custard mix back into it through a fine-mesh sieve, catching the bits of zest and thyme stems—don’t worry if a few leaves or flecks of zest pass through.
- Cook the custard over medium-low heat, stirring and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula all the while, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, and when you run your finger across the spoon it stays divided—about 12 – 15 minutes.
- Pour it immediately through a fine mesh sieve set over a heatproof bowl to ensure that the final product comes out perfectly smooth. Whisk the Meyer lemon juice and remaining 1 ½ t-spoons of zest into the custard.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on the surface and let it cool to room temperature before moving to the fridge for at least 6 hours—it has to cool completely before you can even consider churning.
- Once it’s chilled, churn in your ice cream maker per its instructions. Transfer to a storage container and freeze a few hours, at least, before serving.
- Be sure to use a large, heavy bottomed pot to cook the custard in. The wider the pot, the greater the surface area, which means the custard will cook more evenly. It also means constant stirring, but it's all in the name of a perfect custard.
- If you've never made a custard before here is my little spiel on exactly how to do so:
First, grab a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, whisk and heatproof glass bowl. These are your new appendages. Where you go, they go… but you’re not going anywhere once that burner is back on under the custard. Don’t even try it. You might think you have enough time to answer the doorbell, let the dog out or make a cup of coffee while you cook the custard but its already one step ahead of you. It knows what you’re going to try and the second you step away from it – BOOM – sweet, creamy, scrambled eggs.I also advise you to follow Nigella Lawson’s instructions of filling your sink with cold water and ice so that, should the custard start to curdle as you cook it, you can plung the pot into the sink and whisk ferociously until the custard smoothens back out.
Turn the burner back onto medium-low and stir frequently and vigilantly, switching between the wooden spoon and rubber spatula to help scrape the sides and bottom of the pan and prevent any sticking.
Once it’s thickened and cooked, immediately pour out through a fine mesh sieve and into a heatproof glass bowl.