Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blackberry Ice Cream

I think the best thing my hubby did after making our little raised rock garden in the backyard, was to train some wild blackberry bushes to grow over our back fence.  These last few years we have really been enjoying our mini harvest of berries.  We've made cobblers, crisps, blackberry pancakes, blackberry syrup, and of course, blackberry ice cream with our Cuisinart 2-quart ice cream maker.  There is just something simple and magical that happens when sweet cream and berries get together.

Beautiful blackberry ice cream
I searched the interwebs high and low for an easy recipe.  It seemed every single one I found had eggs in it.  Some kind of eggs or egg yokes and tempering.  Tempering is the scariest cooking term I can think of.  It's the process of mixing a hot cream liquid in with eggs.  Do it right, and you have a heavenly custard.  Do it wrong, and you've got sweet scrambled eggs.  Maybe I will one day be brave enough to attempt my all time favorite dessert creme brule' and blog about it for you (a thought that makes my stomach twist in knots). For now I looked at all the online recipes and immediately thought, I don't want to ruin a beautiful bunch of blackberries with scrambled eggs.  So I decided to pretend these were blueberries and make almost the same ice cream recipe I did for those, which turned out fabulous!!  First you want to pick some blackberries, about 4-5 cups worth.

backyard blackberries at their finest
Wash and rinse them well.  We like to lay them out on a few paper towels and pat them dry.  Next dump four heaping cups of blackberries into a pot.  Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 Tablespoons of water, and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. (Printable recipe found at the end of post).

I did not have a lemon in the blueberry recipe but all the online blackberry recipes seemed to have it, so we added it.
Turn the stove to medium heat and stir until the the ingredients combine and the berries start to form a sauce.

You don't want a hard boil here, just a nice simmering to reduce the berries and sugar to a sauce
To help the process along, I got out our potato masher and squished the berries to help them burst.

Why is smashing berries so satisfyingly therapeutic?  I'm not sure, but I like it.
After about 10-15 minutes you will be left with a blackberry syrup of sorts.  The berries have broken down into a lovely rich sauce, and let me tell you, your house will smell completely fabulous.

bubble bubble little sauce

While your sauce is reducing, find a wire mesh strainer and place it over a bowl of about the same size.

When your berry mixture is ready, pour it very slowly into this strainer.  Blackberries have very large seeds (unlike raspberries or blueberries) and this sauce is going to have to be strained to make the ice cream texture more enjoyable.

Oh and by the way, this stuff can get splattery real quick so be careful and pour slow
Now you want to use a spatula and start pushing the berry mixture through the strainer.  All the seeds will be left behind and the blackberry syrup will drip down to the bowl below.

Whoa!  Look at all the seeds left behind! Imagine picking all of those out of your teeth! Ug.
Now if you peek into the bowl below, you will have a smooth, silky, blackberry syrup that is packed with flavor.  Note: You do not have to add any more sugar or anything else to this recipe later.  All the sweetness is added when making this sauce.

Feel free to take a little taste here... you've earned it.
Now you are going to want this mixture completely cool.  We put this in the fridge for a few hours until it was nice and cold.  The next step is to add this sauce to the milk and cream, and if it's still warm it will change the texture of the ice cream.  Okay, so some time has passed, In another bowl you want to add the 3 cups heavy cream and 2 cups of milk.  Pour the chilled blackberry syrup mixture into the cold milk mixture.

Stir gently together until it changes from swirl colors...

The girls love to watch this part
To this lovely shade of purple/mauve

Where the blueberry sauce turned a vibrant purple, the blackberry sauce has some lovely shades of pink in it
Since everything is chilled and ready to go, you can now pour the ice cream mixture into your inner canister of the ice cream machine.  We chill our canister for 12-24 hours before, so it's nice and cold.

Set your timer for about 22 minutes and soon you will have something that looks like this:

Soft serve blackberry ice cream... you can eat it now or send it into a deep freeze for scoopable fun
We like to transfer this back to the 2-quart Pyrex bowl, cover with some plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 5-6 hours, sometimes longer.  When you have it to a solid, frozen consistency, then scoop away and add it to cones, bowls, open mouths of children standing near by...

Blackberry perfection

We loved making up our own recipe for this ice cream.  Smooth, creamy, and the blackberry fruit flavor really comes through.  Here's a link to a printable version of the recipe.  Enjoy!

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