Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blueberry Mint Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

The name of this recipe may sound pretentious, depending on your relationship to creme fraiche. If it does, consider what creme fraiche really is.

Creme fraiche sounds fancy and French.  In fact it is French, but it's country cooking, French-style. Just think of it as something that the Cracker Barrel would have if it was in France. All you have to do to make creme fraiche is: put a little buttermilk in some heavy cream. Put it on the counter overnight.  The next morning, voila:  creme fraiche, good on everything from breakfast to dessert.

For example, ice cream. Creme fraiche gives a sort of subtle tartness to ice cream that offsets its sweetness.  Yesterday I made some blueberry ice cream, sort of unexpectedly. I was skimming the foam off the blueberry jam I was making, and I ended up with a big bowl of foam and a few berries. Why waste that?  I blended it in a blender with half and half, and a little creme fraiche.  The mint was left over from flavoring the jam:  I had steeped a few mint sprigs in the jam for a few minutes after it was finished cooking, so I steeped those mint sprigs again in  the mixture of cream, milk, and blueberries.  This gave a subtle minty taste to the ice cream.  I chilled the blend in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and then made ice cream in my low-tech Donvier ice cream maker.  This is a really simple ice cream maker:  you just keep the freezer bowl in your freezer until you want to make ice cream; then you put it in its outer case, put the paddle in it, pour the ice cream blend in, put a lid on it, and put the crank on. You turn the crank periodically while you're cooking supper, and in 20 minutes, you have ice cream.

There are a lot of ice cream recipes out there, and the Donvier thing comes with some, but it turns out that it's not hard at all to make up recipes once you've done it a few times. I made up the one for blueberry mint creme fraiche ice cream, based on another blueberry ice cream recipe, and it was really good.  Maybe I should tell La Madeleine about it.  After all, they're the Cracker Barrel of France.

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