Now that we’re down to one cow, I have a problem: I don’t get enough cream to make butter and I have too much cream to use up in everyday drinking. My solution? Ice cream!
(I’ve always been a good problem solver.)
Now listen up. If you want to elevate your ice cream, focus on the add-ins. I don’t just mean cocoa powder for chocolate, or espresso for coffee, but the actual chunks, or thick swirls, of deliciousness that you create for the sole purpose of making ice cream even more wonderful than it already is.
I’m only just beginning to understand this. Currently, I’m obsessed with fruit crisp ice cream.
I made a batch of crisp crumbles for this very purpose: a pan of buttery, gently-spiced crisp crumbs that I baked, stirred to break up the pieces, and then transferred to a half gallon jar in the freezer. Layered with the vanilla ice cream and fruit, these crisp crumbles soften a bit, but not all the way. It’s perfect, I think — a little soft with a distinct crunch.
some of these chunks are a little too big
My mother says she maybe prefers her ice cream with granola sprinkled on top immediately before eating. Which is good, yes, sure, of course. But granola on ice cream is two things eaten together. This is three separate parts joined to make one: a fruit crisp ice cream. It’s entirely different, I think.
And with this version, there’s the added fun of digging for the good bits. I always know I’ve landed on a good ice cream when I find myself standing at the island, double — triple, quadruple, doz-iple — dipping despite my family’s cries of outrage.
Getting the fruit right for this ice cream was a challenge, and it’s still in process, to be honest. See, the main problem with fruit in ice cream is that the fruit gets icy. I’ll be savoring the luscious creamy ice cream and then — bam — my mouth gets hit with a chunk of hard, fruity ice. No thank you.
Cooking the fruit seems to help (like I did in the blueberry swirl version), but when I made a black raspberry version (cooking the berries with sugar and a little cornstarch), the berries were still a bit icy.
Then my mother suggested I add gelatin. She pointed out that we used to make fruit popsicles when I was a kid, and the fruit was always icy, but if we made jello pops, then it wasn’t. So I made the ice cream again, this time with a red raspberry sauce, to which I added a teaspoon of gelatin — and it wasn’t icy! (Though maybe red raspberries just aren’t as icy as the black ones, or I cooked them harder than the black ones? Not sure. More testing is needed…)
Anyway. For now I’m going with it. Cook (or roast) the fruit with sugar, add a bit of gelatin, and use that as your fruit add-in.
Fruit Crisp Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer.
To watch me make the vanilla ice cream base, go here.
Layer the ice cream with the fruit and crunchies. For added eye and flavor appeal, I like to stir some of the fruit into the ice cream and then marble the flavored ice cream with the plain vanilla and fruit sauce. Press a piece of wax paper on top and freeze the ice cream for 4-6 hours before eating.
for the fruit (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, peaches, etc, or a combo)
2-3 cups of fresh or frozen fruit
½ -1 cup sugar (don’t skimp on the sugar)
1 teaspoon cornstarch, if the fruit is extra saucy
1 teaspoon plain gelatin
Cook the fruit and sugar (and optional cornstarch) over medium high heat. Let it bubble a bit. If it’s extra juicy, let it cook down and thicken a little. Remove from heat and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Let it rehydrate for a couple minutes and then stir in. Chill the fruit in the fridge.
for the crisp crunchies
1½ cups flour
¾ cup brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
1½ cups rolled oats
Using your hands, mix everything together until sandy crumbs form. (If using a food processor, pulse everything together but the rolled oats. When combined, pour the mixture into a bowl and add the oats. Squeeze the mixture a few times to combine.)
Spread the crumbs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes, stirring once or twice to break up the chunks (the biggest chunks should be no larger than a kidney bean), and to make sure they brown evenly.
Cool to room temperature before transferring to a lidded container and freezing. This makes enough crisp crunchies for 3-4 batches of ice cream.