Delectable harvest: Blueberry Ice Cream

With summer upon us, the season is ripe for making icy desserts from one of the Northwest’s most delectable small fruits.

If you don’t already have an ice cream maker, buy a model that uses a pre-frozen canister that you keep in your freezer, ready to go. Try the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker from Williams-Sonoma, $60.

This is a recipe for insanely rich blueberry ice cream, adapted from the vanilla recipe in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments (Ten Speed Press, 2007).

Ingredients

1 cup fresh blueberries
¾ cup sugar
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp high-quality vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange rind

Freeze the ice cream maker’s mixing bowl before beginning this recipe. Also, place a medium-sized bowl in the freezer for the finished ice cream.

In a small saucepan, heat blueberries and ¼ cup sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until blueberries begin to cook down, about 10 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool.

Warm milk (or half-and-half), ½ cup sugar, 1 cup cream, and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the mixture and then add whole bean. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Set aside.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks. After warm vanilla-cream mixture has steeped, slowly pour it into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape mixture back into saucepan.

Stir mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour mixture through the mesh strainer into the bowl of cream then stir. Add vanilla extract, whisk in orange rind, and chill over an ice-water bath until cool.

Chill mixture in the refrigerator. When ready to churn in the ice cream machine, remove vanilla bean. Remove the ice cream maker’s bowl from the freezer and scrape mixture into the frozen bowl. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove medium-sized bowl from freezer, scrape ice cream into the bowl, fold in the blueberry sauce (do not mix), and freeze again.