Sunday, March 3, 2013

Buttermilk Ice Cream

Day 17

Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photography, 2013
There is a restaurant in Washington, Virginia called The Inn at Little Washington that is known for its buttermilk ice cream. Because of its price, I have never eaten there, but I did receive their cookbook from a friend a few years ago. In the cookbook is the recipe, which basically involves making a delicious custard, cooling it, adding the appropriate amounts of buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla bean, then churning it—a standard custard ice cream recipe. Except this one is out of this world. And it’s perfect for a summer time treat, served with fresh sliced, juicy peaches. 

Knowing that I love homemade ice cream (and since I’ve hinted about it for five years now), my sweet husband gave me an ice cream maker for Christmas. This past week, I decided to use it for a blog recipe, so I read the directions in the owner’s manual and checked out the recipes that were recommended by the manufacturer. One of the recipes was for a basic vanilla ice cream—pretty simple and very low key in terms of following directions. I wondered how the ice cream might turn out if I used the recommended amounts of each ingredient, but changed some of the milk to buttermilk, added real vanilla beans instead of extract, and tried to imitate Little Washington while also making it my own.

The result was really nice. The ice cream, after freezing for a few hours, was creamy and sweet for sure, but it also had a pleasant kick that would be difficult to identify if you didn’t know it was buttermilk. In other words, the flavor isn’t overwhelming. I served it with pureed blueberries and strawberries, but it’s also great served over a generous slice of your favorite citrus pound cake. 

With spring and summer just around the corner, you’ll want to keep the recipe handy. Bon App├ętit!

Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbs. vanilla extract plus seeds from 1 vanilla bean

With an electric mixer on low speed, whisk together buttermilk, sugar, and salt until sugar is dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla/vanilla bean. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but up to 8 hours. 

Using an electric ice cream maker, pour the mixture in the FROZEN freezer bowl (the bowl should be frozen for at least 16 hours before using it, for most ice cream makers) and allow to churn/mix until completely thickened—about 20 minutes. The ice cream will be soft and creamy, similar to custard. Transfer to airtight containers and freeze for 2+ hours, depending on desired level of firmness. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. 

Delicious served with fresh berries. Serves 4-6.

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