I picked up a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet and Ice Cream Maker mid-May, and it’s been a permanent fixture on my counter for the entire summer. I’d grown accustomed to waiting half an hour for my ice cream mixtures to freeze in my $30 Rite Aid special I’d bought, half off, three summers ago. So it was pure revelation after I wandered into the University Village Williams Sonoma and impulsively picked up a $150 model marked down to 60–sweet!–and it came with an extra freezer bowl for one-after the other flavor endeavors–double scoop sweet! The revelation occurred when I pulled out my newly-acquired ice cream bible, David Leibovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and christened the Cuisinart with the first recipe I’d selected, Avocado. The pale green mixture, avocado blended with sour cream, sugar, 1/2 and 1/2, and Mexican vanilla froze up to a thick soft serve in 5 minutes. Ridiculous.
Gryphon, my cat, claimed the empty Cuisinart box to hide in (and from which to periodically shoot out unexpectedly underfoot).
I’ve been whipping up frozen confections ever since.
A little obsessively, perhaps. Kristin and Cody suggested maybe I need to go out on a date. And after I sat down with a tablet and wrote out a list of the flavors I developed over the summer, I tend to agree. Just working on my technique, I guess.
Still, no one has complained outright.
Here’s the list of 18 flavors I recalled:
Avocado Ice Cream
Cheesecake Ice Cream with
crushed graham cracker topping
Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Bitter Chocolate Sorbet (the only flop)
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Blackberry Jam Swirl (x3)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
Strawberry Blueberry Gelato
Leche Merengada (Spanish Frozen Meringue)
Peach Ice Cream
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
Blueberry Pluot Apricot Ice Cream
Peach Nectarine Plum Sorbet
Double Chocolate Stracciatella (Italian. Ice cream with streaks of chipped chocolate)
The 3 flavor requests in the ice cream queue are a Rocky Road with homemade marshmallow cream, chocolate mint (which I think I will upgrade to a Stracciatella), and just in tonight, cardamom. That last one sounds perfect for fall, I think, and since it’s one of my very favorite spices, I’ll be happy to oblige. A couple others I can’t wait to get to: Olive Oil Ice Cream (Looks like Molly Moon just added this flavor; I saw it on the menu of their ice cream truck at the Melrose Market today), and Orange Szechuan.
With the exception of the gelato, which came from the Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbeto, just out this year, and the sorbets (which I never look at a recipe for), most of these flavors are Leibovitz’s recipes. I made the leap on my own from peanut butter to Nutella, and Kristin suggested the banana . I opted to eliminate the sugar, despite all online recipes suggesting otherwise. I figured ripe bananas and the sweet paste would be enough. I presented it at Nate’s BBQ, grabbed a scoop for myself, went into the kitchen to wash my hands, and by the time I returned, the quart had been reduced to an inch. And in tonight’s experiment, the Stracciatella had its sugar replaced with agave nectar . . . and gauging from the party guest who adamantly proclaimed it “Killer!” I’d say no one was the wiser.
If I had to pick a favorite flavor out of all these, I’d say Avocado. Maybe part of it is sentiment, but I also thought it perfect because it didn’t beg to be eaten in large quantities…so rich and so unusual that a couple spoons was satisfying. And I loved the fact that nearly everyone reacted the same to it. First, with a bit of scrunch to the face, wanting to expect it would be too odd to be good, and then the total dawning as they realized how damn delicious it was.
A close second would be the Spanish frozen meringue. Lightly scented with lemon and cinnamon, the texture was as near an exact replication of the texture of snow as I could imagine–Cody and I couldn’t stop sneaking spoons of it.
For my birthday, I snuck a quart of the Peanut Butter with Blackberry Swirl into the IMAX to share with 16 friends; I covertly passed Dixie cups down two aisles, and shared another batch at the office. I get requests for this one, so this would be a sure contender for my future imagined ice cream shop. Or for distribution in grocery stores–I mean, really. How is it possible that this flavor isn’t already there?
I am planning to embrace fall. I’m looking forward to things like a rustic double apple cake, spicy fruit crisps, and lots and lots of savory soups.
Happy Autumn. Thanks for the great summer.