I love homemade ice cream and am always in search of the best recipes. Jeni's book is featured in almost all of the lists for 2011's best cookbooks. I've been making homemade ice cream for years. Jeni's recipes are different than any I've made before. She uses cornstarch for thickening, cream cheese and no eggs.
I had one Meyer Lemon remaining from our trip to California, so I chose Lemon Ice Cream as the first recipe to try. I've read some great reviews of Jeni's ice cream. This ice cream did not disappoint, it was creamy, tart and so smooth! I also felt it kept better in the freezer than any recipe I'd made before. You know how some ice creams freeze way too hard? Not this one, it stays a nice frozen consistency even after a week or so. I can't wait to try another one of Jeni's recipes.
Jeni's Splendid Lemon Cream Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
2 to 3 lemons
2 tablespoons sugar
Ice Cream Base:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounce (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Zest of 2 lemons (reserved from above)
Prep for the lemon syrup: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 2 of the lemons in large strips; reserve. Halve the lemons and squeeze enough juice to make 1/2 cup. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until chilled. This won't be a very thick syrup.
Prep for the ice cream base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes -- watch it closely and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Freeze: Remove the lemon zest. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on the machine. Pour the lemon syrup through the opening in the top of the machine, and continue to spin the ice cream until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, about 4 hours.