Blueberry Buttermilk Ice Cream · GF (about 1 quart)

I call for Lemoncello in the recipe, but any liquor with a flavor that complements blueberries, or even a neutral spirit, will work nicely. If you don’t have anything on hand, or refrain from using alcohol, don’t hesitate leaving it out; the alcohol helps the ice cream maintain an extra silky texture, but it’s quite delicious even without it.

5 oz cream
5 oz buttermilk (substitute sour cream or yogurt if you’re a Yankee)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped; seeds reserved
3 ounces egg yolks (from between 3-5 eggs, depending on size)
2 ounces sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 batch blueberry reduction, chilled
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
optional: 1/4 ounce Lemoncello

In a medium pot, bring the cream and buttermilk to a simmer together with the vanilla bean. When the mixture begins to simmer, shut off the heat and cover with a lid. Steep for one hour.

When the steep time has elapsed, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Return the dairy mixture to a simmer. It may look a little curdled, that’s okay, it will come together in the end, I promise.

Once the dairy begins to simmer, fish out the vanilla bean and use a spatula to scrape out all of the heavily flavored cream from inside the pod. That stuff is liquid gold, make sure not to lose a drop. It’s easier to scrape out the vanilla pod while it’s still warm (hence bringing the mix to a simmer) because when cold, the vanilla-goo congeals and sticks more resolutely to the bean.

Now, whisk some of the hot dairy mixture into the egg yolks, one ladle-full at a time, until the egg mixture is quite warm. Then whisk the egg mixture into the pot of cream and turn the heat to medium or medium low, depending on your comfort level. Stir constantly, making sure to scrape all along the bottom of the pot while to avoid allowing any of the mixture to curdle.

Continue cooking and stirring until the ice cream base thickens markedly (“coating the back of a wooden spoon” being the popular description of done-ness).

Immediately remove from the heat. If you want a perfectly smooth ice cream with no blueberry bits, whisk in the blueberry reduction and strain the blueberry custard through a sieve and into a large bowl. If you’d like a few blueberry skin bits, go ahead and strain the custard, then whisk in the reduction. Either way, finish by stirring in the lemon juice and liquor, if using.

Cool in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

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