Preserved Lemon Ice Cream
A few days before school started, I went into a little planning frenzy. I drafted a long list of lunch and snack ideas for myself and Maya. Unsure about some of the choices, I crossed them out and jotted down brand new ones a few days later. Egg salad and tuna salad were keepers. Sushi didn’t qualify as affordable or kid-friendly. I chopped carrot sticks, sliced a dozen apples and prepared enough chocolate milk for a whole week, to be easily reheated in the morning for M’s breakfast. Heck, I even made ice cream in anticipation of evenings when my head simply needs to cool off after lecturing on grammar all day, grading papers, doing homework, picking up dinner, cooking dinner, returning phone calls, paying bills.
Not that I mind doing any of these things separately (well, except paying bills), it’s just that when they’re crammed in a twelve-hour day with little or no breaks in between, my head starts spinning, my temperature rises, and I start seeing stars, literally, even though I’m totally sober.
The moment I see stars (fluorescent ones, no less!), glitter, baby aliens doing cartwheels in the air and other dizzying visions, I know I need a cooling sweet fix—a tangy one, preferably.
Luckily I had made preserved lemons recently . And luckily, I had made plans for them too: ice cream, thank heavens!
Might think it’s a strange flavor for ice cream. Well, it is in a way. I have never seen or heard of preserved lemon ice cream in Morocco yet it tasted like the most Moroccan dessert I’ve ever had. Orange blossom honey, briny preserved lemons softened by cream and vanilla tasted like having brewats or baklava with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a shot of limoncello at the same time. Quite an unlikely combination but quite amazing as well.
Preserved Lemon Ice Cream Recipe
4 to 6 servings
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup whole milk or half and half
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
Pulp of 2 preserved lemons, or more to taste
3 to 5 drops yellow food coloring, optional
Bring the cream, milk, honey and vanilla extract to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the mixture back in the saucepan and cook it, stirring constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Let cool slightly.
Puree the preserved lemon pulp in a food processor and stir it into the custard. Add food coloring, if using. Taste and add a little more honey or preserved lemon pulp if you wish to have a stronger flavor. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in a lidded container until set.
Garnish with minced preserved lemon rind or grated lemon zest, if you wish.