jeni's splendid ice cream desserts

jeni's splendid ice cream desserts//wanderaven

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Baeur

I had grand plans.

I was going to make Jeni's Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream Bread Pudding from her new book, which makes sense since this, her second book, isn't just about the ice cream but also about the desserts to go along with it.

But there was a misreading of the recipe + a kitchen plumbing mini-disaster and so I didn't make the bread pudding.

salty vanilla frozen custard//wanderaven

But it's juuuuuust fine. Because I had on hand ultra-fresh spring strawberries and blueberries. So I made the Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard instead, macerated some strawberries, and ended up with a light, creamy spring dessert.

salty vanilla frozen custard//wanderaven

Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard (slightly adapted) from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

(makes about 1 quart)

2 3/4 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • PREP: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk, the egg yolks, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the cream cheese, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  • COOK: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually add about 2 cups of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, one ladleful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, just until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve if necessary.
  • CHILL: Gradually mix the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture 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 frozen canister from the freezer, assemble your ice cream machine, and turn it on. Pour the custard base into the canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the custard 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, at least 4 hours.

I halved the recipe above, and it worked well. I also initially intended to use this frozen custard in the bread pudding so, as Jeni suggested, decreased the salt to 1/2 teaspoon (of the recipe above, so I used 1/4 teaspoon in my halved recipe). The custard was still distinctly salty, so I would actually recommend decreasing the salt anyway, unless you're really craving some saltiness.

On the whole, Jeni's directions are very well thought out and should be followed as above if you want a reliable, very creamy and chunk-less custard. I didn't need to strain the custard (although I did temper the egg mixture very slowly, a trickle at a time rather than the "ladleful" as suggested). The only other variation I made from the directions above is that the thought of pouring still-pretty-hot custard into a Ziploc bag sounded slightly scary and removing it from the Ziploc after cooling sounded messy and a bit wasteful (so much left behind in the bag!). So I left the warm custard in the smaller bowl and then set it inside the ice-and-water filled larger bowl, just making sure that the level of ice water was low enough it wouldn't flood into the smaller bowl.  This likely meant that it took longer to cool than if it had been in the thinner Ziploc, but it still took less than 30 minutes (at the halved recipe amount).

salty vanilla frozen custard//wanderaven

Very nice! One of the attractions to Jeni's ice cream is her unique and exciting flavour combinations, so I admit it's a bit odd that I ended up with, well, a very vanilla dish here, but I'm happy that I did. It's nice to try a custard ice cream, as opposed to a straight ice cream (without the egg yolks), as it was a richer, definitely custard-y flavour; a lovely counterbalance to the tart strawberries and dark, juicy blueberries.

But I'm still looking forward to trying other recipes from this book. Jeni includes custards, ice creams, frozen yogurt, dairy -free ice creams (créme sans lait), sorbets, cakes and biscuits, sundae combinations, sugar croutons, jams, and gravels.

Want to try:

Honeyed Buttermilk Ice Cream with Corn Bread Gravel

Parmesan Zucchini Lady Cake Ice Cream

Farmstead Cheese & Beet Ice Cream

French Toast Frozen Custard

Absinthe & Meringue Ice Cream

Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake Frozen Skyr

Grapefruit & Beet Shrub Sorbet