We ask ourselves many important questions over the years. Things like: what political views to support, or what car to buy next that will be better for the environment, or anything that has merit and importance in our lives or to others.
And sometimes…after a really hard day or week…we might ask ourselves: wine or ice cream for dinner?
I’ve actually asked myself this a lot over the last couple of years. The answer from friends is often a very enthusiastic, “Both!” Which gave me the idea recently – why not have both, but together? As in fully enmeshed, wrapped up in one another forever and ever until we pillage it with a spoon type of together. The lifespan of this ice cream isn’t long, so we suggest making it as often as possible! Maybe sell tickets, too. It’s that gooood.
This recipe was a big ‘ole experiment. I literally got the idea the week prior to this post. I researched a couple of recipes to get an idea on proportions for the wine to ice cream base, the right ice cream base and whaaallah! This ice cream was born. It’s pretty much a two-day recipe, but that’s nothing new when it comes to decadent, rich ice cream that takes a slightly whacky turn.
By the way, the wine shown above is my absolute, most favorite go-to cheap and sweet wine that, let’s just say, is one of the loves of my life. Not only is it cheap and wonderfully sweet, it now turns ice cream into an even more wondrous experience. I’m not joking about that at all.
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to grab a couple of hot, humid hours in the country gathering delicious, sweet wild blackberries. And sweat. I gathered a lot of that on my shirt. These were not those berries, but they were surprisingly affordable at the grocery store. They were slightly more tart, but this ended up working nicely in a sweet ice cream.
By the way, the picture above of the berries was taken by my kiddo. Training her right, we are!
This is a custard-based ice cream that uses 6 egg yolks, meaning rich and decadent. You know, the way ice cream was always meant to be. It’s also got some heated heavy cream, whole milk and sugar in there, which is added sloooowly to the egg yolks (at which point the Hubby was helping!), then put back in the saucepan to cook a little more. This is partly why it’s a two-day recipe. It’ll go in the fridge overnight, and while this isn’t strictly necessary, it’s highly recommended so that the custard continues to thicken as much as possible.
After the custard is done being heated, you’ll know it’s done when it can coat a spoon. It’ll only be slightly thickened at this point, but enough. This will also be the point when you kind of wake from a dream-like state and the custard-coated spoon is in your mouth. Very strange!
We used 3/4 cups of sweet blackberry wine, but your amount may differ slightly depending on what brand of wine you use. We started with half a cup and upped it by another quarter cup so that the flavor of the wine was just slightly more noticeable. It is still subtle and just barely there enough to say hello. If you’re not sure how much you would prefer to use, add it a quarter cup at a time, but don’t go any higher than 3/4 cup or so because alcohol doesn’t like to freeze, and you can thin the custard too much as well.
In the morning, we were beyond pleased to see that the custard had pretty much tripled in thickness as it cooled in the fridge overnight. At this point, into the ice cream churn it goes! This is the perfect amount for one of those countertop 2-quart ice cream churns. If you don’t have an ice cream churn, you can google other options for making homemade ice cream sans churn.
This is an optional additive – whole blackberries that you then (quickly) smash in the custard with a spatula, or you can crush them a little in a bowl first, then add them and their juices to the custard before starting the churn. We loved the little tiny pieces of frozen blackberries in ours!
While the ice cream is doing its thing in the churn, scoop out about 3/4 to 1 cup of seedless blackberry preserves, any brand you prefer, and give it a stir to loosen it up. Make sure to loosen up and sort of liquefy any big lumps of the preserves.
OK, this is the very important and sometimes tricky part – let’s swirl in the preserves! Place some of the churned ice cream into a freezer-safe container, dollop some of the stirred preserves into it, swirl with a knife, layer on the rest of the ice cream and dollop the rest of the preserves on, then swirl again with your knife. Now hurry and put the lid on and get it in to the freezer before it all melts into ice cream soup!
You wouldn’t believe how quickly this began to happen in our very humid Southern U.S. kitchen. It’ll stay in the freezer to finish firming into a true finished ice cream consistency for several hours now. It’s a good idea to start this early in the morning so that it has plenty of time to firm and be enjoyable by late afternoon or dinner time. It also depends though on your freezer. It’s possible it may not take some as long. Just keep checking it periodically. Again, the alcohol in it could cause it to freeze slower, too.
Or my freezer could suck at its job. A lot. Just putting that one out there.
Pro tip: when making homemade ice cream, one way to get it to firm faster is to put it in as wide a container as possible. The more surface area the ice cream has to spread out on, the thinner a layer it makes and will freeze faster. Just make sure you’ve actually got room for it in your freezer!
Oh my. *gulp* It’s finally ready! Ours was still slightly too soft at three hours of freezing, but we needed to get the pictures done before the sun hit that “getting ready for bed” slant in the sky. After dinner, though, hubby and I had the rest of it *SOB* and by then it had been freezing for about 8 hours and was pretty much perfect.
This is, for lack of a better phrase, truly decadent. The ice cream base makes it really dreamy and creamy. The wine is subtle, just the right amount of flavor without whacking you upside the noggin. The whole and crushed pieces of blackberry add a nice crisp texture if you enjoy that kind of action in your ice cream. The real flavor boost in this one, though, is the blackberry preserves ribboned throughout. I want to go to the store now to stock up on and freeze some more fresh blackberries, but as long as you have the preserves in this, and the wine of course, you’re going to have a very winning evening.
Just remember next time it’s been that kind of day – no longer must you have your ice cream and wine separately! Now, go forth and churn!
Blackberry Wine Ice Cream
Ice cream base adapted slightly from Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream by Peter Pastan via Food & Wine
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: about 10 minutes Chill Time: 2-8 hours Level: Easy Makes: about 1 1/2 quarts
For the ice cream base:
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sweet blackberry wine
For adding to the ice cream:
- 10-12 large blackberries, slightly crushed, plus more for garnish (both optional)
- 3/4 to 1 cup seedless blackberry preserves
In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk and sugar and just barely bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the eggs yolks, pouring a little of the hot liquid in, then whisking, repeating until all the hot liquid is whisked in; return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes; do not let the custard boil or it will curdle.
Strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the blackberry wine (start with a small amount, say 1/4 cup and go up if necessary, to taste; don’t add more than 3/4 cup or the mixture may not thicken as much). Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour or as much as overnight (chilling overnight highly recommended).
Once ready to churn, add the custard to the churn and, if using, add in the slightly crushed blackberries and any juices. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Place the blackberry preserves in a bowl and stir well to loosen. Once the churn is done, place a layer of ice cream, about half, in a wide, shallow freezer-safe container. Dollop half of the blackberry preserves over the ice cream, then the rest of the ice cream in another layer, and end with the rest of the preserves. Using a knife, quickly swirl it through the ice cream to swirl the preserves. Don’t over swirl. Depending on how firm you like your ice cream, the mixture may need to set up further in the freezer. Place a lid on the ice cream container and freeze for as little as two hours or as much as eight hours. Serve with a few fresh blackberries and enjoy.
As said above – our ice cream needed about 8 hours to set up completely. Best to freeze the ice cream and get it straight into the freezer to be enjoyed later that day.
The husband was an instant fan and said it reminded him of the consistency or gelato he’s had in Italy. I took that as a high compliment! The man’s not a big dessert person. And I agree on the consistency (I’ve had gelato in Italy, too).