So, now that we are really into the height of local fruit time, here’s several easy cold...
• For the blackberry sauce: Put the berries, verbena or zest and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Allow to simmer until the berries start to fall apart. Remove the berries with a slotted spoon and put in heatproof bowl. Allow the juices to simmer until thick and syrupy — don’t let it become jam, but it should thickly coat the back of a spoon. Remove the leaves and pour over the berries. (I like to strain out the majority of the seeds, but you don’t need to do that if they don’t bother you.) Let cool, and place in refrigerator.
• For ice cream: Put sugar and zest in blender or food processor. Pulse until zest is very fi ne. Add juice and process until sugar is mostly dissolved. (The color of the mixture will start out opaque and get clearer as the sugar dissolves.) Add half-n-half and salt, pulse to combine. Chill mixture at least 1 hour. Pour into ice cream maker and process per directions, or pour into wide freezer container and freeze, stirring with a fork every 10–15 minutes, until it looks like ice cream. Cover and keep in freezer until ready to serve.
• To make ripple ice cream: When ice cream is ready from the machine, spread a layer in a container and drizzle some of the chilled sauce over. Add another layer of ice cream, and another layer of the sauce. Continue until you add all the ice cream. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.
About this recipe
A few years ago, I came across a recipe in the New York Times for corn ice cream with blackberry sauce. The ice cream was no great shakes, but the sauce is incredible.
This sauce keeps in the fridge for weeks, so make a big batch and put it over everything: vanilla ice cream, peaches, pound cake or angel food cake, for a few ideas. I made a “ripple” ice cream with it for this article and put the sauce in the ice cream to be fancy, but just spooning it on top is a whole lot easier. Bonus: lemon verbena! I love this herb and grow it every year. This sauce alone is reason enough to grow it in your herb patch. But lemon zest (or even kaffir lime leaves, if you have some of those on hand from Asian cooking) tastes great too.
This is the lemon ice cream for you if you are a lemon lover like I am. I’ve regrettably always found most lemon ice cream to have an off , artificial taste, no matter how high-end the ice cream. But this one delivers perfect flavor, I promise.