cooler than being cool

I didn’t really celebrate this holiday just past. I walked out of the hospital after a long day just in time to catch the tail end of the pyrotechnic displays scattered over South Side skies, lit some sparklers in my back alley with a pack of neighbor kids visibly dizzy on the fumes summer and bug spray and fire, then dragged my tired self straight into bed.

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I can’t say I was too sad about letting the holiday pass me by with barely a nod of acknowledgment. Of course the meaning of the day isn’t lost on me, but the I think real celebrating of the 4th is best left to the kids because they’re the ones who can see the magic of it all the best. The obvious magic that the kids in the alley saw in their sparklers inspired me to put into practice one of my favorite acts of kitchen magic- making ice cream.

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Homemade ice cream has long been one of my favorite summer treats and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t find the process magical. You mix some liquids, you make them cold, you churn it all up, and you end up with unparalleled goodness. Of all the kitchen miracles – yeasted bread, soufflé, custard, roux, pickles, it’s a very long list – homemade ice cream is superlative.

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I’m the proud mama of a growing brood of small kitchen appliances and I love them all in their own unique ways and I could never choose a favorite. My food processor, though older than I am, can turn slimy chickpeas into etherial hummus. My hand mixer can go from zero to whipped cream in 60 seconds. My Vitamix… (juuuuust kidding but a girl can dream right?) But I must say of the whole lot, my little ice cream freezer holds a place of honor. So far this summer I’ve churned up batches of salted caramel, chocolate custard, mango sorbet, and now this holiday-edition black raspberry + chocolate chunk number.

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Folks who like black raspberries as much as we folks in my family like them have definite opinions about raspberry seeds (hell, we have definite opinions about most everything but that’s beside the point). I usually don’t mind the seeds- I’m a jam over jelly girl- but for this batch of ice cream I opted to strain them out for the sake of smoothness. The chocolate is easily omitted or easily doubled to suit your liking. I get the sense that this custard would make a magical base for any fruit that comes your way this summer.

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream (adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

3-4 c black raspberries

3 T sugar

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 1/2 c heavy cream

1 1/2 c half-and-half

1 c sugar

5 large egg yolks

1 t vanilla extract

1/2-1c semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Combine the berries, 3T sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the mixture becomes a loose sauce. Pour through a fine mesh straining to remove the seeds. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the 1c sugar and half-and-half to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until slightly thickened. Temper the yolks by slowly whisking in about 2/3 of the warm half-and-half mixture. Pour the tempered yolks back into the pan with the remaining half-and-half and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon. Pour the cream into a heatproof bowl and gently mix in the egg mixture. Stir in the raspberry mixture and add the vanilla.

Cool in the refrigerator for a few hours, up to overnight, until thoroughly chilled. Or if you’re in a hurry, place the bowl in an ice bath to cool it more quickly. Freeze according to direction on your machine. When the ice cream is almost done, in the last minute or so of freezing, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Drizzle into the ice cream, using a spoon to make sure it doesn’t all puddle at the top.

 

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