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swirl and savor

Decadent and Delicious Meyer Lemon & Cardamom Ice Cream

Beth Ribblett

Ever since my post, When Life Gives You Lemons, I've been dreaming about making the Meyer Lemon & Cardamom Ice Cream recipe.  So our dinner invite from a few of our friends tonight provided me the perfect excuse to try my hand at making ice cream, because with as much as Kerry and I cook, neither of us have ever made it!  But I have a feeling it is going to become a very dangerous item in our cooking repertoire!  And being that we only  have a few Meyer lemons left on our tree, it was time to act! 

We went to the farmer's market in the morning where I picked up fresh eggs and locally made whipping cream by the Rocking R Dairy.  We stopped at the new Rouses in the Warehouse District for Rock Salt for the ice cream maker and I had organic, unbleached sugar in the pantry with lots of cardamom pods from our Indian cooking.  Exotic and highly aromatic, cardamom is one of my absolute favorite spices.  It originated in southern India (no wonder I love it so much!) and is used commonly in both savory and sweet dishes like curry powders and chai tea. 

Kerry picked me 3 big lemons while I read the directions from the ice cream maker, given to us by our friend Mary.  I was ready!

This recipe is from the LA Times and besides the few adaptations I made, I found it to be pretty spot on.  But beware, there is nothing light about this.  It is rich, creamy, tart, tangy and sweet all at the same time with that hint of cardamom under all of that delicious lemon flavor.  It made enough for me to pack a quart container to take to dinner, and a half pint that I took to the shop for Mike and Michelle to try. 

Servings: 8

*3-5 Meyer lemons
*1 tablespoon cardamom pods, seeds removed and husks discarded, then lightly crush the seeds with a mortar & pestle
*1 cup half-and-half
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*6 large egg yolks
*3 cups whipping cream

1. Peel 1 lemon with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to cut into the bitter white pith. Place the peel in a nonreactive medium saucepan with the crushed cardamom, half-and-half and sugar. Scrape the vanilla pod seeds into the pan and drop in the pod. Heat over high heat to just under a boil. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and then pour in some of the hot half-and-half mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Finely grate the zest of 2 lemons and add it to the mixture. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

4. Add the cream to the mixture. Juice 3-5 lemons and add the juice (you should have about three-fourths cup) to the cream mixture. Give it all a quick mix with a spoon, cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

5. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Makes 1 quart.)