In all of the chaos of kicking off our IndieGoGo fundraiser this week, we arrive at our favorite day. Or as it has become over the last year – flavor day.
And as luck would have it, the flavor I chose for the week of the kickoff proved to be a bit of a challenge.
We had been wanting to use Meyer lemons in a flavor since they are in season and a facebook flavor-storming session with our good friend Molly McNeil (of Minnesota Peach fame) pushed it into the spotlig
I envisioned this flavor to be a green hued, deeply flavored sweet basil ice cream with ribbons of meyer lemon curd glowing through each scoop. Unfortunately I realized after my first incarnation that we weren’t quite ready to cross into pesto cream sauce with lemon ice territory, which was exactly where we ended up after the first round.
Sometimes these flavors take on a personality during development, almost like they are a living, breathing thing. I’ve caught myself almost talking to a flavor idea, demanding that it cooperate or tell me what would make it happy. After some smooth talking, I finally found the right path, which included a few adjustments to find harmony.
First, the lemon curd.
Lemon curd is a great cake filling or baking ingredient, but thrown into ice cream in its basic form results in a hard, icy texture that doesn’t translate well. So to fix, the curd was baked in the oven to caramelize the sugars and reduce out the water content. The result is exactly the filling you get with a lemon bar, translucent with the melding of the sugar, butter, and eggs. It incorporates into the ice cream beautifully.
For the ice cream, I initially steeped the cream in basil and threw in minced basil to finish. The result was an overwhelming sour basil flavor, which if actually treated like pesto might be good, but without the balance of a walnut or pine nut was too much on its own. I’m not going to say Pesto is not workable because in all honesty its danced around our flavor list for awhile. But for now, it would wait.
The right decision was keeping the basil out of the ice cream until right at the end, where it was minced and added to provide an accent flavor to the Meyer Lemon (which is truly the star of the show) and leave the clean cream flavor some room to breathe.
The final product.
Want to try some for yourself?
As we do every week, we’ll be giving away two pints of this flavor. Just leave a comment on our facebook page to be entered into the drawing. If you don’t have a facebook account, leave a comment right here on the blog. We’ll draw two winners on Friday afternoon (3/9/2012) at 4pm and will announce them on our facebook page (or email you if you’re comment resides here). Our only conditions are you must be able to pick it up here in Minneapolis, and be willing to give us a little feedback that can be shared with everyone else. Good luck!