We were enjoying our first successful crop of blackberries earlier this summer when something, somebody, or some animal decided to enjoy them even more. Overnight, whatever it was swooped in and cleaned out our entire crop. The only clue was some berry parts and seeds dropped on top of the pool equipment located next to the blackberry bushes. Makes me think the berry robbers could fly. Anybody else ever had this happen? Luckily, I had gathered a pretty big batch of berries only two nights before in anticipation of making this ice cream.
As someone who is not normally a fan of fruit/chocolate combinations, I am surprised how well the chocolate pairs with the fresh berry flavor. Your tastebuds will wallow in the initial sweet mellowness of the blackberries and cream, but as the cream disappears, you are left with the not-so-sweet but perfectly compatible flavor of the irregularly shaped bittersweet chocolate shards. Indulge yourself and buy good chocolate for the greatest satisfaction.
It’s no accident this ice cream is not terribly decadent. I don’t tolerate large doses of heavy cream, nor do my clothes. That’s why I use nonfat milk, which I always keep in the fridge, along with heavy cream. In regard to the amount of fat in ice cream, I happen to agree with David Lebovitz who says in his book, The Perfect Scoop, “...I don’t believe you need to overdose on fat to make food enjoyable, and too much fat can obliterate other flavors, especially fresh fruits.” If your family drinks 2% milk or whole milk, feel free to substitute them for the nonfat milk.
This is not a cooked or custard-style ice cream which tends to be richer (all those egg yolks) and certainly more labor-intensive. Please note this recipe calls for raw eggs. If you are uncomfortable with the idea or are immune-compromised, look for pasteurized eggs sold in some markets.
A word about the vodka: I’m not into drinking alcohol (personal preference) but I keep vodka in the house for two reasons. First, I like to make my own vanilla extract. Second, a tablespoon of vodka added to any homemade ice cream keeps it from freezing rock hard without changing the flavor. Consequently, leaving it out is OK, too. No substitute required.
- 8 ounces frozen and thawed, or fresh blackberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into skinny slivers with a large knife
- Put blackberries into a blender or food processor, along with sugar and milk, and blend until smooth. You could also squash berries with a potato masher.
- Use a spoon or spatula to force mixture through a strainer.
- Whisk eggs and salt into berry mixture. Add heavy cream, and continue whisking until smooth.
- Cover and chill several hours or overnight.
- Add vodka and lemon juice just before pouring cold ice cream mixture into your ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
- When firm, add chocolate shards to ice cream and stir in by hand. I do this as I pour ice cream into a plastic container to put into the freezer for storage and to finish getting hard before serving.