Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream
The sun is shining, the air conditioner is blasting, and I’m sweating in a tank top and cut-offs. Summer is here and the season of homemade ice cream is among us!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Each time I flip through it, I fantasize about all the different recipes of hers that I’ll eventually get around to making, like Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone, Orange Zest, and Poppy Seeds or her assortment of Sour Beer Sorbets. Not to mention, Jeni’s go-to ice cream base is the absolute perfect at-home base for experimenting with and making a flavor that’s truly your own… If you really wanted to make me happy, you could order me a copy of her newest cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (hint hint, Tony).
Jeni’s Ice Cream is kind of a tradition between Tony, my best friend and college roommate, Chelsea, and her boyfriend and Tony’s BFF, Hunter. The four of us are not above buying two pints of Buckeye State and Salty Caramel and devouring it all under 10 minutes with four spoons. Chelsea and Hunter are also the only two other people in this world that are as obsessed with food and can eat as much as Tony and I. It’s a beautiful relationship. Since Jeni’s opened up shop on Southport in Chicago, we’ve made it a tradition to get Thai food at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Sticky Rice, and then make our way over to Southport for an after-dinner treat.
During our last visit to Chicago, the four of us squeezed in one last trip to Jeni’s before Tony and I departed and I had my first taste of Brambleberry Crisp, or as I like to mistakenly call it, Bumbleberry Crisp. Whether its ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato, I am a creature of habit and I always choose a chocolate-y or caramel flavor. Fruit is for the birds. But since I am not ashamed of sampling every Jeni’s flavor available (Jeni’s little helpers are always so encouraging and friendly), I sampled Brambleberry Crisp. Oh. My. Word. I’ll just copy and paste the description from Jeni’s website since words are beyond me when describing this ice cream, ”
Buttery, oven-toasted oat streusel and a striking, sweet-tart “brambleberry” jam of blackberries and black currants layered throughout vanilla ice cream.
It’s truly like eating a slice of heaven mashed into a delicious and creamy vanilla ice cream. I was so excited to recreate this flavor at home aanddddd luckily for me, ALL of the different components of this ice cream (oat streusel, brambleberry jam, and Ugandan vanilla bean ice cream) are featured in her first cookbook.
I made my way to the market to pick up brambleberries… What the heck are brambleberries? Pretty much the family of berries grown on “bramble” bushes. Anyway, I couldn’t find black currants anywhere, so I just bought extra blackberries and some raspberries. So yes, technically this isn’t a Brambleberry Jam, but a Blackberry-Raspberry Jam, but it does the trick. I cooked my jam and my oat streusel on the first day to save some time and popped my ice cream bowl attachment into the freezer, that is, after a few minutes of reorganizing the freezer and removing two drawers (silly, small Italian freezers and fridges).
The next morning, I woke up with a smile on my face– it’s ice cream day! I seeded my vanilla bean, cooked my cream, made my slurry, and cooled my milk mixture; only to find out that my American KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment DOES NOT FIT my European KitchenAid. What do you mean??? What do you mean this does not fit?! I was furious. I thrashed around the kitchen for a bit and then did some research on the Internet to find a solution. The solution entailed using a bunch of gizmos and gadgets to remove a washer, which is completely unnecessary in the first place, and quite frankly, it just sounded like a lot of work that I wasn’t willing to do. But I wasn’t about to give up that quickly.
I have a newfound respect for “hand-churned” ice cream because boy, that is an arm work-out and a half! The entire 50 minutes I hand-churned my ice cream, I was thinking, “How in the world did people do this before machines??” and I felt completely justified, almost compelled, to eat this entire batch of ice cream because I surely just burned all of the calories I would consume eating it while churning it. The ice cream ended up getting a little icy, because sue me, I threw in the towel after 50 minutes of churning and placed it in the freezer as is, kind of a melting, hot mess. But even my icy Brambleberry Crisp was amazing… and totally worth a 50-minute arm work-out of hand-churning.
So yeah, if I could hand-churn this ice cream, you can surely make this recipe with an ice cream maker because it is THAT GOOD.
Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home:
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
2 cups blackberries and raspberries
1 cup sugar
½ pound unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- To make the sauce, combine the berries and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 220 degrees F (5 to 8 minutes). Let cool slightly, then force through a sieve to remove seeds. (Or leave a few seeds in there just to prove you made it.) Refrigerate until cold before using.
- To make the crisp streusel, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put all the ingredients except the oats in a bowl and blend by rubbing the dry ingredients into the butter with your fingertips. Work quickly so that the butter does not melt. When the mixture looks like coarse sand, add the oats and mix well. Spread out on an ungreased baking sheet. Break apart any large clumps into crumbs about ¼ to ½ inch in size. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until toasted and browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, especially in the corners, and to turn over the unbaked portions. Let cool completely, and then freeze until ready to use. The streusel can be frozen for up to 1 month.
- To make the ice cream, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes precisely. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
- After churning, pack into a storage container alternating it with layers of bramblerry sauce and crisp streusel. Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least four hours.