Friday, April 16, 2010

Lemon Speculoos Ice Cream

Last week I reached the conclusion of lemon week, my ambitious attempt to do good with a drawer full of meyer lemons before they hit the compost bin.  I love ice cream, and I'd trust David Lebovitz with my life, so when I flipped to his recipe for lemon speculoos ice cream, I knew exactly what I'd be doing with my final four.  I've had my fair share of lemon sorbet, but lemon ice cream is a whole different animal.  It's first and foremost an ice cream, with the richness you'd expect from your favorite pint of Haagen-Dazs.  The lemon brightens the recipe up a bit because it is Spring after all!  Everything comes together with a crumbly ginger cookie mixed in, resulting in a fresh spring twist on the classic cookies n' cream.  And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

If you've never heard of speculoos (I know I hadn't), it's a biscuit-like cookie that's all the rage in Belgium.  It's very similar in flavor to a ginger snap, with powdered ginger, allspice, and cinnamon all in the mix.  The recipe in the book yields one large cookie, and it was the perfect texture to mix in.  The final product is a perfect exercise in complementary flavors (although gingersnaps from the grocery store would be a fine substitute). 

Start by zesting your lemons into a blender.  My microplane grater and I are very close friends after lemon week.

Add a bit of sugar...

Then add a bunch more sugar, and pulse the sugar and zest until it comes together in the blender like so.

Now the lemon sugar gets heated with a combination of milk and heavy cream.

Heat the mixture enough to dissolve the sugar, and then let everything hang out in a covered pan for about an hour.  This is where all that lemony goodness infuses into the cream, so make sure you do this for the full amount of time.

When your cream has infused, and you have finished your episode of Real Housewives of New York City (team Bethenny!), separate five eggs.  Put the yolks in a bowl, and put the whites in a tupperware.  One of these days I'll share an angel food cake or meringue recipe so you can get your money's worth out of those egg whites.  But for now, just put them in the fridge.

Whisk your egg yolks...

And in a separate bowl, measure out some more heavy cream.

Now you're going to mix your yolks with the lemon/sugar/milk/cream mixture.  Don't just throw the egg yolk in or you'll end up with a lemon omlette.  Start by pouring about 1/2 cup of the warm liquid into the yolks, whisking constantly.  Then add a bit more, and then stir the warmed yolks into the pan.  They're tempered!  Now  you'll slowly heat the pot until the custard thickens.  You don't want it boiling, just veeeery gently simmering.

Now we'll strain the lemon custard into the cream.  Straining keeps the lemon zest and any cooked egg out of the ice cream, which is why you'll finish with a perfectly smooth texture.


Now chill the custard overnight, and churn it in your ice cream maker.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment is a glorious beautiful thing.

When the ice cream has churned (after about 20 minutes), stir in your crumbled cookie bits!

Lemon Speculoos Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

3 large lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups crumbled speculoos or gingersnap cookies

Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or blender.  Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is very fine. 

Warm the milk with the lemon-scented sugar, 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, and the salt in a heavy saucepan.  Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for one hour. 

Rewarm the lemon-infused mixture.  Pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour warm lemon-infused milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. 

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Discard the lemon zest and stir until cool over an ice bath. 

Chill the mixture thoroughly in your refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  As you remove it from the ice cream maker, stir in the cookie bits.

Note:  I do have the recipe and photos for speculoos if you want to make it at home, but a certain little pug had a run in with my laptop, and there's trouble in computer paradise.  I'll do my best to have it out next week.  


  1. Great process photos. This ice cream sounds fantastic.

  2. Stop by my site this weekend, I gave you an award-congrats! anne

  3. I've never heard of a speculoo either, but I can't wait for the recipe!

  4. i'd have to say my fridge has been stocked with lemons due to all of your lemon posts lately ala lemon curd ;)! i have yet to use them but damn it i will! now i want this lemon speculoos ice cream it looks amazing!

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