Blackberries have not shown up at our farmers market yet, but lucky for me, I had a secret stash from Christmas that I finally emptied.
Rewind to last Christmas when I visited Rahul’s parents. Each year I put together a package of food items (a mix of store bought and home made) for Rahul’s dad, Richard. It is usually full of pickled items and condiments. This Christmas, he gave ME a similar package. In it was: a frozen, butchered rabbit (used for my beer braised rabbit recipe) and a gallon-size bag of frozen blackberries picked from his backyard.
Foraged foods, gotta love em.
It took a few attempts to perfect this ice cream recipe. At first, I used only 2 cups of blackberries and but that was not enough blackberry flavor. 3 cups were perfect, though I suppose you could use more if you wanted to.
Also in my first attempt, I churned the ice cream and at the very end, I added a few frozen blackberries to the mixture. If you do that, thaw them first. Otherwise, they will not thaw as quickly as the ice cream and you will end up biting into hard, frozen pieces of fruit.
This ice cream recipe in itself is not that unique – you can find a blackberry ice cream recipe on the world wide web pretty easily. But the combination of the backyard blackberries and the mint growing in MY backyard made it a special, close-to-my-heart recipe.
This year I did decide to plant mint, even though I know well and good that mint can grow faster than I can use it. However, I made a pact with myself to harvest the mint frequently and use it in as many creative ways I can. A simple syrup with torn mint leaves can be spooned onto the ice cream with leftovers kept for vanilla ice cream, adding to tea or enjoyed in a cocktail.
Backyard Blackberry Ice Cream with Backyard Mint Syrup
For the ice cream:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups blackberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the mint syrup:
- 30 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- In a saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, heavy cream, light corn syrup, vanilla bean and pinch of salt over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- In a second saucepan, heat the blackberries, water, and additional tablespoon sugar together over medium high heat until boiling, stirring frequently to break up the blackberries. Let boil for 3 minutes.
- Strain the blackberry sauce using a fine mesh strainer over the ice cream base and stir.
- Refrigerate the ice cream base over night.
- Remove the vanilla bean and strain the ice cream base over the ice cream machine. Freeze per your ice cream maker’s instructions – mine took about 15 minutes.
- Scoop the ice cream into containers and freeze for at least one hour.
- To create the mint syrup, heat the torn mint leaves, water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat to boil.
- Let boil for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool. I prefer to the leave the mint leaves in the syrup until I need to use the syrup.
- You can strain them out or leave them in, your choice. Mint leaves are edible!