august 7, 2015
As I was making avocado lime cilantro salad dressing for a client, the thought occurred to me that these flavors would make a fine ice cream. Resolve to make this dessert was strengthened after I devoured basil lime ice cream at Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream here in Richmond’s Carytown district. Summer herbs in a creamy, cold sweet base? Of course.
Planning for the Summer Sunday Supper at Little House Green Grocery, I knew I could take advantage of our local stone fruits, macerated in local honey. Add a cute almond shortbread cookie and center the dish with a tart, not-too-sweet, herbal frozen confection and you’ve got yourself a dessert that says summer.
If you have a natural aversion to cilantro (to some folks it tastes like soap), you can omit the herb and simply call this avocado lime ice cream, and you will know happiness. If you like cilantro in moderation, by all means use the smaller amount. Do know that since the leaves are crushed and ground in the blender, the flavor is less strong than you would imagine and what you experience as a first note is the lime.
This dessert is easy, easy, easy if you have a blender and an ice cream machine. It only looks like you have been laboring intensively. Like most ice creams, it is best served if softened slightly; I place the container in the fridge at the start of dinner if it is well frozen, and by dessert time it scoops nicely into soft puffs.
I live for homemade ice cream (see red wine cherry ice cream and cardamom rosewater frozen yogurt and strawberry balsamic gelato) and also love to enjoy frozen desserts made locally, like at Bev’s and at my old favorite Gelati Celesti. I am impressed with unusual flavor combinations, but also swoon over a solid vanilla or dark chocolate.
Happy churning and remember that the cook always gets the last scoop.
Avocado Lime Cilantro Ice Cream
makes about one quart
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 ripe Hass avocados (total about 12 ounces)
1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped*
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 scant tablespoon finely grated lime zest, green part only (no bitter white pith)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* use one very packed cup if you like cilantro and loosely packed if not
- Add milk, avocado and cilantro to blender and blend until cilantro bits are finely ground.*
- In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, lime zest and cream over medium low heat, stirring with heat proof spatula until sugar is melted – avoid simmering.
- Off heat, combine avocado mixture and sweetened cream in mixing bowl, whisking until just blended.
- Add lime juice and vanilla.
- Chill mixture at least six hours or overnight; some darkening may occur – whisking lightly will restore color.
- Add chilled ice cream mixture to running electric ice cream maker, and churn for about 20 minutes or until it has the appearance of soft serve ice cream.
- You may serve it immediately, but it will take on firm ice cream texture if allowed to freeze at least four hours.
* avoid the temptation to blenderize heavy cream with the avocado and cilantro, as you will over whip and end up with buttery chunks