A sweet friend recently shipped me some Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream all the way from Ohio as a belated birthday gift and end of summer treat. Three pints of different flavors showed up on my doorstep on top a slab of dry ice and made me one happy gal. Since its arrival, I’ve been hiding my ice cream in the back of the freezer, trying to ignore its siren calls. Inevitably, I give in and tell myself, ‘just a spoonful’ will do the trick. For a person with a reasonable amount of willpower one spoonful is enough—but that person is not me. I can’t stop at just one, and I don’t stop until all my spoons lie dirty in the sink.
I don’t, by any means, relegate ice cream consumption to warmer months, but there is something so summery about a bowl of ice cream, eaten outside among a chorus of cicadas. The seasons will soon shift, but there’s still plenty of time to make homemade ice cream and savor the last days of summer.
NOTE: You will need an electric ice cream maker for this recipe. The ice cream canister should be solidly frozen before you attempt this recipe or your ice cream will never actually become ice cream, which would be very sad. If you freeze all the components of the ice cream maker, minus the actual electric base—the canister, the paddle, even the lid—it helps the freezing process along.
The ingredients listed, minus the mint, create a go-to recipe for experimenting with different flavors. If you don’t like mint, you could try infusing your base with lavender or swirling in a berry purée as you pour your ice cream into a storage container.
Step One: PREP
Mix two tablespoons of milk with 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 for an ice bath.
Step Two: COOK
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a four-quart saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat for four minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook about one minute or until slightly thickened, stirring with a heatproof spatula. Remove from heat.
Step 3: CHILL
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add mint, then pour the mixture into a 1-gallon ziplock freezer bag, seal it and submerge in the ice bath for 30 minutes until cold, adding more ice as necessary.
Refrigerate to steep the mint flavor for four to 12 hours.
Step 4: FREEZE
Strain out the mint. Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker’s frozen canister and use the machine to spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet or parchment directly against the surface of the ice cream and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm for at least 4 hours. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.
Frankie Schneckloth lives, works and eats ice cream in Iowa City.