It has been ages since I made an ice cream so I started getting the ice cream itch. Then I went to Disney during and EPCOT food festival. The result is that I came home inspired by flavors and jumped into churning almost immediately. And this is my first result.
I wanted something that embodied Spring. Down in Disney there was a honey food vendor and some of the food there was amazing. What could be more Spring than honey? It’s made from pollen, which is the physical manifestation of Spring. But a basic honey ice cream would just be too gentle a flavor. There needed to be something sharp to cut in there, but also stay refreshing. And this oranges, or in this case clementines, entered the picture, But how to use them? A swirl or sorbet? The texture wouldn’t work. Some zest in the mix? Possibly, but the contrast could be too sharp there. Then I came up with candying the peel and it all fell into place. And even better, my friend has started raising bees and harvesting her own honey!
Well, she had no more honey left to give me, so I ran to the store and came across this:
I had never tried it but knowing the flavor of mesquite to be that slightly pine and smoke profile, I grabbed a bottle. The honey turns out to be a little on the strong side when compare to standard clover honey. There’s also a very mild sour aftertaste, which seemed all the better to blend into the citrus peel. So I busted out my pots, pans, ice cream machine, and all the ingredients, and got to work.
The honey base (based off the standard go-to base by Jeni Britton Bauer in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home) ended up boiling faster than expected (electric stoves are a curse upon humanity) which actually gave it a toasted flavor that I love. And the end result, after adding the peel and churning, turned out to be a lot more complex than I expected.
Since the mix-in on this is a little time-consuming, I’ll list it first. Because, well, you’ll need it to make the ice cream.
Candied citrus peel
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 or 5 clementines
- peel all of the clementines, keeping the peels in one piece if possible
- cut the peel into fine strips
- place peels in 3 cups of water
- bring to low boil for about 15 minutes
- strain the peel and return to pot
- add 3 cups water and 3 cups sugar to pot
- set to medium/high heat
- stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.
- when syrup hits a boil, drop heat to bring to a simmer
- keep at simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring every once and again
- at this point, most of the water will have boiled off and you’ll be left with the peels in a thick syrup. strain them in a large-holed colander
- place peel on parchment paper on a baking sheet. separate the slices as best you can.
- let dry overnight
And that’s it for the peel. Once dried, they may need to be broken apart by hand but you’re set with the candied peel.
Honey ice cream with candied citrus peel
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup honey
- a little vodka
- 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.
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, corn syrup, and honey in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
- Pour in the vodka, about a shot’s worth. The point of it isn’t to add any flavor, but to lower the freezing temperature with the alcohol so the ice crystals are smaller, giving a smoother texture.
- Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
- Let the base cool overnight in the refrigerator.
- Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
- As you pour the frozen base into your container (pint containers, Tupperware, or whatever you’re using), sprinkle in the candied citrus peel.
- Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.