Years ago, buttermilk was what the liquid left over after churning butter was called. It was thick and rich and had little flecks of butter in it. Today buttermilk is made commercially by adding special bacteria (as opposed to random, kitchen-floor-type bacteria) to lowfat or nonfat milk. It gives the milk a thickened consistency and tangy flavor. I can't drink it straight, but I do love the flavor of buttermilk when it's combined with other ingredients. I decided to incorporate it into a subtly flavored lemon ice cream, adding it to the hot custard base just after it's made. The ice cream has a lovely tang, and pairs deliciously with fruit and berries.
Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream
Makes 2 quarts
1 quart milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon zest (from about 5 medium to large lemons)
2 large egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
1. Combine the milk, cream and 1 cup of the sugar in a large saucepan. Add the lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, whisk the yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar until blended. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture reaches 175°F on an instant-read thermometer (this should happen very quickly). Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk until blended.
3. Strain the base through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place bowl in an ice bath and stir until cool. Cover bowl and chill for at least 6 hours.
4. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrape the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.