The Dog Ate My Homework - Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream

Did you all love those Meyer lemons that were in last week's box as much as I did? I thought they were wow, zing, zam, "they getcha right back here", oh so good! They provided all the inspiration I needed to complete my self-prescribed homework of finally using my ice cream maker to make the Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream recipe from the LA Times. Ever since I told you I would make it and blog about it, I was fantasizing about how good it was going to be.

I bought my ice cream maker two years ago, with visions of homemade peach ice cream in the summertime and the kids (big and little) with huge smiles on their faces and ice cream dribbling down their chins. Oh, and it would probably be Fourth of July and we would all be festooned in our getups for the Annual Fourth of July DooDah Parade. However, though we do don our best Independence Day gear every 4th of July, my ice cream maker sat unopened and unused on the top of my extra refrigerator in the utility closet. All that has now changed with the inauguration of my Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2 Quart Ice Cream Maker.

The recipe (complete recipe is posted below) starts off by telling you to peel one of the lemons with a vegetable peeler, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Any of you who have attempted this know that it is very difficult to do. Look at my peels on the cutting board...a bit of bitter pith is on every piece. Do not worry if this happens to you as it is quite easy to scrape away the white part with a sharp paring knife.

Next you place the peel in a non-reactive saucepan with the crushed cardamom pods, the vanilla bean and it's scraped seeds, the sugar, and the half and half. I love cardamom almost as much as I love using my mortar and pestle that I dragged home from Thailand, only to realize that I could have bought one very similar at the Asian market a few miles from my home. This was years and years ago, before I started going to the Asian market. It was, afterall, my trip to SouthEast Asia that peaked my interest in Asian food and thus inspired me to venture to the Asian market. Live and learn. Besides, at that time, there were not weight and bag number restrictions as stringent as they are now. I had a traveller's backpack and a duffle bag large enough to hold a smallish adult.

So you put everything in the pot and then heat to just under a boil, remove it from the heat and let it steep for 10 minutes.

Next, you whisk the egg yolks. I was so enamoured with the fact that the color of the Meyer Lemons were almost the exact color of the sunny yolks of our organic, free-range Windy Knolls eggs, that I took a picture for you.

You then pour in some of the hot half and half mixture, stirring constantly. You don't want to cook your eggs!

Next, pour the half and half mixture back in the pan and heat over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remember....stir constantly so you don't have scrambled eggs instead of ice cream. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl.

Finely grate the zest of 2 of the lemons and add to the mixture in the bowl. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Ooooh, the magic is happening! the flavors are really starting to pop now and this smells like heaven on earth. I use a microplane grater to zest. It's the one Martha Stewart sent me for free for subscribing to Everyday Food. It's as reliable as Martha herself and has stood up over time really well. As you can see, it's alot easier to avoid the bitter pith with the zester then it is with the peeler.

After 10 miutes of the flavor infusing, you add the lemon juice. The recipe says that "you should have about three-fourths cup" of lemon juice from the 5 lemons. Would you look at that!?

Add the cream and the lemon juice to the mixture and stir it up. You then need to chill the mixture throuoghly. That means a good half an hour at least in the fridge. You may even want to put the bowl over another bowl of ice to really get things cold all the way through.

Finally, you add the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze in the ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Here we go. I switch my Pure Indulgence on to "start" and let her rip. My instructions say that I could have ice cream in as little as 20 minutes but it may take up to 35 minutes. I leave it to do it's work and go switch out a load of laundry. When I come back downstairs, my son Enzo says, "Mom, that thing is so LOUD!" He is right. It may be shiny black and stainless on the outside, but the motor buried inside it's sleek exterior sounds like an old washing machine on it's last legs. I decide to put it outside on the back porch to finish up. The ice cream is looking like it's starting to firm up around the edges, so I figured it has about another 20 minutes. Back inside to think about what is for dinner....something that will be good with my delicious creation as it's exclamation point. After about 15 minutes I go out to have a check and Oh...My....God, the dog is out there with his face buried in the ice cream maker, slurping away. Enzo had let the dog out while I was doing the laundry and I didn't see him when I put the ice cream maker on the porch.

Not a happy ending for me, hilarious for the dog. Here he is, laughing hysterically at me. Needless to say, we did not have dessert and my dreams of this delicous concoction went out the door just about as fast as the dog did when he got caught. I would be negligent if I did not add the side note to this ending. The ice cream never firmed up. After catching the dog in action, I let the machine go another 10 minutes to see if it would suddenly turn into ice cream. It didn't. I am going to make another batch of some other ice cream to see what is at play here with my ice cream machine. Perhaps it's two year stint on top of my refrigerator in the utility closet did some sort of damage to the freezer bowl (it is pretty hot up there), even though it was thoroughly frozen for more then 24 hours before using it. Do any of you have a hint for me?? I'll let you all know the outcome of my next batch which will definitely not be left on the porch, even if I have to purchase noise cancelling headphones for the family.

Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream from the LA Times

Servings: 8
5 Meyer lemons
1 tablespoon cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
3 cups whipping cream

1. Peel 1 lemon with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to cut into the bitter white pith. Place the peel in a nonreactive medium saucepan with the crushed cardamom, half-and-half and sugar. Scrape the vanilla pod seeds into the pan and drop in the pod. Heat over high heat to just under a boil. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and then pour in some of the hot half-and-half mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Finely grate the zest of 2 lemons and add it to the mixture. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

4. Add the cream to the mixture. Juice all 5 lemons and add the juice (you should have about three-fourths cup) to the cream mixture. Chill thoroughly.

5. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. (Makes 1 quart.)

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