Blog Owner's Note:This post features research and writing by fabulous guest blogger, Kelley Caspari! This is her entry into Round #22 of They Go Really Well Together. Click the link to learn more about this blog event and the science behind TGRWT. It's pretty cool stuff! And as always on this blog, the recipe is totally vegetarian (obviously not vegan) and gluten-free. And it sounds delicious! ***
A couple of years ago I had a dream. The only thing I could remember of it on waking was a delicious flavor of ice cream I'd had - cucumber-raisin. I actually mentioned this to an ice cream maker and he looked at me like I was unhinged. Ah well! I promised myself that one day I'd make it. And this month Khymos suggested a new TGRWT (They Go Really Well Together) starring the raisin! If that isn't the Fates calling me to the task, I don't know what is...
I did a quick search on the web for cucumber ice cream, and there were several recipes. The one that sounded best included a bit of lemon and lime. He calls it "Cucumber Ice Cream: The Corrupter". He's right. This ice cream is delicious!
Next, I had to find a way to make the ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker and I don't really want to own one. Fortunately, there is a method for making a single serving of ice cream in about 5 minutes with Ziploc bags. Here is a link describing that method.
That's the background. Now my "research":
I found that the Cucumber Ice Cream Corrupter was a bit to sweet for my purposes and taste, so I modified the recipe, both for sweetness and in reducing the amount of base for the technique I planned to use.
When I added raisins, I found that the ice cream melted in my mouth too quickly, leaving me chewing and chewing and chewing the raisins long after the cucumber flavor had disappeared. Even mincing them didn't help this problem. I settled on throwing the raisins into a food processor with honey and lemon juice and pureeing the heck out of it.
This makes 2 servings:
The Cucumber Ice Cream Base:
1/4 C half and half 1/4 C heavy cream 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, chunked Peels from about 1/2 the cucumber 2 TBSP sugar 1/2 TBSP lime juice 1 TBSP lemon juice Salt to taste
1. Purée the cucumber in a blender with the lemon and lime juice.
This can take a bit of patience, alternating blending with tamping the chunks of cucumber down until it starts to behave like a liquid in a blender.
2. Heat the half and half, cream, sugar, and cucumber peels over low heat until the sugar is just dissolved, stirring constantly.
The peel is supposed to add a green color, but it doesn't seem to do much in that department, so you could probably leave them out altogether, though I think it may add to the texture.
3. Strain the cucumber mixture into the cream and mix.
I questioned whether straining was necessary, and after trying it with and without, the final texture is remarkably improved by pushing the cucumber through a fin sieve.
4. Add salt to taste. I added just a pinch.
5. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
The Raisin-Honey-Lemon "Ribbon"
1/2 cup raisins 1 TBSP lemon juice 1TBSP honey
1. Put raisins in a small pot and just cover with water. Simmer until almost all of the water is gone. The remaining water will be a bit syrupy.
2. Put raisins with their syrup in a food processor with the lemon juice and honey. Purée until you are satisfied.
5 minute timer 1 gallon sized Ziploc bag 1 pint sized Ziploc bag Ice to fill 1/2 of the gallon Ziploc bag 6 TBSP salt previously made Cucumber Ice Cream recipe
1. Put serving bowls in the freezer. The ice cream can be a bit soft and melt quickly. A frozen bowl stalls the process.
2. Put Cucumber Ice Cream Base in the pint sized Ziploc bag, filling it about halfway. Fold the top over so most of the air is removed, and seal it.
3. Put salt and ice in the gallon sized Ziploc bag.
4. Put pint sized bag into the gallon sized bag, remove as much air as possible again, and seal the gallon sized bag.
5. Set a timer for 5 minutes
6. Shake, roll, knead, and whatever other movement you can think of to keep the bag moving. I favor rolling the bag in a kitchen towel to keep my fingers from freezing, and continuously rolling the bag over and over while roughly kneading it. Be rough! If you are too delicate out of fear the bags will lose their seal you will get soupy ice cream!
7. When your timer tells you 5 minutes have passed, pull the bowl from the freezer, take the pint sized bag from the gallon sized bag, and give it a quick rinse under cold water. This is essential unless you want salty water in your ice cream! I tend to give the pint sized bag a quick rub with the kitchen towel, too, just for insurance.
8. Empty the ice cream into your bowl.
9. Fold in about 2 TBSPs of the Raisin mixture very minimally. Too much and you will over power the cucumber flavor, so less is better if in doubt. You can even just spoon in a bit on the side if you prefer.
10. EAT! YUM!
Tips: You can fit more than one pint sized bag into one gallon sized bag.
You can store this in the freezer, but it gets quite hard overnight.
*** Many thanks again to Kelley for all her work, and for sharing! Best of luck with this entry!