Lemon Verbena Gelato
I’m not in a funk or a slump. Neither did I forget I have a blog. I just had some unfinished business that I had to take care of before my life goes back to normalcy. I’m glad it’s over so I can focus more on other things. There’s a tinge of sadness when it came to its end albeit the nice ending to a 149-episode KDrama. I have to steer clear of ROKU or I’m in trouble again.
I just realized that fall came again unnoticed. I wish it didn't- at least until I've said my proper goodbye to summer. How can I when we still experience humid days although it’s been cooler the last couple of days. Cool enough for me to stay longer in the kitchen and do some baking and make another gelato. My lemon verbena plant is still growing- in fact, the bunch of leaves I clipped when I made butter cookies were replaced with new ones which I used now.
For this gelato, I just steeped the leaves in the hot (but not boiling) milk and cream mixture for fifteen minutes and then squeezed the leaves to get the entire citrus flavor therein. I cheated again and just blast chilled the mixture before transferring it to the ice cream maker. It was creamy and smooth on the sides of the freezer bowl and made me wonder if I still need the ice cream maker. But I still churned it slowly anyway. I did not add any flavoring. It’s straight lemon verbena and after an hour in the freezer, I folded in fresh lemon verbena leaves which I chopped finely. I didn’t take a picture though because it was just on a whim. I felt it needed the green specks for color.
Lemon Verbena Gelato
4 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups fresh lemon verbena leaves-washed and patted dry
1. With an electric mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Set aside.
2. Over medium heat, pour the milk and cream a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add the lemon verbena leaves and then turn off the heat. Cover and let steep for at least half an hour. Strain out the leaves and return the cream mixture to the saucepan. (I squeezed the leaves)
3. The mixture must be warm still so add half a cup at a time to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Return to the sauce pan when all the cream mixture has been added to the eggs.
4. Simmer while stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon
5. Strain again and transfer to another bowl to chill for at least two hours to allow the flavors to develop.
6. Transfer into an ice cream maker and churn slowly until it reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Freeze in a lidded container for at least two hours before serving.
It was a wise decision not to add any other flavoring. The lemon verbena really came through and gave that perfect balance to the custard base. It is somewhat unique considering I'm more familiar with commercial fruit flavors. This recipe is a keeper and will surely be a regular in my freezer for as long as my plant blesses me with lots of perfumed and now I discovered flavorful leaves.