I used to be quite the ice cream maker, back in the day. Every office party, every birthday party, people clamored for me to bring their favorite flavor—vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, or my favorite, a copy of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia that was (if I do say so) even better than the original.
But then suddenly, for reasons unknown, my ice cream–making mojo packed up and left town. Two batches in a row of my Cherry Garcia completely failed. It tasted fine, but the texture after it had been in the freezer overnight was grainy, dry and just awful. I tried making a batch of straight vanilla and got the same terrible results. The clamoring died down. I thought perhaps it was the fault of my ice cream maker, so I got a new (and, I thought, superior) one, but it always stopped churning while the ice cream was still so soft that it melted away in the bowl immediately upon serving. Nobody was impressed with my wares anymore, so I put the machine away and gave up. I was devastated. I haven’t tried to make a batch in more than two years.
Today I found this little Sunbeam ice cream maker on sale for a mere $14.99, so I thought I would try again to see if maybe my mojo was just away on holiday but would perhaps return if I asked it nicely and got it a new churn.
At first I thought I would not tempt fate with some fancy recipe, but rather go with plain vanilla, no surprises. Huh, that didn’t last long. I got it in my head that lime would be a nice flavor to try, so I picked up a couple of limes along with the cream and half-and-half at the grocery. Just squeeze ’em and add the juice to the mix and it’ll be fine, right?
Well, sorry Dad, but I was never any good at chemistry. Little did I know what would happen when I added lime juice to the dairy mixture: instant curdling. Apparently it turned into buttermilk and was on its way to becoming cheese as it chilled in the refrigerator waiting to go into the churn.
But I’ve become a bold little cookie lately with no fear of failure and I figured what the heck, you can make ice cream with buttermilk, of course you can, so let’s freeze it up and see what we get.
What I got is a very light, soft, fluffy ice cream with a delicate hint of lime as well as a slight tang of buttermilk. It’s not what I had expected, exactly, but it is really not bad at all. In fact, I think it’s quite good. The proof will be in the texture after it’s been in the freezer overnight, though. If it is still smooth in the morning, I shall deem it a success and consider my mojo back in business. If not, well … perhaps I will stick to improvising cookie recipes.
Update, 30 July 2013: The ice cream is just a bit icy/crunchy this morning, not quite as smooth as I like it, but not bad. Here is the recipe I used that came with the 4-quart machine. I used a quart of half-and-half and a quart of heavy cream, but you can use nearly any combination of dairy products to make the ice cream as light or rich as you prefer. I also added the juice of two large limes.