Ice cream and hot days are a perfect match. Ice cream can be served in many different ways — from sundaes to cakes to sandwiches.
Ice cream sandwiches are comprised of a favorite ice cream flavor nestled between wafer-type cakes or cookies. They’re available pre-made in a grocer’s freezer, but they’re easily made at home with a few ingredients, such as a favorite cookie and homemade ice cream. “Vanilla Ice Cream Infused With Rose Geranium Leaves” from “Simple Soirées” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) by Peggy Knickerbocker makes for an ideal treat this summer.
Vanilla Ice Cream Infused With Rose Geranium Leaves
Makes about 1 quart; serves 6 to 8
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
3⁄4 cup sugar
24 rose geranium leaves or 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 small branch lemon verbena
6 large egg yolks
To make the custard:
In a heavy saucepan combine the cream, milk, 1⁄2 cup of the sugar, and the geranium leaves. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture just begins to boil, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let the leaves steep in the milky mixture for about 15 minutes. Then pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard the leaves or herbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1⁄4 cup of sugar until thick and pale. Add a few tablespoons of the warm milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Once combined, add the egg mixture back into the milk mixture, whisking continuously.
Cook over medium-low heat until the rich custard coats the back of a spoon (run your finger down the bowl of the spoon — if the finger mark remains, it’s done). Or use an instant-read thermometer; the custard is done at 175 to 180 F. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Strain the custard again into a glass bowl using a fine mesh sieve. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to make the ice cream (the custard needs to chill for 30 to 60 minutes). You may place the bowl into a larger bowl of ice to quicken the chilling time.
To make the ice cream: Pour the chilled custard into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it is done, serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for a day or two. Remove it from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving time.
To make ice cream sandwiches, let the ice cream thaw until spreadable. Place an ample amount on a cookie and top with another cookie. Wrap sandwiches individually in waxed paper and put into the freezer to allow the ice cream to harden again. Use large cookies, which can be homemade or store-bought.