Fermented Ice Cream?!

The culinary inspiration of my childhood was my grandmother Elizabeth.  I have written about her wisdom around food here.  Today’s topic: frozen desserts.   Into every life frozen desserts must fall.  Making your own is a wonderful way to reclaim the food supply, deliciously, and impress your friends and family.   I am making a batch today in honor of Grandma, to serve at our family party celebrating her life.  In the world of Chinese medicine, however, ice cream is jokingly referred to as “triple yin death” because the combination of sugar, dairy and frozenness make so potently yin as to potentially damage the spleen and our digestive strength. I noticed this effect recently after eating some coffee Haagen Dazs in a weak moment which left me feeling bloated and gassy.

Dairy products become more digestable when fermented, are more nutritious due the the action of the bacteria, and energetically less cooling than their unfermented counterparts.  You can use a wide range of fermented or cultured dairy products in frozen desserts.

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet


My grandma made this recipe, adapted from the Joy of Cooking, with skim milk and white sugar and it was wonderful, as she served it, alongside a selection of Christmas cookies.   Using fermented dairy and less-refined sugar makes it tarter, but still wonderfully refreshing—and you don’t need to use an ice cream maker.  Homemade ice cream freezes quite hard when stored as you won’t be adding any of the additives used in commercial frozen desserts (which legally don’t have to be revealed on the label), so if you don’t eat it all at once, take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you are ready to enjoy it. 

3 large Meyer or other lemons

1 cup evaporated cane juice, coconut sugar or other granulated sugar

3 cups buttermilk, raw milk, yogurt, kefir or a combination

½ cup crème fraiche or raw cream (see NOTE)

Zest the lemons and reserve zest.  Juice the lemons and place the juice in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, and allow to dissolve. Stir or beat in the milk and crème fraiche until smooth.  Place in freezer and freeze about 1 ½ hours, until beginning to harden.  Beat in the lemon zest with a hand held or stand mixer until you have a smooth mixture, then return to the freezer until fully frozen.

NOTE: Creme fraiche is easy to make at home, check out the instructions at the end of this post.

Repost from the archives, original post here.

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