Buttermilk ice cream goes perfectly with berries, peaches, figs, and other summer fruits. It's also a great way to make any pie or tart "à la mode" while adding a refreshing tart note to the proceedings. It's sweet yet bright and in no way cloying, plus it has a slightly lemony, cheesecake-like flavor.
To give this ice cream that tell-tale tangy buttermilk flavor, the buttermilk is added at the end, after the eggs and cream have been cooked into a custard. Leaving the buttermilk uncooked leaves its bright flavor intact.
Stirring a bunch of buttermilk into the custard gives this ice cream a somewhat light texture. For a heavier, creamier, premium ice cream feel, simply decrease the amount of buttermilk to 1 cup and sugar to 1/2 cup.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat (pay attention: you just want it to start boiling, not boil over!).
- While the cream comes to a boil, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture turns a pale yellow and thickens up enough so ribbons will sit on the surface for a minute when you lift the whisk out of the mixture.
- When the cream boils, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (you should be able to run your finger across the back of the spoon and leave a track in the mixture clinging to it). You may be tempted to turn up the heat to make this happen faster; try to avoid that temptation in order to avoid scorching or curdling the ice cream base.
- Pour the thickened mixture into a clean bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Stir to completely combine the buttermilk into the ice cream base. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour and up to overnight. (If you'd like to move things along a bit faster, pour the mixture into a metal bowl; fill a larger bowl with ice and nestle the bowl containing the mixture in the ice; let sit, stirring now and again, until the mixture is chilled.)
- Freeze in an ice cream maker or use this How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker method that involves a metal bowl, a whisk, a freezer, and time.
- Cover the frozen mixture and freeze until hard, about 1 hour, before serving.