Marxist Meyer Lemon and Crème Fraîche

One of the benefits of being friends with a food writer and cookbook author is you know you’re getting honest criticism. But when it came time to come up with a flavor that did justice to her talent, I took my time. The result — a blend of Meyer lemons, the classiest commonly available citrus (second classiest: blood oranges; third: key limes) and crème fraîche — turned out well. The zest in the ice cream base slightly heightens the flavor of the curd. You can swap out regular lemons and sour cream for those two, but it won’t be as sophisticated.

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Shades of yellow.

Marxist Meyer Lemon and Crème Fraîche

For the ice cream:

2 cups cream

1 cup milk

1 cup crème fraîche

pinch of salt

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest

3 egg yolks

For the lemon curd:

½ cup Meyer lemon juice

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter (room temperature)

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

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Meyer lemons are slightly smaller and sweeter than standard lemons — and cuter.

Make the lemon curd:

In a small pot, combine all ingredients for lemon curd except egg yolks over medium heat. Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl. Stir the mixture in the pot until combined (there should be no traces of cornstarch, sugar should be dissolved, and the butter should have melted).

When the mixture is hot, slowly add half of it to the bowl with egg yolks and whisk until combined. Return the egg yolk mixture to the pot and whisk constantly over medium heat until curd thickens. When the whisk begins to leave lines in the curds that last a few seconds before disappearing, remove from heat. Place lemon curd in container and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

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You know it’s classy because it’s French. Or from Vermonter. Both?

Make the ice cream:

Whisk to combine cream, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and Meyer lemon zest, in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat for a few minutes, but do not let it boil. Once the mixture is hot, remove from heat and cover for thirty minutes.

Whisk three egg yolks in a medium bowl. It’s OK if there are some traces of egg white — no need to be a perfectionist — but try to minimize that. Pour/scoop the crème fraîche into a large bowl, then place a strainer above it.

Reheat the dairy mixture. Once the mixture is warm, slowly ladle about a cup into the egg yolks, whisking with one hand while ladling with the other to temper the yolks.

Once complete, transfer the yolk mixture to the pot, and then return to medium heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom at times. Once the custard is thick enough to slightly coat the back of the spatula (another sign: you will start to notice that scraping the bottom of the pot encounters some solid residue), remove from heat and pour through the strainer into the bowl.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool for thirty minutes (if you’re too lazy, it’s ok to just do this on the counter). Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least two hours before churning.

Remove lemon curd from refrigerator. When ready to churn, whisk the mixture to reincorporate the base. Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the instructions. While churning, place 1/3 of the lemon curd at the bottom of the container. Then add half the ice cream when it is done churning. Add another layer with a third of the lemon curd, then add the remainder of the ice cream and top with final lemon curd. The layers will probably not stay in place perfectly, which is fine. Freeze for eight hours.

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