Holy tomatoes, batman! The tomatoes are piling high in the Portland markets, with endless varieties to choose from. So... one might go so far as to say that this is toot sweet's official tomato week. On Saturday, my monthly Awesome Mitten post went live, featuring none other than tomatoes! Three simple recipes for easy tomato-centric dishes, and a bonus recipe for basil oil... because, well, you can't have tomatoes without basil!
After all those savory tomato dishes, I couldn't help but work some of these beauties into a little something sweet. Hence, the ice cream!
Now, I feel I have to admit a little something about myself here. I don't actually like tomatoes that much... there. I said it! I used to really dislike them, but as I'm growing up a bit I'm learning to like them much more than I ever did before. Heck, I've even been eating them raw on the occasion (as long as they're paired with some cheese, of course)!
Thankfully, tomatoes are just so awesomely beautiful, I'm always tempted to buy them and find something tasty to do with them. Year by year, I'll become more of a tomato fan!
Of course ice cream surely isn't the first place you expect to see tomatoes, but they are a fruit ya know! Sweet and flavorful sungold cherry tomatoes cook down into a simple jam to swirl through a vanilla ice cream base studded with fresh tarragon. It might sound a little crazy, but I promise you - there's nothing but amazing flavors here!
sungold tomato jam:
This simple jam is going to be swirled throughout the ice cream to give it it's tomatoey flavor. I've included some optional spices in the ingredient list - they balance nicely with the tarragon and give the ice cream a really complex flavor. That said, they will mask a bit of the tomato flavor, so if you really want to focus on tomatoes - leave the spices out.
1 pound sungold tomatoes
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- Puree tomatoes in a blender until mostly smooth, then pour into a pot. Add all remaining ingredients, and simmer over medium heat for about an hour, until the jam thickens. The jam should easily mound on the back of a spoon when it's ready.
- Once the jam is fully cooked, puree again with an immersion blender (or put it back into a regular blender), until nice and smooth!
ice cream base:
6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp ground vanilla, 1/2 a vanilla bean (scraped) or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped finely
Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, a hand mixer, or a really super strong arm - whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until it doubles in size, lightens to a pale yellow, and gains a silky ribbony texture. This should take a few minutes.
Heat the cream, milk, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and ground or bean vanilla (wait until later in the process if you're using the extract) to a scald, which is before a simmer but nice and steamy.
With the mixer running, slowly pour the cream mixture into the yolks until fully combined to temper your eggs. Then pour the mixture back into the pot and heat over medium heat until your custard has formed (if you don't feel comfortable knowing when that is, use a thermometer and look for 180 degrees). While it's heating, use a silicone spatula to gently scrape the bottom of the pan and stir slowly.
When you've reached 180 degrees, strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, and set that bowl into a larger one with a bit of ice and water in it to create a cooling water bath. Spin the inner bowl with one hand, while holding your spatula in the custard like a rudder to help the mixture cool evenly.
Chill custard fully in the refrigerator before churning, at least a few hours. Add the tarragon when the ice cream is just about finished churning, letting it churn for long enough to mix it in evenly.
churning and swirling:
Once you're jam and ice cream base are made and chilled, you're just a few quick steps from ice cream heaven! Work through this as fast as you possibly can, to protect your precious ice cream!
- Put the container you're planning to freeze the ice cream in into the freezer, to prevent melting while your swirl. A wide dish works best, I use a rectangular pyrex container with a lid.
- Churn the ice cream per you machine's instructions, until it's nice and thick. With the ice cream churned, you're going to layer and swirl the ice cream and jam into a container and let it freeze. This is the best way to get a nice swirl into your scoops!
- Layer about one third of the ice cream into the bottom of your dish. Spoon a few thick lines of jam across the layer of ice cream.
- Layer on the next third of your ice cream, and create those lines of jam again.
- Finally, layer on the rest of your ice cream, and another few lines of jam. Using a chop stick or skewer and give the ice cream and little swirl to make sure every scoop will have a good bit of jam in it!