Ice Cream! Yea!… well maybe not. Plans are sometimes subject to change. I had brought the ice cream maker to class as a possible surprise to finish up Playing with Herbs but the bowl had been out of the freezer for too long, even with the extra ice it was packed in and we would not be able to use it. That said the base planned for use in the machine went over very well topped with berries. It all worked out and one of the participants learned that it is possible to make pudding from scratch. It doesn’t just come from a box.
Lemon Balm or Melissa officinalis comes from the Greek word Melissa which means honeybee. The beekeepers for the Temple of Artemis were said to have planted Lemon Balm as a way to help keep the sacred honeybees happy and reduce the chances of them swarming and moving away.
Lemon Balm made it to Europe through Spain’s trade routes and folkloric traditions suggest it was used to ward off evil, and to promote good health, love, and a happy attitude. Consider it a stress reliever and another herbal option said to provide a refreshing, relaxing sleep when placed under a pillow.
Candace Hunter writes at thepracticalherbalist.com, “I like to think of Lemon Balm magic as the magic of relax-its-only-life. That’s the feeling I get from bruising her leaves and taking in her scent. However melancholy I may feel, whatever darkness or heaviness seems to plague my life, the scent of Melissa officinalis always brings a smile to my lips. Lemon Balm magic is the magic of steady, calm, persistent, good cheer.”
You will need:
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
fresh lemon balm leaves
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup packed fresh lemon balm leaves
2/3 cup mixed berries (I used a frozen mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
waffle cups for serving, optional
Start by gathering all the ingredients together. Thank the lemon balm for its contribution and bring your intention into focus. “Lemon Balm magic is the magic of steady, calm, persistent, good cheer.” Close your eyes and breath in deeply. Smell the lemon balm and find your calmness and good cheer. Release that breath. Repeat until you feel ready. Invite the compassionate spirits and begin.
Combine milk and cream in a medium saucepan.
Place over a medium heat. Clip the leaves off the stock of the Lemon Balm. Check the leaves and using the clean undamaged ones only, place in the cream mixture.
Once the mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally, put the lid on and move off the heat.
Using a whisk, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
Slowly whisk in half of milk mixture.You will get leaves in both containers. Not to worry.
Pour the egg-milk mixture back into pot. Return it to the element and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Once thickened, pour the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl to separate the leaves from the pudding mixture.
Let cool, stirring occasionally to recombine the top layer. Covering with wrap will stop the layer from forming and will also restrict the heat from leaving.
Refrigerate until cold. This base can stay in the fridge for three to four days if needed. When ready to make the ice cream transfer to the freezer for about an hour, stirring twice to incorporate the coldest section on the outside of the container. The colder the base, the quicker the ice cream will form.
Don’t let not having an ice cream machine stop you from trying this recipe.
It is possible to complete the next step without an actual machine.
I have only just purchased my first machine and only because it was found at the thrift store for $7.00. Follow the manufacturers instructions and add the thawed berries towards the end of the processing.
When finishing this by hand, staying near the freezer is important.
Every 15 – 20 minutes, take the mixture out of the freezer, mix it up, breaking down the large frozen bits, mix the base together again and return to the freezer. Over time the mixture will thicken. Add the berries towards the end and stir well. The colour of the mixture will change as the juice is incorporated.
The texture will be a little different between both methods as the trick to smooth ice cream is small crystals and the machine is designed for that. Regularly mixing the base will also give reasonable results if regularly stirred.
Serve soft or place in the freezer for use later. Give the ice cream 15-20 minutes of warming up time before serving from the freezer.
Wild Berry Ice Cream with Lemon Balm from My Kitchen Wand