Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crème of the Berry Crop - Crème Fraîche Ice Cream with Fresh Marionberries

This post is technically late.  But I was determined to participate in the July BakeSpace Challenge, since I haven't done one in over a year.  This month just happened to be "Local Produce From the Farmer's Market".  This turned out to be a little more challenging than I anticipated, partly due to the extremely wet weather this spring having delayed crops again, just like last year.  But as luck would have it, I found some Marion Berries.  I love berries.  Logan, Tay, Ollalie, Rasp, Salmon, Thimble, Black Cap, Boysen, or  Marion... All the bramble berries are all delicious in their own way.

The Marionberry is a hybrid black berry created by crossing the Chehalem blackberry and the Ollalieberry at Oregon State University in Corvallis Oregon. Due to the extensive testing of the berry within the Willamette Valley, when the berry was released in 1956 it was named after Marion County, as opposed to being named after Mr. George F. Waldo who was responsible for creating the initial hybrid in 1946.

Marion berries are a wonderful example of traditional hybridization, bringing the best attributes of the parents into one single berry (the flavor of the Chehalem and the production of the Ollalie). Though as intoxicatingly delicious as the Marionberry is, it may carry some latent genes from the parents of the Ollalie, which is itself a hybrid (Loganberry and Youngberry) developed in 1937; again at Oregon State University, but due to Oregon weather patterns, is much better suited to Northern California.  But enough about the Marionberry's "family bramble".

I get fairly touchy about my Marionberries (having been bereft of them for 13 years in San Diego) for they truly are the fine wine of the berry world.  Deep, rich, tart and earthy, like a fine Pinot Noir.  I prefer them in as unspoiled a preparation as possible. (kind of like my Huckleberries)  I am sure that at some point in the future, now that I am back in Oregon, I will get use to having them around again and may begin experimenting.  But for now...  K.I.S.S. is my phiosophy. Thus, I kept it simple by turning to David Lebovitz's recipe for an unassuming Crème Fraîche Ice Cream, to be served with fresh Marionberries from the Farmer's Market.  Sort of a frozen Berries and Cream.

And lemme tell ya this, about that.  The ice cream is positively the most incredible scoop of deliciousness you will ever taste and fully capable of standing alone on it's own merits.  But even better is the fact that the inherent "nuttiness" of Crème Fraîche is the perfect counter point to the tart zip of the Marion's.  I swear I could hear angels weeping for joy as I consumed it with great abandon.

Crème Fraîche Ice Cream with Marionberries

1 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
pinch of Kosher Salt
5 large Egg Yolks
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract (enough to enhance, not to actually flavor)
2 cups Crème Fraîche
Fresh Marionberries 

Begin heating the Milk, Sugar and pinch of Salt over medium heat in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, separate the Egg Yolks into a medium bowl and break them up with a whisk.

When the Milk/Sugar reaches about 155 -160 degrees (cause you don't really need it too hot) remove the pan from the heat and begin pouring the hot milk slowly over the beaten yolks, while continuing to whisk.

Pour the resulting mixture back into the sauce pan and return to medium heat.

Whisk the soon to be custard until it begins to thicken slightly... about 170 degrees or until it coats the back of a spoon and leaves a clear line. (you know the drill)

Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the tiny amount of vanilla. (that is the little bitty brown spot)

Strain through fine mesh into a bowl to arrest the cooking.

Cover on the surface with plastic wrap to prevent crusting and chill for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and whisk in the Crème Fraîche.

Cover on the surface again and chill again for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instruction. (Usually about 20-30 minutes)

Spoon into a chilled container and freeze completely.... (about 4 hours)

Now for the topping.....

Some lovely Marionberries from the Farmers Market...

Do you hear the angels weeping?  I do. 

Oh wait! that's me.  Cause my bowl is empty.  hmmm


1 comment:

Patti T. said...

I think Danielle was singing the praises of the Marionberry not too long ago. I hope someday I am able to taste the wonderful sounding fruit. On one hand I wish I had an ice cream maker but then I realize how dangerous that could be, hmmmm perhaps it is really good I don't have one.