If you've looked at many ice cream cookbooks, you've probably heard about the difference between Philadelphia-style ice cream and French-style ice cream. The latter is made with a custard base, while the former uses just cream (or a combination of cream and milk), sugar, and whatever other flavors you like. I tend to prefer custard-based ice creams, because I think they have a better texture and tend to stay tasty a little longer in the freezer. That said, Philadelphia-style is way easier, and can be a nice way to highlight delicate flavors, since the ice cream won't have an egg-y custard flavor.
You can probably see where this discussion of ice cream styles is going...this Meyer lemon ice cream is Philadelphia-style, and as such it perfectly showcases the delicate, floral flavor of Meyer lemons. In comparison, my Meyer lemon custard ice cream tastes like lemon custard instead of just lemons. I love both styles, but this is a great way to feature a delicious citrus fruit. The sacrifice is definitely in the texture - sort of a cross between ice cream and Italian ice. I liked it, but it's definitely best in the first day or two after churning. One plus is that it definitely feels "lighter" than a custard ice cream, both in texture and flavor. If you have access to Meyer lemons, I definitely recommend trying this refreshing treat!
Meyer Lemon Ice Cream (adapted from Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream)
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Zest of 1-1/2 Meyer lemons
Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a small nonreactive saucepan with a lid. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Whisk in the lemon zest, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes at room temperature. Divide the cooled mixture in half and strain one half through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the sieve contents. Pour the strained mixture back into the unstrained mixture. Pour into a shallow pan or bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, 1 to 2 hours.
When the mixture is cold, pour it into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 4 hours.