No Blue Bell? Try making this blueberry muffin ice cream

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Blueberry muffins inspired this ice cream from Claire Thomas.

I hate to keep revisiting the Blue Bell story, but when the emotional floodgates opened last week after I ran our own taste test of non-Blue Bell vanilla ice creams, I knew there was still more to tell.

In today’s food section, I recapped some of the responses from readers, which ranged from anger and bitterness to non-nonchalance because they stopped eating that “artificial flavored crap” years ago. (OK, so that one was a voice mail I got today and didn’t have a chance to include in my column.)

Blueberry Muffin Ice Cream

From author Claire Thomas: I had been knocking around this “blueberry muffin ice cream” idea for a bit, mainly because I love the challenge and also because it fit into my cousin Rachel’s red-white-and-blue birthday theme. Bringing out the essence of a blueberry muffin in ice cream form, without just blending muffins into the batter, was a fun task, and like most fun tasks, it started with brown butter.

Brown butter, vanilla and brown sugar to give the base that “just baked” flavor, sweet-tart blueberry compote for that perfect swirl, and cinnamon streusel crumbled throughout for a bit of texture and that muffin-top taste. The brown butter ice cream is great by itself, but the blueberry muffin tweak is definitely worth a shot.

Blueberry muffins inspired this ice cream from Claire Thomas.

Blueberry muffins inspired this ice cream from Claire Thomas.

For the compote:
4 half pints blueberries
Juice of 3 limes
2 cups sugar
For the streusel:
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp. butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the ice cream:
1 stick butter
3 cups half and half
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup blueberry compote or jam
3 Tbsp. cinnamon streusel

To make the compote: Combine the blueberries, lime and sugar in a bowl to coat, and then heat over a medium flame until the blueberries liquefy and if you stir a spoon through it, you can see the bottom of the pan for a beat. Basically, it should look kind of syrupy. Pour into jars, tighten the lids, and flip upside-down until room temperature. Keep refrigerated.

To make the streusel: Using your fingers or a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon and then mix in the butter until crumbly. Place on a baking sheet with a silicone mat and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Break apart and mix the streusel up, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Crumble and cool.

To make the ice cream: Simmer the butter on medium heat until takes on a nice golden brown color. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. In a large pot, bring the half and half up to an almost boil over medium high heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, sugars and salt until smooth. To temper the egg mixture, carefully whisk in about 1 cup of the hot liquid into the egg mixture until smooth. Then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining amount of half and half in the pot.

Return to medium low heat, and cook up to 170 degrees, constantly stirring along the bottom of the pot to ensure even cooking. Once it has reached the 170 degrees, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and brown butter. Strain through a wire mesh strainer. Allow to cool to about room temperature in an ice bath and pop in the fridge.

Once the mixture is chilled through, put it in your ice cream maker. Once it’s gotten pretty firm, pour the ice cream into a large bowl and fold in the blueberry compote and then the streusel so it ribbons through it. You’ll have leftover compote and streusel that you can reserve for other uses. Put in a container and freeze until firm. Makes 2 pints.

— From “The Kitchy Kitchen: New Classics for Living Deliciously” by Claire Thomas (Atria, $26)


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