Every July, there seems to be a struggle to adapt to the heat of summer, and a mad rush toward anything frozen and delicious. It’s time for ice cream trucks to hit the streets. But it isn’t all about the usual wrappered sandwiches, cones and novelties anymore – there’s a new breed of high-end gourmet ice cream shops upping the ante on frozen treats across Canada.
Having worked at an ice cream parlour in New York, owner Susan Bernstein launched her micro-icecreamery, Ice Cream Anarchy, thinking she’d start out with door to door deliveries, then one day invest in a crazy Good Humour-style ice cream truck to cruise the summer streets in, cranking out awesome tunes while dishing out her music-inspired ice cream flavours. Where else can you get goat cheese ice cream with a boozy fig swirl or fennel ice cream studded with brilliant pink candied fennel?
When she started out, each flavour was not only inspired by, but named after a song – her cream cheese ice cream with chunks of bourbon soaked carrot cake is called White Rabbit, and inside a container of Mothers’ Little Helper you’ll find Kicking Horse coffee with Baileys and homemade dark chocolate covered espresso beans.
You’ll find Susan and her ice creams (including her homemade push-pops) at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers’ Market and at the Sunnyside Market in Calgary – and you can even subscribe to a sort of ice cream of the month club. Her specialties aren’t always named after songs anymore, but they’re always delicious.
This isn’t one of Susan’s recipes, but it’s an interesting flavour combo I made last year – it’s worth trying if you’re a fan of sweet and tart.
Brown Sugar Balsamic Ice Cream
adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2009
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tsp good vanilla
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (or about 2 Tbsp balsamic reduction)
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream and milk until steaming.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla.
Gradually whisk some of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture to heat it up; return the mixture to the saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the custard thickens; strain through a sieve set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
Meanwhile, simmer the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Cool syrup completely. (Alternatively, start with some balsamic reduction and skip this step.)
Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is done, spoon in balsamic syrup and churn 3 to 4 seconds longer to swirl. Serve immediately or transfer to a container to freeze until solid.