A funny thing happened this summer. We made a bucket list of things we wanted to do, and as we collected ideas I stole glances at friends’ lists of things they had planned for the summer. One friend had “make ice cream” on her list.
Now, since my bio at most of the places I write includes the line “addicted to ice-cream and the sound of my children laughing”, you know I was game for this. I asked if I could borrow their ice-cream maker to try it out. I even looked up recipes on Pinterest (I know. You don’t need to snicker like that.)
My Dad was visiting at the time and he mentioned that he’d recently tasted the best ice-cream in his life: in Belgium, from an ice-cream specialty shop, made with sheep’s milk. Apparently, sheep’s milk has some fantastic natural qualities (it is naturally homogenized: so the cream is always perfectly mixed in with the milk), which makes for magical textures.
So… since I had the ice-cream maker for a week or so, I began to brainstorm whether we could make ice-cream from sheep’s milk. (Because why keep it simple when you could make it oh-so-complicated?)
So I asked my love ninja farmer friend, who keeps dairy goats and grazing sheep, where I might find sheep’s milk. She helpfully suggested that I google it…
…and then paused and offered hesitantly: “but I do have a ewe that needs to be weaned… hmmm…. I’ve never milked a sheep before… I’d be willing to give it a try.” And thus, the gauntlet was thrown down.
Two days later, I got a message to say that her first and last sheep-milking experience had yielded four cups of milk which were pasteurized and waiting for collection. Apparently the ewe had been a reluctant donor, and it had taken two seasoned dairy farmers to wrangle her into position.
Thank you, friend.
Thank ewe, too.
And so it was that we made sheep’s milk ice-cream: arguably the most delicious and decadent dessert I’ve ever tasted. And of course, if a friend has been willing to milk a sheep for you to get the ingredients, then when the recipe says you should spring for real vanilla pods, then you do just that. No vanilla extract for this baby. REAL BEANS, people. Seriously: it was swoon-worthy.
And this, in turn, launched a chain reaction. My Dad showed his support in the way he knows best: he spent hours online researching the best home ice-cream makers. We returned the borrowed one and took delivery of our new baby.
It’s been a month, and this little silver machine is changing our lives. We have made the easiest mint-chip ice-cream imaginable, we have swooned over fresh watermelon sorbet. We have made dairy-free ice-cream for lactose-intolerant friends. We have made fresh frozen yogurt (made with three ingredients! yogurt, sugar, and fresh cherries: YUM!). And I have discovered that two cans of blood orange pellegrino, a splash of tequila and a twist of fresh lime thrown into the ice-cream maker makes kick-butt instant frozen margaritas.
My confidence has grown: I’ve experimented with making a marbled Irish cream coffee to replace his Ben and Jerry’s favorite flavor which was discontinued a few years back (RIP, Dublin Mudslide.) invented a semi-fresh lime and lemon sorbet that my husband can’t get enough of:
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, mixed with water to the right proportions.
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 fresh lemon and 1 fresh lime
Rind of 1 fresh lemon and 1 fresh lime
Mix all together and Freeze… DELICIOUS.
Mark my words, friends, you know things are a-changing in my house when I put a recipe on my blog (!!!!!)
And best of all? All this ice-cream and sorbet production has given us multiple opportunities to invite friends and neighbors over to sample new flavors with us: a new excuse to have people over—my favorite!
Bon appetit, and come on over!!