Ice Cream for Dinner
Photos and Recipes by Katherine Costello
This article is inspired by my mother’s generation, especially those no longer living, who created a food legacy in my mind, and memories and traditions for generations to come.
“It’s too hot to cook. Let’s have ice cream for dinner.”
This was my mother-in-law’s declaration years ago and I thought, “Wow, that’s lovely,” and it was. Armed with well-executed root beer floats in frozen mugs, we ate on the screened porch as the temperature dropped to an evening low of 87 — an Indiana scorcher. The air smelled sweet from the cornfields, and we enjoyed the moment, taking a spontaneous break from the everyday routine of eating around the table. My mother-in-law’s generation didn’t just put food on the table, they planned and nourished and took pride in the daily meals.
As I age and loved ones pass, it is apparent that food memories and connections go deep. I am fortunate to have so many grand food memories, not just from chefs but also from regular people who shared a love of pleasing others through food.
Why not make your own ice-cream-for-dinner memory? You can get the family involved and pick your favorite flavors or make custom flavors. Take time and enjoy the season. Forget the lobster boil — we are in Indiana, so boil that sweet corn, have family and friends over, eat ice cream and enjoy.
Of the four recipes I’ve included here, three require an ice cream maker: sweet corn and blueberry with a little chili kick, avocado with sweet and salty lime corn tortilla strips, and white chocolate ice cream with a stout beer reduction swirl. The last one can be made in the freezer and modified to your tastes.
You can customize flavorings and add ins. My preference for this shoot was toasted coconut flakes and blackberries.
White Chocolate with Stout Ice Cream
Make 4-6 servings
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup melted and cooled Belgian white chocolate
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- Combine sugar, salt and milk in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture almost boils.
- Reduce to low.
- Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the beaten eggs, and then add cooled melted white chocolate.
- Add egg mixture to the hot mixture.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Combine whipping cream and chilled mixture, stirring with a wire whisk to combine. Add to ice cream freezer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. When mixture is thick and at the “soft serve” stage, add the stout reduction in a slow stream (reserving a tablespoon to drizzle at serving time). Freeze for 2 hours before serving.
- 2 12-ounce bottles stout beer (I used Bells Cherry Stout)
- Pour the beer in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a light simmer; cook until it reduces and resembles the thickness and color of molasses (about 20-25 minutes). Cool to room temperature and add to the ice cream, reserving some for serving time.
Avocado Ice Cream
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Place all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase temperature to medium-high to bring to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil without stirring until it reaches 238-240 degrees (soft ball stage); remove and set aside to stay warm.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for frying)
- 3 corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt (Maldon is my preference)
- 2 limes, zested
- Heat oil in wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place one tortilla in the saucepan until it bubbles and turns golden on the bottom side (about 45 seconds). Flip and do the same to the other side. Place the tortilla on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Placing the tortillas on parchment paper and, while the syrup is still warm, brush each tortilla on both sides with the syrup. Sprinkle each with salt and sprinkle with the lime zest. Allow them to cool and cut into strips. (I prefer to go with thicker strips to add more texture to the creaminess of the ice cream.) Reserve some for garnish.
- 3 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar*
- Puree the avocados in a food processor or blender. Scrape into a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine.
- Process the mixture in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream starts to get very thick, add in the tortilla chips, reserving a few to use as garnish. Chill in the freezer for about an hour for a soft consistency, or four to six hours for firm. Enjoy.
*You may add more sugar for a sweeter ice cream. The first trial run I used 1/2 cup sugar; I personally prefer this to be less sweet, giving more contrast to the addition of sweet, salty chips.
Made-to-order Freezer Ice CreamEasy! No ice cream machine needed! Add in your favorite flavors.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, drained
- 1 teaspoon liquid flavoring such as vanilla, almond or coconut
- 1/4 cup toasted nuts or coconut
- 1/4 cup fruit jam
- 1/4 cup fruit (chopped) or berries (whole or chopped)
- Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and chill.
- Combine sweetened condensed milk with yogurt; add the liquid flavoring of your choice and then mix with a whisk until well blended. Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Carefully fold the milk/yogurt mixture into the chilled whipped cream mixture; chill in the bowl until thick (about 1 hour). Meanwhile, chill a 2-quart pan.
- Stir the nuts/coconut, jam and fruit into the chilled ice cream mixture. Pour into the chilled 2-quart pan, cover and freeze for 6 hours before serving.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 cup “crema” table cream*
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 large ears sweet corn (cut kernels off cob and reserve; gather 1/4 cup strained “corn milk”**)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Blend the crema, cream, yogurt and corn milk until smooth, and then cover and chill for 4-6 hours.
- Add the chilled mixture to the ice cream freezer, processing according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the mixture is very cold and getting very thick, add two-thirds of the reserved corn kernels, the chili powder and blueberries. Freeze for two hours before serving.
*Look for crema in the dairy aisle. This Mexican ingredient is mild and buttery with a very fresh milk flavor and rich mouthfeel.
**Corn milk is simply the sweet liquid you can gather from an ear of corn after you cut the kernels off with a knife. Cut the kernels from the ear, leaving a bit of kernel on the ear, and then scrape a knife along the edge of the ear to extract the corn milk.