I went through an extreme ice cream making phase several years ago. I feel it coming on again but that might be partly due to the fact that I have been living far away from some of the best ice cream on the planet: the bent spoon. Ice cream is fairly easy to make and even easier to come up with groovy flavors. If you have access to local eggs and a farmer's market this summer, all the better. With just a little advanced planning (freezing the freezer bowl), you are good to go.
I recently made these "truffles" as part of a dinner party that was along a Thai theme. If kaffir lime is not your thing or you are unsure, you can certainly eliminate the leaves from the recipe and have a pretty delicious vanilla ice cream base. You could also roll the balls in toasted chopped nuts, chocolate, candy, etc etc. I served the ice cream with a mango tart. I've also made this base with lemongrass (peel away the tough outer leaves, chop up 1-2 stalks, in place of the lime leaves) which is also delicious.
kaffir lime ice cream truffles
makes about 8 truffles or 1 quart of ice cream
1 3/4 c organic heavy cream
3/4 c organic milk
4-5 kafir lime leaves (I keep a bag of them in the freezer)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (run the tip of your knife lengthwise down the center of a fresh, pliable bean, and then scrape out the insides)
1/4 t salt
5 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1-1 1/2 c coconut flakes, toasted
Freeze the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker!!
In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the milk, cream, 1/4 c sugar, salt, vanilla bean (the pod and the scraped seeds), and the lime leaves. Over medium heat, cook the mixture carefully until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat immediately, cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar. While you are waiting for the cream mixture to steep, set up an ice water bath by placing a bowl (large enough to hold about 1 1/2 qt in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water, keeping in mind that some of the ice will melt while you finish making your base.
Take about 1/2 c of the cream mixture and add it to the eggs and sugar. Whisk in and then repeat the process. The cream mixture will still be holding some heat so this will insure against ending up with some sweet scrambled eggs. Once you have carefully combined the mixtures, pour it back in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. It is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can run your finger through the center to form a clear path.
Strain though a fine-mesh seive into the waiting bowl in the ice bath. Stir the base every few minutes to speed up the cooling process. When it is completely cooled, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to process the base into ice cream, add the vanilla and pour into your freezer bowl, following the manufacturer's instructions. I use a basic ice cream maker and the churning time is usually about 10-15 minutes. It is ready when it reaches soft-serve consistency. Pour the ice cream into a bowl and freeze for another 4 hours or so.
To make the truffles, spread some of the coconut on a plate. Scoop a ball of ice cream and roll it in the coconut, gently pressing the flakes into the ball. Return the balls to the freezer until firm.