So, a Ramos Gin Fizz is an amazing old-timey cocktail that is sweet, tart, fragrant, and dreamy. I love 'em. I love 'em to the tune of the five extra pounds they put on me last year. I am reminded of why alcohol is not good for you.
Still, I thought this combination of flavors would make for good ice cream, and I went looking for a recipe. Didn't find one, but I've made a lot of custards in the past few years and I figured it was a short step from custard to frozen custard. And, I can get juniper berries from my local health food store, which will substitute for the piney flavor of the gin.
This is attempt number one. It's good--light and creamy, but I want more intensity of flavor and sweetness and there's not quite enough volume here to make a good 1.5 quarts that seems to freeze optimally in my ice cream maker.
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs juniper berries.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp Fiori di Sicilia oil from King Arthur Flour
Basic method is:
Heat the cream in a saucepan and crushed the juniper berries, then let them sit in the hot cream, covered, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile beat the eggs with the cornstarch, whisk in the milk, salt, and Fiori. When the juniper is done infusing, strain the cream into a saucepan, whisk in the citrus juices and the egg/milk mixture, and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Strain again, if desired, into a large bowl, press plastic over the top, and chill thoroughly before freezing in the ice-cream freezer.
The above recipe gave me a faint juniper after-note, that I could detect *slightly* in the warm custard, but not in the finished ice cream. Cold desserts seem to require more intensive flavors and more sugar to seem balanced. The sugar ratio also plays a part in the end texture. I think for my next attempt I will do something like this:
3 cups cream
4 Tbs juniper berries, crushed
1/2 c lemon juice & zest
1/2 c lime juice & zest
~3/4 cup sugar (will have to taste this to gauge sweetness)
3 Tbs flour (so far I have used flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot starch as thickeners, and the flour won hands-down for texture)
1 tsp vanilla cognac
1 tsp orange flower water
I like the Fiori a lot, but because it's an oil I don't think it works well in cold desserts. Likewise the zest of the citrus fruits needs to infuse with the juniper, and they all need to infuse for longer.
I also want to try adding xanthan gum to improve the texture; with this high level of water in the mix, there's a danger of ice crystals forming.
Nevertheless this is an intriguing project!