These pretty sprays of deep indigo berries line the rural streets of town. They are likely in your town too. I have long wanted them to last as a floral arrangement, alas, they are too delicately attached to the stem to hold on, for a bouquet that won't drop an inky stain. I'm happier still to eat them! The time to forage these wild things is September. There are two varieties to look for, one isn't tasty and will upset your stomach, don't bother with those. The kind to find are these pictured, with a silvery patina as their indicator of the desired species.
To make the ice cream, first you will need to make elderberry syrup, which can be used for several other delicious treats. (on pancakes etc.) Also, of special note, these berries are known in several folk and ancient medicine traditions for warding of colds, how seasonable! The syrup taken by the spoonful is also a great diuretic.
2 cups of destemmed elderberries
4 cups water
1 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
To de-stem your elderberries, bring them home fresh and immediately lay them on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, promptly pop them off their stems and into a freezer bag, mindful to keep them frozen in the process so they don't melt and freeze together in an unmanageable clump.
Put your elderberries, water, honey and cinnamon in a pot until its all at a bubble. Turn down the temperature and let it all reduce a little, for about 15 more minutes. Strain out the elderberries, and you have your syrup. Place it in a sealable jar, for use in the ice cream or any other time.
Ice Cream base
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup of low fat milk
3/4 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
*Ice cream churner users: You need to have your insert in the fridge for a few hours before you start this recipe.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly. set aside.
Add remaining ingredients to a good sized saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches a simmer, then remove from heat.
Temper the eggs by slowly drizzling 1 and 1/2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, while whisking the eggs constantly and vigorously.
Mindfully pour the hot egg and cream mixture back into the sauce pan with the rest of the cream mixture, while whisking the contents of the saucepan. Do so slowly or you might scramble your eggs!
Return the saucepan, with all the ingredients now together, to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly (preferably with a heat proof spatula), scraping all portions of the inside bottom of the pan, until mixture thickens and achieves a temperature of 170-175 degrees F. (For best results, don’t guess – use a candy thermometer).The process of thickening should take around 8-10 minutes. The ingredients should be thicker than raw cream. Remove from heat. Let it cool a bit, then add 1 cup of elderberry syrup.
For Ice Cream Churner Users: Let the mixture come to room temperature, then bring out your insert and place in the ice cream maker. Pour in your cream mixture, and turn it on to churn for 60 minutes. Once this process is complete, pour your ice cream into a recycled container or anything you can seal and keep in the freezer.
For No Ice Cream Churner Users: Refrigerate immediately, or pre-cool in a cold water bath for about a half hour. Stir occasionally for the first 30-60 minutes of cooling. Leave refrigerated for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
This ice cream is great for pies, or just on its own. We paired it with our season galette the other evening at The Market Cook at TH Wines Equinox Dinner, and on a different occasion, with our Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Plums, pictured at the top of the recipe. Enjoy!