I came up with this creamy homemade lemon curd ice cream recipe kind of by accident. I had a vanilla bean ice cream base, a jar of lemon curd, and I just thought, why the hell not? Oh yeah and then I swirled in some homemade crushed blackberry syrup, just so I could be extra. Let me just say, best accident. Ever.
I have long thought lemon and berry is a perfect combination. Much like these lemon tarts, but colder. And a quick swirl of a super simple blackberry syrup bring the right amount of berry sweetness to a tart lemon ice cream. Match made in heaven.
How to make homemade lemon curd
Let me start by saying one thing...
You DO NOT have to make your own lemon curd for this ice cream recipe. I buy this lemon curd and use it all the time, it is made with the same ingredients I use for homemade lemon curd and works perfectly fine. But IF you would like to try your hand at making lemon curd from scratch, then this is my favorite recipe and I encourage you to try it.
Lemon curd is easy enough to make and can be used for all kinds of things like, tarts, cheesecake, my favorite lemon bars on the planet. And it keeps well in the fridge for weeks. So if you've ever thought about trying to make it homemade, you should go for it.
Is lemon curd the same as lemon custard?
Not really. Lemon custard has additional thickening agents in it, like cornstarch. Lemon curd is thickened pretty much exclusively by eggs and egg yolks...so not quite the same.
How do you make homemade ice cream?
There's three ways to make ice cream:
- French-style, custard base, made with egg yolks, which is the recipe we use for this lemon curd ice cream recipe.
- Philadelphia-style, which is eggless, made with only heavy cream, milk, sugar and flavoring, like my coconut dulce de leche ice cream.
- No-churn ice cream, which is a base made with whipped heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. This is by far the simplest and no ice cream maker required, and my no-churn blueberry ice cream is quick and easy recipe for this.
Using a French-style base, you simply add the lemon curd when the ice cream is about 90% fully churned.
Make a quick crushed blackberry syrup and have it chilled and add it to the ice cream in layers into your storage container. When you scoop it out, you will have a lovely swirl of sweet blackberries in with the tart and rich lemony and vanilla-y ice cream. Summer day perfection.
The usual suspects in a custard base ice cream are in here. I think lemon and vanilla go really well together so I make sure to give these a good dose of vanilla bean paste (or extract).
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk, the more fat and less water the better, you'll end up with less ice crystals
- Egg yolks, cause this is a French-style custard base ice cream recipe.
- Vanilla bean, vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Use whatcha got.
Now to make the blackberry syrup to swirl in, you need literally two things (plus a little water)...
- Blackberries. I used blackberries because I had them in the fridge, use raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, whatever you have. All berries go well swirled into this ice cream
And by the way this lemon curd ice cream is completely and utterly creamy and delicious all on it's own, you do not need the blackberry syrup swirl. It is simply a nice touch.
Tips for success
- Make sure everything is super cold. When the instructions say chill at least eight hours or overnight, I mean it. If it isn't as cold as it can get without freezing, it won't be voluminous or smooth, and it definitely won't churn as nicely.
- If making the blackberry syrup swirl, you can certainly suree and strain for a totally smooth syrup, but I like to crush the blackberries and leave it a bit chunky for some texture.
- This does require an ice cream maker. Don't have one and don't know where to start? Don't worry, read this, where I talk all about ice cream makers and why you should have one.
- Ice cream maker
For the ice cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- ½ cup lemon curd
- pinch salt
For the blackberry syrup
- 2 cups blackberries
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoon water
- In a sauce pan warm the milk, sugar, cream and salt until the sugar is totally dissolved and the cream mixture is steaming, but don't let it boil.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly, while whisking the entire time, pour about a cup of the steaming cream mixture into the egg yolks (called tempering). Whisk the egg mixture back into saucepan with the rest of the cream. Put saucepan back onto the stove and continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken...they always say "til it coats the back of a spoon," but more importantly do not let it bubble - it will become pudding/custard. I don't know the exact temperature to cook it for, but it takes roughly six minutes on a low heat.
- Cool the mixture to room temperature and then add the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight - I always do overnight.
- To make the blackberry swirl, place blackberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and boil. Continue boiling until the blackberries break down and the liquid becomes a thick syrup. This will take about 12 minutes, roughly. Put this in the fridge too - it is imperative this is totally chilled and cold when you mix with the ice cream.
- Churn in an ice cream maker according to the instructions on your ice cream maker. When the ice cream is about 90% done - it will look like loose soft serve pour in the lemon curd and blend through.
- Pour ⅓ of the ice cream into a freezer container, then spoon ⅓ of the blackberries and syrup in rows over the ice cream. Repeat with another ⅓ of the ice cream and ⅓ of the blackberries and syrup. And repeat with the last of both the ice cream and the blackberry syrup. Put in freezer for at least four hours to firm up.