Do you guys have a Thanksgiving dish that just transports you back to your childhood?
For me, that dish is cranberry ambrosia. Every Thanksgiving as a kid, my Mom would slice grapes and pureé cranberries with sugar the night before Thanksgiving then, the morning of, she would whip heavy cream (letting us lick the beaters clean) and combine the light fluffy mixture with marshmallows. The hardest part was not being allowed to sneak spoonfuls before dinner and, to this day, eating that ambrosia it is one of my most treasured holiday memories.
As an adult, I have found it increasingly important to incorporate little traditions into the holidays (especially since we live so far away from family) and was inspired to transform my beloved dish into something even better. Ice-cream!
I have wanted to do an ice-cream recipe on TBC since forever but, truth be told, I don’t own an ice-cream maker. In fact, for this recipe I borrowed my friend’s Kitchen-Aid and ice cream attachment and I am so glad I did! It made the process much more manageable, and the creamy texture it produced just can’t be beat.
Now, today’s recipe is a bit more labor intensive than normal, but don’t let that scare you! Most of the prep time is spent chilling the cream in the freezer. (To give yourself a headstart, begin freezing the bowl attachment of your ice-cream maker at least 15 hrs beforehand).
First up? The cranberry sauce! Just add the cranberries, sugar, and water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are soft and falling apart. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and place in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
While that is cooling, start on the ice cream base. In a sauce-pan, warm 1 cup of the cream, the milk, ¾ cup of sugar and the salt over a medium-low heat. Once warmed through and the sugar is dissolved, add the vanilla bean, then cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and place a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warmed cream mixture over the egg yolks, making sure to whisk continuously, then place the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the cream mixture through the strainer and into the remaining cream (set aside earlier). Add the vanilla extract, and the vanilla from inside the pod. (I did this by splitting the bean and scraping the inside with the back of my knife.)
So right now you should have two bowls full of different mixtures, one with the cranberry sauce (in the fridge) and the other with the custard. Take the bowl of cranberry sauce out of the fridge and add the orange zest and juice. Then, combine with the custard mixture. Set the bowl (full of the cream and cranberry mixture) into an ice-bath (simply place the bowl inside of a larger one and fill the space between the bowls with ice) and bring to room temperature stirring occasionally.
Once the custard has cooled, simply refrigerate overnight then add to your ice-cream maker and churn the next day! I just love the fresh vanilla, the subtle tartness from the cranberries, and the brightness from the orange in this ice-cream. I mean, how good would this be on top of your favorite Thanksgiving pie?!
- Cranberry Syrup
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 orange
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup whole milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium sauce pan, add the fresh cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and tender. Remove from heat and put the mixture into a food processor and pulse about 4-5 times (the texture shouldn't be creamy smooth). Then, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to chill.
- In another medium-sized sauce pan, warm 1 cup of cream, the milk and the granulated sugar. Once warmed, and the sugar is dissolved and the vanilla bean (I added the inside of the bean by splitting it and scraping the inside with the back of my knife) cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the remaining heavy cream and place a mesh strainer atop the bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warmed cream over the egg yolks while whisking constantly, then transfer back into the sauce pan. Stir the mixture constantly over a medium heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract.
- Once thickened, pour the mixture through the mesh strainer.
- Add the orange zest and juice to the cranberry mixture.
- Combine the cranberry mixture with the custard and set in an ice-bath.
- Let sit until it reaches room temperature then transfer to the fridge overnight.
- Once chilled, add to your ice cream maker and churn according to its instructions.
- Serve immediately, or keep in your freezer!