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Fior di latte ice cream pairs with Jersey berries

Making ice cream can seem like a daunting task if the recipe is long, involved or requires making a custard base, but this simple Italian-inspired version is quick, easy and delicious. Traditionally fior di latte, or “flower of milk,” is an Italian gelato flavor. It tastes sweet and rich with just a hint of vanilla and honey. I have adapted my recipe to cut back on the sugar and allow the flavor of the cream, honey and vanilla to stand out. This recipe is ideal for the local ingredients and flavors of early spring. The use of local dairy products, such as those from Trickling Springs Creamery in Pennsylvania and a local honey of your choice would really enhance the flavors of this dish.

To further enhance the ice cream with some bright flavors and a bit of tartness, I have created a lacto-fermented blueberry and fresh strawberry sauce. Lacto-fermentation is a process by which bacteria and microorganisms convert the sugars and starches in foods into other substances. In this recipe, salt-tolerant lactic-acid bacteria present on the skin of the blueberries convert the sugars into lactic-acid creating a pleasant tangy flavor.

While it is easy to ferment something like blueberries, it is very important to remember to keep the process clean and completely sanitary to prevent any bad bacteria from infiltrating the product. Sanitize all equipment and containers with boiling water, and ensure hands are as clean as possible. If there are any off colors or mold forming in the fermenting blueberries, discard them immediately. Fermented blueberries can also freeze well. Along with the blueberries in this syrup recipe, the use of fresh strawberries provides just the right amount of sweetness to complement the tart of the blueberries. During this time of year, I recommend local strawberries if possible. Personally, I prefer those from Specca Farms in Bordentown, New Jersey.

Now that spring has arrived, there is no better time to grab some local ingredients like milk, honey and strawberries from the farmer’s market, and start cooking. I love to support local agriculture, and nothing beats produce fresh from the farm. With the use of local ingredients, the fior di latte ice cream and fermented blueberry and strawberry sauce makes a great springtime dessert that is sure to please.

If you are curious about fermentation or what else you can do with fermented blueberries, The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber is an excellent resource.

Lacto-fermented Blueberries Recipe (Adapted from The Noma Guide to Fermentation)

300 grams blueberries

6 grams non-iodized salt

  1. Add the blueberries and salt to a clean bowl and mix well with a clean, sanitized utensil, or clean and sanitized hands.

  2. Transfer the blueberry and salt mixture into a clean, sanitized mason jar, and allow to sit for 5-7 days in a cool, dark place. Alternatively, seal the mixture into a food-safe vacuum bag with room at the top to let gas out. After two days, the jar may need to be burped to release built up CO2 gas. The berries are ready when they have released their juices and taste tangy.

Fior di Latte Ice Cream with Fermented Blueberry and Strawberry Sauce Recipe

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 TBSP honey

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup finely chopped strawberries

½ cup fermented blueberries

1 TBSP water

Ice Cream

  1. Heat milk and heavy cream in a pan until just below a simmer.

  2. Add vanilla, 1 TBSP of honey, and granulated sugar, and stir to dissolve. You may add more honey in this step if you like the taste.

  3. Once all of the sugar and honey is dissolved, move the mixture to an ice bath to chill through completely. Alternatively, it can be put into a 13x9 pan to chill through in the freezer.

  4. After the ice cream base is completely chilled, add it into an ice cream maker to churn until it reaches a soft-serve like consistency.

  5. Transfer the ice cream into the freezer to solidify further to desired consistency.

Sauce

  1. Combine the chopped strawberries, fermented blueberries, remaining honey, and water into a sauce pan.

  2. Allow to cook down until fruit and juices have reduced to a syrupy consistency. Optionally, you may mash the fruit for a finer texture, or run the mixture through a fine sieve to get just the syrup. Allow to cool.

To finish, place a scoop of ice cream in a bowl and top with the cooled berry sauce. Serve.

This recipe and article are provided by Rowan College at Burlington County culinary arts student Devon Galbraith, who wrote it for the Courier-Post. For more information on RCBC’s Culinary Arts program, visit rcbc.edu/culinary.