Chanterelles have a fruity aroma and a mild taste that’s just as at home in a savory risotto as a sweet treat. I’ve candied them, made them into a cheesecake and finally homemade chanterelle ice cream.
Years ago, if you told me mushroom ice cream was delicious, I would have been skeptical. That was until I smelled fresh chanterelles. True chanterelles have a fruity aroma, a bit like fresh cider or apricots, and they don’t taste anything like the store bought button mushrooms most people know. Chanterelle ice cream is mild, fruity and downright wonderful.
The wild chanterelle mushrooms on our land begin ripening in August, during peak ice cream weather. While I love a good chanterelle risotto, that stick to your ribs comfort food is best during the cold months. This year, the weather was so dry that our chanterelle patch took the year off, and I didn’t find any at the farmers market until the first day of fall.
When I came across the fragrant basket of late season yellow foot chanterelles, I knew I just had to make ice cream. They had this intense, intoxicating aroma that was out of this world. September in Vermont isn’t ice cream weather, but I could care less. I’m going to sit by the fire and enjoy my chanterelle ice cream one way or another.
While my husband suggested that I add apricots to strengthen the flavor, I chose to keep it simple. I want to taste the fresh chanterelle flavor without any distractions. I started by infusing the chanterelles in a bit of heavy cream and half & half, just like I did with my dandelion flower ice cream earlier this year.
While the dandelion flowers needed to be filtered out, I chose to leave the mushrooms in the finished ice cream. I took a stick blender and pureed the whole mushrooms right into the cream, leaving flecks of orange. The mushrooms themselves are a bit stringy and resisted being pureed. It took a surprisingly long time with a stick blender to get them into small pieces. I’m used to making a puree in about 30 seconds with this wonderful tool, but I’d say it took about 90 seconds of blending to break them all up.
Next comes the tempering process. Separate out 6 egg yolks and give them a quick whip with a whisk. Add a small amount of hot cream, while whisking continuously. Keep adding it a bit at a time, whisking it in to distribute the heat and avoid cooking the egg yolks. Once all the warm cream has been added, transfer the cream/egg/chanterelle mixture back to a saucepan.
Cook the mixture on very low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator and chill completely. Once the mixture is cold, it should have the consistency of a custard. Move it to an ice cream maker and freeze using the instructions of your ice cream maker.
Chanterelle Ice Cream
Chanterelles have a lovely delicate fruity flavor that comes through beautifully in this homemade chanterelle ice cream.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/4 lb chanterelle mushrooms (fresh) or 1-2 ounces dried
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 pinch sea salt
Gently simmer the chanterelles in a mixture of half & half and heavy cream for about 5 minutes. Blend the mixture with a stick blender until smooth.
Separate 6 eggs, reserving the whites for another use. Whip the egg yolks, and slowly pour a bit of the hot cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add a bit at a time until it's all incorporated.
Transfer the mixture back to a saucepan and cook on very low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Refrigerate until cold, and then freeze the cold custard in an ice cream maker following the manufacturers' instructions.