My friend Christine and I have been making a day trip to Portland, ME every summer for the last couple of years and basically spend the day stuffing ourselves. We always go to Eventide Oysters for my favorite lobster rolls, The Holy Donut for potato donuts, Duckfat for their fries, and Gelato Fiasco for ice cream (the honeycomb ice cream sundae from Honeypaw has made it onto our itinerary for the last 2 years as well). My favorite flavor is the Maine Wild Blueberry Caramel Sea Salt Stracciatella gelato, but they didn't have it this year so I had to settle for the Blueberry Milk and Cookies flavor which was still really good.
So when Boston Organics contacted me and offered to send me a 5 lb. box of their wild Maine blueberries, I knew the first thing I wanted to make with them. I consulted with my favorite ice cream cookbook, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and realized I could make something similar using her salty caramel ice cream recipe, adding some blueberry compote, and then swirling in some chocolate freckles when the ice cream was almost done churning.
I also wanted to share some more information about these wonderful blueberries because they're so different from the ones you usually find in the grocery store. These are from Burke Hill Farm in Cherryfield, ME and come in a compact wax box that will fit perfectly in most freezers. Known as lowbush blueberries, these wild blueberries grow in northern New England’s naturally acidic soil and are resilient enough to withstand the region's icy winters. They're smaller and sweeter than the highbush berries you're probably used to, and perfect for freezing, baking, and just snacking on! You can find more information here on the Boston Organics website.
I wish the ice cream could be as brilliantly colored as the blueberry milk and cookies gelato above, but I was worried that adding too much blueberry compote to the ice cream base might make it too icy. Regardless, the flavor is incredible; the sweetness of the caramel is tempered by the tartness of the blueberries, and the crackly dark chocolate freckles adds a fun textural component.
Blueberry Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Freckles
makes about 1 quart
1 cup wild Maine blueberries (frozen is fine)*
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Heat the blueberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil. Gently mash the blueberries and remove from heat.
Mix a couple tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry and set aside. Whisk the cream cheese and kosher salt in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the heavy cream and corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar to a 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat. Wait until a layer of sugar has melted and turned amber before stirring with a heatproof spatula. Once all the sugar has melted and is a dark amber remove from heat and add about 1/4 cup of the heavy cream mixture while stirring. It will violently erupt with steam so be careful! Continue to stir and add more and more of the cream until it is all incorporated.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the rest of the milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and bring back to a boil. Continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened, about one minute.
Add a little of the hot cream mixture to the cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese is dissolved. Add the rest of the cream mixture, vanilla, and blueberry compote and mix. Chill the mixture, then churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
While the ice cream is churning, place the chopped chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag, seal it shut, and then place in some very hot water. Occasionally squeeze the chocolate around until it is all melted. Remove the bag from the water and dry the outside. Keep the chocolate melted but not hot.
Once the ice cream is almost done churning, snip a corner off of the sandwich bag and squeeze a steady stream of the melted chocolate into the ice cream while it continues to churn. Pack the churned ice cream into a storage container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
*If you can't get your hands on wild Maine blueberries, you can use regular blueberries to make the compote, but you may want to boil it longer to reduce it further and add some more sugar as needed.
Previously: Greyscale Cream Puffs
Last Year: Macau-Style Portuguese Chicken Rice
Three Years Ago: Taiwanese Taro Swirl Mooncakes
Four Years Ago: Ramen Lobster Rolls
Five Years Ago: Caramelized Onion and Swiss Chard Quiche