I have an ice cream maker, and I never use it. It's probably been at least two years since I've dusted it off. That all changed this weekend.
In my never-ending quest to find more fun things to do with my toddler, we ended up at Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville for pick-your-own fruit. Peaches were the main attraction, but blackberries were just starting to come in.
Although I've been to Crooked Orchard a few times before, my previous visits have always been in the fall, either for apples or pumpkins. I thought of it as such a "fall" place that it didn't even occur to me that they would have fruit right now.
While you have to walk a little bit to get to the orchards, Crooked Run is a great, simple place to go. There's no admission fee - you just stop by the stand, pick up your buckets, and pay on the way out.
As I mentioned, the blackberries were just coming in, but we managed to get a pint of sweet, big blackberries pretty easily. When I got home, I decided it was time to break out the ice cream maker.
I found a recipe that is somewhere between a recipe for gelato and a recipe for ice cream. Instead of heavy cream, you use sweetened condensed milk, which creates a rich, sweet-flavored dessert.
After making the gelato, I'm going to deviate a little bit from the original recipe: namely omitting the sugar. It calls for 1/4 cup, but the sweetened condensed milk makes it unnecessary. I also added the juice from a half of a lemon instead of just one tablespoon.
Blackberry Gelato with Crooked Run Orchard Blackberries
- 1 pint Crooked Run Orchard blackberries, washed and dried
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- Lemon juice from one-half of a lemon
In a blender or food processor, crush berries. You can push the puree into a large bowl through a sieve to remove any seeds, but I left mine in for a more authentic taste. Add milk, condensed milk and lemon and mix with hand mixer.
Place in the refrigerator for an hour. Place mixture into your ice cream mixer and follow the machine's instructions. You may need to freeze the ice cream for another hour to firm it up.