Lemon thyme ice cream

Lemon thyme ice cream

I’m baaaaack! With no excuse for my absence. All I can say is: Here’s to hoping that with the summer and all of its frenzy winding to a close, I can make this a more regular activity. But we’ll see. I know better by now to make a blog promise I can’t keep.

For now: Lemon thyme ice cream.

Let me start by saying: It is HOT in Portland right now (which, for us, is in the mid-90s). It rained like winter all throughout July and now here we are in the fall wondering if time has rolled back a few months.

Thanks to the arrival of Summtember, cold treats are now in high demand. In the last two weeks alone, Martin and I plowed through all 30 popsicles I made after developing a crush on THIS AMAZING COOKBOOK (which, side note, I highly recommend). So last night, with a distinct lack of popsicles in the freezer—and zero fresh fruit on hand for new ones—I decided: WE NEED ICE CREAM.

Lemon thyme ice cream. I do not mean “lemon AND thyme.” I mean lemon thyme. It’s been growing like a weed in my garden all summer long.

The ice cream maker in action.

When I was a kid, making ice cream took FOREVER. My father didn’t often set foot in the kitchen, but he did have an ice cream maker, and he and I created what I remember thinking at the time was THE BEST ICE CREAM EVER—icy, sweet and distinct. The machine was different than my KitchenAid attachment; this was a pink appliance that we’d load up with ingredients and stick in the freezer for what felt like 600 years (may have actually been about 4 hours). I would open the freezer door approximately 6,574 times to check on it—not that there was ever much to see—and when it was (finally!) done, out came an incredible substance so unlike the fake vanilla Breyer’s I was used to.

The time goes by a lot faster now that I’m old enough to realize that life is far too short to stick your head in the freezer all day long.

You do not need this much lemon thyme to make this recipe—I got a little overzealous with my garden shears. By the time I picked through my harvest and discarded the dead leaves, I ended up with about half of this.

Lemon Thyme Ice Cream

The internet didn’t exactly have what I was looking for in terms of a recipe. There were plenty of thyme + lemon recipes, not lemon thyme specifically, and I didn’t want to use citrus because I figured it would overpower the lemon notes of the thyme. I ended up turning to a recipe from this lovely blog and one from ice-cream guru David Lebovitz as inspiration, and what resulted was smooth, creamy herb-infused deliciousness. Martin doesn’t care for the citrus notes (he felt the same way about the delicious kolsch he brewed with our lime basil), but I’m totally digging it.

  • A lot of fresh lemon thyme (I picked enough to fill a sifter; use less if you’re after a more subtle flavor)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  1. Heat the milk, 1 cup of the cream, sugar, salt and thyme in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and let steep about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the remaining cream in a bowl and place a strainer on top of the bowl.
  4. Whisk egg yolks, and pour some of the heated thyme infusion into the egg yolks, stirring constantly, to temper the eggs.
  5. Then stir the egg mixture into the rest of the thyme infusion, and reheat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Pour the thickened mixture through the strainer into the remaining cream. Place the bowl in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight or until thoroughly chilled.
  7. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I don’t know why, but nearly every ice cream recipe I’ve ever read says that, so I feel obligated to include it. As if you would use it the wrong way if I didn’t tell you otherwise.
  8. Open the freezer door 6,574 times in anticipation of the final product.

Lemon thyme ice cream

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About Laura Parisi

I am a writer who loves food, gardening, donuts and dogs. We tell stories to remember them. These are the food stories I want to remember.

6 responses to “Lemon thyme ice cream”

  1. Scott at Real Epicurean says :

    Looks delicious. I love that you’ve gone the richer route with the egg yolks, David Lebovitz is a constant source of inspiration.

    • Laura Parisi says :

      Hey there! When I’ve got the time to make them, custard-based ice creams are my favorite. Though I’m sure your eggless version was equally fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. frugalfeeding says :

    That looks crazy good. Lemon and thyme are a match made in heaven… Hence the herb, I guess. I REALLY need to get my self an ice cream maker (something I’ve been saying all summer. Alas, it’s getting a little chillier here… maybe it’ll pick up again though.

    • Laura Parisi says :

      You should definitely get an ice cream maker!!! I actually use mine more often in the winter, when I have more time to cook. Homemade ice cream is the best.

      It is possible to make ice cream without a machine, though it’s a little more work. I believe you just put the custard into the freezer and when it begins to crystalize, take it out and agitate it. Repeat for a few hours.

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide says :

    This looks amazing. I can almost smell the thyme. My wife would love that green KitchenAid. We have one in silver.

  4. scgirl529 says :

    I love the pictures! I’m so impressed that you made ice cream. It sounds and looks delicious!

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