We were, as per usual in Gourmandistan, having a conversation about food as we traveled to the market. Specifically, Steve was thinking about cantaloupe curd, and whether it would be good. We’ve had successful stabs at peach curd and grapefruit curd, and since melons are in season Steve wondered if the curd process could be applied to cantaloupe. Michelle thought it sounded interesting, but feared the delicate flavor of the melon might be affected by the heat necessary to make a curd. Instead, she suggested sorbet. Steve, still wanting something creamy, countered with cantaloupe ice cream—and a new Gourmandistan dessert was born.
The ice cream recipe almost couldn’t be easier, so of course we couldn’t stop there. Steve was thinking about a thyme-laced whipped cream, but Michelle’s opinion is that outside of a sundae or banana split more cream isn’t appropriate. (Steve continues to disagree.) Instead, she created a honey-verbena syrup spiked with cubed cantaloupe, plus threw in some semi-successful verbena butter cookies on the side.
All in all, it ended up being quite a delicious discussion. With fruit season in full swing, we’ll probably keep talking.
CANTALOUPE ICE CREAM WITH LEMON VERBENA HONEY SAUCE
- 1/2 a large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (about 1 lb. flesh)
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. crème fraîche
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 c. milk
- Pinch of salt
Purée cantaloupe and sugar in food processor. Remove to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.
Freeze ice cream according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Remove from ice cream maker and put in a container in freezer until needed. (NOTE: This ice cream is better in the first 24 hours or so. After that, it becomes a little bit crumbly.)
- 1/4 c. honey
- 4 tsp. water
- 5 or 6 lemon verbena leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup or so cantaloupe, cut into 1/4″ or so squares
- Thin slivers of lemon verbena leaves
Place honey and water in a tiny saucepan. Add lemon verbena to pan. Heat over low heat until warmed but not boiling. Set aside. When cool, drain through a fine strainer, discarding lemon verbena.
Pour over cantaloupe squares. Mix in lemon verbena leaf slivers to taste.
Scoop ice cream into serving bowls. Pour topping over. Garnish with additional lemon verbena leaves, if desired.