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Ginger, Honey, and Lemon Ice Cream

A picture speaks a thousand calories. (Just kidding about the calories.)

About 1 quart


About 30 minutes active time, plus at least several hours for steeping the cream, about 45 minutes for churning, and at least 2 hours for freezing


Here are a pretty racy set of flavors: the ginger burns, the honey beseeches, the lemon gets tart. They all fall in love in the cream. We chose these flavors to complement a Mulled Bartlett Pear Crisp, but it didn’t seem fair to give a single dessert strict possession of an ice cream this ravishing. Not while gingerbread exists, or molasses cookies, or apple pie—or even angel food cake.

Cooking Remarks

The ice cream base takes a two-step infusion: one for the ginger when the cream is very hot (several hours or overnight) and one for the lemon peel after the custard is cooked (briefer). There is a reason for this: ginger needs heat and time to come biting through, but lemon peel loses flavor when it is overheated or cooked too long. We also suggest that you grate the ginger directly into the saucepan: ginger likes to oxidize and this will prevent its oxidation.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a digital kitchen scale, a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, a heatproof rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, a peeler or sharp paring knife, a rasp-style grater, a fine-mesh sieve, a medium mixing bowl, a whisk, a large mixing bowl, at least 3 quarts of ice cubes, an instant-read thermometer, and an ice cream maker.

    • 24
      ounces (3 cups) heavy cream

    • 6
      ounces (½ cup) honey

    • ¼
      teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 4
      ounces unpeeled fresh ginger
    • 6
      large egg yolks

    • 1
      lemon, washed

    Make the ginger and cream infusion: Pour the cream, honey, and salt into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally to incorporate the honey into the cream. Meanwhile, peel the ginger and grate it directly into the saucepan with the cream. Allow the cream to simmer, then pull the saucepan off the heat. Cover the saucepan, refrigerate, and steep the cream until it is spicy-rich and gingery, at least several hours or up to overnight.


    Make the custard base: Strain the ginger-infused cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Return the cream to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Set a large bowl in a sink or basin filled with lots (at least 3 quarts) of ice cubes and cold water. Have a fine-mesh sieve nearby. When the cream is just shy of a simmer, pull the saucepan off the burner and pour half the hot cream into the yolk mixture. Whisk well. Add the remaining cream and whisk well. Pour everything back into the saucepan and return the saucepan to the burner. Reduce the heat to medium and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the cream thickens and the temperature hovers right around 180 degrees, about 45 seconds. Do not let the temperature go over 180 degrees! Pour the custard immediately through the fine-mesh sieve into the bowl set in the ice bath. Peel 4 or 5 long strips of zest from the lemon and add them to the custard. Stir briefly to cool. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.


    Churn the ice cream: Pour the chilled custard base through a fine-mesh sieve into the canister of your ice cream maker, pressing on the lemon peel with a wooden spoon to divest it of as much flavor as possible. Churn until the ice cream maker indicates the cream is frozen, about 50 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and place it in the freezer to set for 2 or 3 hours before serving.