Wednesday, July 22, 2015




It was a sweltering day in May when I found this recipe. May, I repeat, for those of you who missed that word. This year, it seemed that spring had decided to take an extra long vacation and leave the climate duties to her companion summer. It was still May when we had our first over 30℃ (which is 86  degrees in fahrenheit) day in Tokyo, and it's been like this ever since. Although I love summer and I would say without hesitation that it is my favourite season, I also do enjoy the mild and beautiful days of spring and autumn — the best time of year to wear trench coats and other fashion items that are harder to incorporate during the harsher seasons. And though I shamelessly play favourites, the best part of living in Tokyo is that you are able to experience the change of seasons fully; the pale pink cherry blossoms when the earth comes back to life and everything starts to turn green again, the rainy season when you see hydrangeas and the pops of colourful umbrellas everywhere, the sweltering summer days when people enjoy the fireworks wearing "yukatas", the crisp autumn days when the leaves turn red and golden and there are no clouds against the bright blue skies, the cool evenings when you hear crickets chirping, the cold days when people all bundled up walk briskly and the fairy lights glimmer in the city, and finally the freezing and bleak days when people gather and have "nabe parties" and there are a few days of snow. I wanted the full experience this year too, and I wanted those pleasant spring days back, even if just to have a few more weeks to look forward to summer. But we are getting a little off track.




The climate was already far past pleasant, and people everywhere were wearing sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals . . . you get the picture — summer attire. It was hard to be motivated to use the oven and bake something in all this heat. Anyway, I usually lose my appetite when it becomes sweltering. But at the same time, I was itching to get back to my baking/sweet cooking habits — after all, it had already been several months since my last post (in which I ironically made a resolution to post more often, but I have a good excuse for being absent). Aimlessly flipping through bake books got me nowhere but a few sessions of vigorous pinning did the trick. If there is one dessert that will always have a place in my heart (or rather my stomach), it is a good lemony one. I love lemon curd, and lemon meringue tarts are king in my opinion. Lindsay, author of the blog Love and Olive Oil (and the source of this ice cream), warns that "this ice cream is for serious lemon lovers only". Yes, that's me. I was sold.

Back in the kitchen, going through the steps of making ice cream made me realise how much I missed it. Baking and sweet cooking that is. Of course I was cooking meals at home (which I also do enjoy), so technically I was standing in the kitchen everyday, but baking and sweet cooking are different from meal cooking. It is more about relaxing than about getting a task done, and it is more about pleasure and craving than about nutrition and balance. It was satisfying to whisk egg yolks and sugar together, and whip heavy cream to soft peaks. I hope that I will be able to share these pleasures with my future child one day — one day very soon, because . . .



We are welcoming a new member into our family. There. I am finally able to share the news that me & my husband Yu are expecting a baby. I thought long and hard about whether I was willing to expose such a private part of my life online: although not shy, I am a very private person by nature, and have been vague about illustrating details of my life online in the past. I don't know why — to some, sharing something about themselves is not a big deal at all, I suppose. And after three years of admiring those people and three years of blogging, pinning, instagraming, and just plainly wandering around the online world, I've come to the conclusion that it is just less troublesome to be honest and to be yourself to the farthest extent possible (but still comfortable enough) for you. It makes writing posts a lot more easier — the more you withhold, the more you have to be vague in description — and because this blog also serves as a sort of online diary for me, there were times in the past when I wished I could record a moment more in detail. So after much thought on what to withhold and what to share, I decided that I was going to be okay with sharing the fact that I am married, and that we are expecting a child. Also, I needed a good reason to explain why I was absent for so long, right after promising myself to bake and post in synch with the seasonal celebrations and holidays. So this is my story, and I am back — maybe still not to a full extent, but gradually easing myself back into baking and sweet cooking, starting with a flavour that I truly love.

On a final note, this lemon meringue ice cream truly is for the lemon lovers out there, with that deep and satisfying lemony tang in every spoonful. (Don't worry, it's not sour!) I've adjusted the ingredients and method a bit to my liking (my favourite Murphy's method), and speaking of Murphy's, if you are not afraid of intense lemon flavour, you can even leave the meringue out (like I did this time for the photographs), and voila! You have a perfect summer treat that resembles their lemon curd ice cream.



* { lemon curd ice cream with optional meringue swirls, adapted from : love & olive oillemon meringue ice cream }

< for the lemon curd ice cream >
130g granulated sugar
80ml lemon juice
zest of one lemon
80g unsalted butter, cubed
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
200ml heavy cream
200ml whole milk

< for the meringue swirl >
3 large egg whites
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place half the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat.
2. Heat the milk in another saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
3. While heating the milk, place the egg yolks and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Whisk together with the remaining sugar until light and thick.
4. Remove the simmering milk from heat, and add in a slow stream to the egg yolk mixture while whisking vigorously. (Be careful not to cook the eggs.)
5. Add the lemon juice mixture in a slow stream to the custard while whisking vigorously.
6. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant spatula until the mixture starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
7. Pour and strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Set the bowl over another large bowl partially filled with ice and water to create an ice bath. Stir the base occasionally until the mixture cools down. Remove the bowl from the ice bath, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours (or preferably overnight).
8. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume and you have soft peaks. Fold the cream gently into the cooled custard.
9. Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions.
10. While churning the ice cream, prepare the meringue. Place the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large bowl and set over a bain-marie. Making sure that the egg whites don't cook, whisk constantly until the mixture becomes around 65℃. (If you don't have a thermometer, whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.) Remove from heat and continue whisking until the mixture is white, fluffy and cool, and forms peaks. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
11. When the ice cream is done, transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container, adding spoonfuls of meringue in between every few large scoopfuls. When all the ice cream is transferred into the container, swirl the mixture gently with a dull butter knife or such. (Be careful not to mix in the meringue fully; the object is to to create meringue "swirls".) Place the container in the freezer until ice cream is firm.

※ The meringue is optional and if you prefer lemon curd ice cream, skip process 10. & 11. and transfer the churned ice cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container, and place in freezer until ice cream is firm.
※ If you prefer, you can add the meringue directly to the ice cream machine when the ice cream is nearly done. I tried this method but the machine I use mixed in the meringue too much, which made the ice cream lose its smooth texture. Whichever method you use, just be careful not to mix in the meringue too much.

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