The art and science of the scoop.
- 450g | 1 lb huckleberries
- Huckleberry Puree 200g | 1 cup
- Buttermilk 100g | ½ cup
- Lemon juice 50g | ¼ cup
- Milk 300g | 1½ cups
- Cream 100g | ½ cup
- Sugar 150g | ¾ cup
- Glucose 100g | ½ cup
- Grated lemon zest 3g | 1 teaspoon, packed
- Texture agent of your choice
- Best texture: Commercial stabilizer – 3g or 1 teaspoon. Mix with the sugar before it is added to the dairy.
- Least icy: Guar or xanthan gum. 1g or ¼ teaspoon. Whirl in a blender with the sherbet base after it is chilled in the ice bath.
- Easiest to use: Tapioca starch. 5g or 2 teaspoons / mixed with 20g or 2 tablespoons of cold water. Whisk into the dairy after it is finished cooking.
- Most accessible: Cornstarch. 10g or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon / mixed with 20g or 2 tablespoons of cold water. Whisk into the simmering dairy, then cook for 1 minute.
Make the Huckleberry Puree
Clean and cook. Remove any leaves from among the berries and rinse the berries in cold water. Place in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring with a spoon to help mash the berries, until they start to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the barriers for 5 to 10 minutes, until they have released all their juices and are bubbling and fragrant.
Puree. Transfer the berries to a blender and let cool for 10 minutes. Blend on high speed until smooth.
Strain and store. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to catch as many seeds as possible. Huckleberry seeds are tiny and may be hard to catch; use the finest mesh strainer you have and push the puree through using a rubber spatula. Store the berry puree in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 3 months. Makes 2 cups.
Make the huckleberry mixture. Whisk the huckleberry puree, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set in the refrigerator.
Boil the dairy. Place the milk, cream, sugar, and glucose in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching. When the dairy comes to a full rolling boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.
Infuse. Stir the lemon zest into the dairy, and allow it to infuse for 30 minutes.
Strain and chill. Strain the infused sherbet base through a fine-mesh sieve, into a shallow metal or glass bowl, discarding zest. Fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way with a lot of ice and a little water. Nest the hot bowl into this ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down.
Mix the base with the huckleberry mixture. When the base is cool to the touch (50°F or below), remove the bowl from the ice bath. Add the huckleberry mixture to the base, whisking until evenly combined.
Strain. Strain the sherbet through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the particles of fruit that may remain intact. (This step is optional, but will help ensure the smoothest sherbet possible.)
Cure. Transfer the sherbet base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is also optional, but the texture will be much improved with it.)
Churn. When you are ready to churn your sherbet, place it into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The sherbet is finished churning when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes.
Harden. To freeze your sherbet in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer your finished sherbet to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the sherbet to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your sherbet immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve. Makes between 1 and 1 ½ quarts sherbet.
About this recipe
“A true mountain huckleberry is one of Mother Earth’s greatest gifts. It’s unmistakable, with the bright acidity of a raspberry, the round sweetness of a blueberry, and a flavor entirely its own. As a child, my life was filled with huckleberries. My father’s side of the family would set up camp in the foothills of Washington state’s Mount Adams each summer, horses and all. Our campsite was at the base of a little mound of earth called Potato Hill, but it could have just as easily been called Huckleberry Hill, based on the berry-bearing bushes that covered it. When fall approached, we would pick as many huckleberries as we could manage, eating huckleberry pancakes griddled over the fire and storing the rest in the freezer.
If you get your hands on some huckleberries, put this recipe on the top of your to-do list. In the Pacific Northwest, you can find huckleberries at farmers’ markets as well as specialty shops, or if you’re near Trout Lake, check for them at the general store. And you can always order frozen huckleberries online.
Huckleberries should be cooked before using them to make sherbet. Until the heat softens their flavor, they are quite tart and a touch tannic. Once simmered, the berries become rich, fragrant, and their astringency mellows.
This recipe also works wonderfully with the huckleberry’s gentle cousin, the blueberry, and the two can be used interchangeably. Not all blueberries are created equal, and if you plan to make this flavor outside of blueberry season, grab a bag of frozen blueberries from the freezer section—and if you see wild blueberries, use them!” – Dana Cree
Reprinted from Hello, My Name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop. Copyright © 2017 by Dana Cree. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Andrea D’Agosto. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.