Lemon Verbena Infused Ricotta Ice Cream (Daring Bakers July)

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

If you read the title of this post and then read the above lines about this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, you’re probably a bit confused, and rightfully so, so let me explain…

When I read this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, I was slightly less than thrilled (OK, less than slightly less). I found the ice cream cake/bombe concept to be a bit too over-the-top and not very appetizing for my tastes. It’s an interesting idea, but there’s a lot going on, and it struck me as one of those dishes that is “trying too hard.” The challenge had a lot of components but they were all things I’ve done before. Since my goal as a Daring Baker is to try new things (baking things), I didn’t feel the need to go through the countless steps of the recipe as written.

Instead, I decided to do my own “deconstructed” version of the ice cream bombe cake, basically tackling the baking portion of the challenge (a swiss roll cake or jelly roll cake) and make a homemade ice cream to pair it with. If my Daring Bakers privileges are revoked, I will just have to live with that!

Since I had just done a decadent chocolatey ice cream cake a few weeks back, I decided to skip the chocolate and vanilla version and try some new flavors for this challenge. I ended up making a lemon sponge jelly roll filled with blueberry jam. Since I can’t get enough of lemon, blueberries, and ricotta, I decided to try my hand at a ricotta ice cream infused with fresh lemon verbena from my garden. The ice cream was much more subtle in flavor than most, but I thought it was a perfect pairing for the jelly roll. It would also be delicious on its own topped with a blueberry sauce!

Lemon Blueberry Jelly Roll Cake

(I followed a recipe from King Arthur Flour, adding 1 teaspoon of lemon extract in addition to the vanilla extract called for in the recipe.)

Begin by beating together the eggs, salt, and sugar.  Continue beating until the mixture is light in color and falls back into the bowl in ribbons. Beat in the extracts and water and then fold in the dry ingredients.

I didn’t have a jelly roll pan, so I just baked the sponge in a 9 by 13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper.  Once the cake has baked, turn it over onto a clean kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar.  Roll it up starting with one of the short ends and allow it to cool completely.

Unroll the cake and fill it with jam.  Remove the kitchen towel and re-roll the cake.  Transfer it to a serving platter and dust the top with powdered sugar.

Lemon Verbena Infused Ricotta Ice Cream

  • 10 – 12 fresh lemon verbena leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
    (You could use all heavy cream, but I only had 1 cup on hand, so I used half and half, as well)
  • Zest from 1 lemon

In a small saucepan, combine the torn verbena leaves, granulated sugar, and water. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  The sugar should be completely dissolved and the simple syrup will be infused with the verbena.  Set aside to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, heavy cream, half and half, and lemon zest. Using a mesh strainer to remove the verbena leaves, pour the verbena infused syrup into the ricotta mixture.  Whisk until smooth.  Cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors combine.

Freeze the mixture using an ice cream maker (according to the manufacturer’s directions). Once frozen, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze for a few hours until firm enough to scoop.  If the ice cream is too hard to scoop, microwave for a few minutes on low power or allow the ice cream to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving.

15 Responses to Lemon Verbena Infused Ricotta Ice Cream (Daring Bakers July)

  1. “Since my goal as a Daring Baker is to try new things (baking things), I didn’t feel the need to go through the countless steps of the recipe as written.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    This is by far the classiest take on the Daring Bakers this month – well done.

  2. I am with you on the goal to learn new things as a DB, and I also focused only on baking the swiss roll. I didn’t make two kinds of ice cream or a hot fudge sauce at all, and simply filled the whole bombe with one type of ice cream…so I guess we’ll get kicked out together. ;-) All that said, I love your take on the challenge – wonderful roll and ice cream flavors!

  3. I almost did the deconstructed one too, and I am totally win with what you did jen! Gorgeous Swiss roll, utterly delicious ice cream and great use of the jam! It’s lovely! Wish I had some lemon verbana growing in my yard…craving it totally!

  4. I’ve never made a roll type of cake, it intimidates me…but you’ve made it look simple :) And my husband loves anything with blueberry in it…this is going on the list!

  5. I think you did a great job with this. I’m not a Daring Baker but I promise not to turn you in for “changing it up” to suit your own tastes.

  6. So I have some lemon verbena in the garden right now and there is no question left about what to do with it. I’m making this ice cream as soon as I can get to the store for ricotta and cream. Lovely work!

  7. I am also growing lemon verbena! I love the smell, especially when I accidentally brush by it on the way to the gate. Thinking of planting it more places.

    Thank you for the inspiration to use it in a recipe, I only thought of it as a landscape plant. Hope you will consider participating in this month’s Grow Your Own blogging event – that would be a twofer for this post :-)