I decided in the end to go with a creamy, tangy lemon ice cream based on the recipe and techniques in the Jeni Britton Food & Wine article. She talked about how she boils down the cream then uses a pinch of cornstarch for thickening. We tried this out recently and it made such wonderful ice cream!
So, I decided to just use this recipe - it's low hassle, and very dependable. I am adding plenty of lemon zest for flavor, and adjusting the sugars with a little brown sugar for an old-fashioned richness in the background. After the ice cream mix is completely chilled I am adding just a bit of lemon juice for an extra tang.
Also, I decided to keep things simple and just make this ice cream to go along with the rich chocolate gateau and lemon olive cakes. No sorbet or additional flavors - this will be plenty, and I think it goes well with both.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions! (And extra props to monika1 who totally called this flavor.) I wish you all could come and eat it with us.
Creamy Tangy Lemon Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni Britton in Food & Wine
makes 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested and juiced
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Mix thoroughly so the cornstarch doesn't clump up. In another large bowl, whip the cream cheese until smooth.
In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugars and corn syrup. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves - about 4 minutes. You may need to pull the mixture half off the burner so it doesn't boil over.
Take the milk mixture off the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute - no more.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt, vanilla, and lemon zest. Chill completely - overnight, ideally.
After mixture is completely chilled, whisk in the lemon juice. Strain the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container.
Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours.