As a child, my home was on the St. Clair River in a little town in Michigan called Algonac; the river is important because it connects the Great Lakes and vessels can travel between the upper and lower Great Lakes. As a result, freighters were a common sight tooling right by in front of our house. It was quite amazing actually (which I've come to realize since returning as an adult), because the river is extremely narrow in many places and these freighters are enormous. The river is also the international boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and Michigan.
My dad, who was not exactly comfortable in the kitchen, made two things of note: caramel popcorn and pineapple sherbet. And we made the sherbet in winter as ice was readily available. The river often froze over.....I remember skating on it as a child....which, needless to say, caused huge problems for shipping. A hefty current, busy freighter traffic and Coast Guard cutters help to keep the ice moving, but there are times when there are still ice jams. Once 18 freighters in a line got jammed up in the ice.
At any rate, Dad would go down to the shore and get ice for our ice cream maker. One of those old hand churning wooden ones. We'd set things up in the basement where there was drain in the floor because ice with lots of salt sprinkled on each layer led to water seeping out of the holes in the sides. Then we'd all take turns churning.
My children had his caramel popcorn often enough, but by the time they were old enough to enjoy churning ice cream, my parents had moved to Florida and the old churn was left behind.
Now that summer is upon us, and even though our rivers and lakes aren't frozen :), I thought you might like to try my dad's recipe. Would you believe this is the first time I've ever made it in over 40 years? Things are so much simpler now; I almost feel as though I'm cheating.
Dad, Mackinac Island, 1960
Dad's Pineapple Sherbet
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
12 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
2 lemons, juice only
In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat the 1/2 and 1/2; do not allow to boil. Beat the eggs and sugar. Temper the eggs and then pour everything back, and cook, whisking, until the mixture thickens a bit or until a thermometer reads 160° and the mixture coats a spoon. Once again, do not allow to boil. Strain. Cool.
Add the whipping cream, lemon juice and pineapple. Chill overnight. Churn away!
It freezes hard, so you'll have to let it soften a bit to scoop. I topped it with some fresh pineapple caramelized in butter, dark brown sugar and dark rum, so the warmth melted the sherbet a bit.