It’s a hideous day here in New England. Daniel has picked up his sister’s virus from earlier this week, and has a 101-102 degree fever. Rebecca woke up coughing and crabby. And it’s raining. Awesome. However, we’re supposed to get our first heat wave this weekend, so I thought I’d share what will likely be in my freezer this weekend…
I love the change of seasons. I tend to get tired of one, by the end, so I’m always ready for the next one to arrive. In particular, I love bringing out recipies that I only make in certain kinds of weather. When it first gets cold, I love making my turkey chili and cornbread, or chicken stew with biscuits. But when it gets warm and I can finally walk around in shorts and t-shirts and sit outside… ahh. I’m ready for a popsicle. Or, as I mentioned a week or two ago, some Chicken & Couscous Salad. Or…
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream. Even just saying it tastes delicious, don’t you think?
[No, this isn’t going to turn into a food/cooking blog. But sometimes, even if my kids can’t eat it yet, these things are just too good to pass up.]
Like plenty of newlyweds, we got an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. It sat in the cabinet for a while, a nice idea but something I never seemed to remember to use. One friend swore it was great for frozen margaritas, but I like them on the rocks, so no go there. Until a friend came to visit from out of town and couldn’t believe we hadn’t made strawberry ice cream yet. So she made it. And I was hooked.
The fresh strawberries, a little lemon juice, and heavy cream… what’s not to love? Oh, this stuff is so good. You simply must take spoonfuls out of the spout in the top while it’s churning. You know, for quality assurance, right? And after it’s frozen solid in the tupperware in the freezer… there have been nights where M just couldn’t stop himself from eating nearly the entire thing. And strawberry is not otherwise his favorite flavor. This is just that good.
This is pretty much straight from the Cuisinart instruction manual / recipe book. It’s not a custard-based ice cream which means it’s pretty quick to make, no waiting for a custard to cool or worrying about getting the eggs just right. You can substitute peaches for strawberries, but I have found that, while you can get away with simply good strawberries, the peach version isn’t really worth making unless you have perfect peaches, right at the height of ripeness. Cook’s Illustrated also has some suggestions regarding macerating peaches in this month’s issue. Anyways, back to the strawberries…
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
1 quart fresh strawberries
4 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. 1% milk (I’ve decided 1% makes for the best finished texture, not sure why)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (do not skimp and make this with light cream)
1-2 t. vanilla
- Hull and chop or slice strawberries, place in a medium-sized bowl. Add lemon juice (watch out for seeds) and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir, cover, and refrigerate 1 1/2 – 2 hours to let the berries macerate.
- Take berries out of the fridge and pour them into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mostly pureed, though there may be a few remaining larger chunks. This depends on your desired final texture. I like my strawberries pureed, but if you want more chunks of strawberry in your ice cream, reserve half of the strawberries in another bowl, and puree the rest.
- Pour milk and remaining 1 cup sugar into another bowl, and mix until sugar is dissolved (an electric hand mixer makes this go a lot faster, but you can use a whisk if you want). Add cream, vanilla, and pureed strawberries and any accumulated juice, and whisk to combine.
- Get your ice cream maker assembled and turned on so the bowl or churning mechanism is already moving, then pour in the cream mixture. Let it churn for 30-40 minutes (per your manual’s instructions). If you have any reserved chopped strawberries, add them to the mixture at about 25 minutes.
- Once the ice cream is the consistency of soft-serve, remove from machine and pour into a freezer-safe container with a lid (I use a 2-quart round gladware), and put it in the freezer to harden, about 3 hours. Or, just eat it all straight out of the machine, who am I to judge?
Be aware of the capacity of your ice cream maker, as well as the fact that the mixture will expand in volume as it churns. I used the full quart of strawberries, 1.5 c. of milk, and 2 c. of cream, and I had a bit too much for my 1 1/2 quart machine. Don’t overfill, or you will have a sticky pink mess on your hands. (A tasty one, though!)