Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream...and the Promise of Spring

I mentioned in a previous post that we are experiencing an unusually cold spring in Kansas City. And nothing much has changed...the cold has continued to hang on. Today I am wishing I still had some firewood left. I would complain at length about the weather, but I was reminded this morning that it could be much worse. I logged onto Facebook to see a picture my sister-in-law took from her back deck (in Minnesota)....this morning....

At least the view out my back window looks a bit like spring (although more like mid-March than mid-April).

Considering the weather, it might seem a bit odd that I am posting a recipe for ice cream. But the explanation is really pretty straightforward. Last night I taught a class featuring a dessert made with ice cream. Back in mid-February—when I scheduled my April classes—Profiteroles with Strawberry Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce seemed like the perfect ending for a mid-April class featuring dishes one might find in a bistro in Paris. So, even if the weather isn't perfectly appropriate, I made—and served—some delicious strawberry ice cream. (No one complained.)

Obviously I didn't have any local strawberries to work with, but the "imports" from California were actually very nice.

If you wait and make this ice cream when you have access to perfectly ripe local strawberries, you will be in heaven....this is "strawberries and cream" at its best.

You might be wondering where the profiteroles and chocolate sauce are. Unfortunately, I didn't bring any of that home...just the ice cream. But I did happen to have some brownies on hand. They made a nice—very American—substitution....and were perfect for a sweet finish to my lunch.

And as I enjoyed my strawberry ice cream...and looked outside across the yards on this cold, blustery day—with the beautiful greens and the beginnings of the early season bloom cycle—I was reminded that the warmth of spring (and the local strawberries) will eventually have to come.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

1 lb. strawberries (about 1 1/2 pints), washed & hulled
1 c. sugar
2 c. cold heavy cream
1 c. milk
8 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla
a pinch of salt

Mash the strawberries with a potato masher or pass them through a food mill; if you prefer not to have chunks in your ice cream, purée the strawberries in the food processor. Stir in 1/4 c. of the sugar. Set aside and let macerate for at least 1 hour (overnight in the refrigerator is even better—the longer the strawberries and sugar sit together, the less likely your ice cream will have frosty little bits of strawberries).

Place the milk and 1 cup of the cream in a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. While the milk mixture is heating, add the cold cream to the bowl of strawberries; set aside and keep cold. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 3/4 c. of sugar until thick. When the milk boils, temper the egg yolks by gradually whisking in about a half cup of the hot milk mixture. Stir the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard begins to thicken and a path forms when you draw your finger across the custard-coated back side of the spoon—if you have an instant-read thermometer it should read about 175° (don't let it go much higher—the eggs will scramble at 180°). Stop the cooking process by immediately straining the custard into the bowl of cold strawberries and cream. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally. (Speed up the chilling process by setting the bowl of custard in an ice bath.).  Cover until ready to use.

Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. Makes about 5 cups of ice cream.

Printable Recipe


Anonymous said...

Hello, This year I am preparing every recipe you post on your blog. I'm really enjoying the process and wanted to send a quick thank you from the 3-month mark! I appreciate both the clarity of your posts and the variety of recipes you include. With best wishes, Rachel

Paige said...

Hi Rachel,

I think you came up to me after class a while back and told me you were doing this? I can't tell you how good that made me feel. I hope you are having good success with the recipes... Thank you for taking a moment to send me a comment...I love hearing back when someone tries my recipes (and would welcome questions too!).


P.S.--I hope you didn't mind making ice cream in the middle of this stretch of cold weather!