So, July is national ice cream month, and for once in my food-blogging existence, I am actually sharing a recipe before the “season” is over. Not that ice cream has a season, at least in our house. We eat it year round. (Although, we have been on a popsicle kick lately. Best investment of the summer.) 😀
A few months ago, one of my friends gave me a bottle of strawberry balsamic vinegar. The stuff is amazing. I’m talking “drink it straight from the bottle” good. It took my salads to another level (especially with some crumbled blue cheese and sliced strawberries). It was perfect in one of my favorite summer pizzas. I drizzled it on top of my birthday cake (chocolate red wine cake with a strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, in case you wondered). And then, I saw this recipe and realized that my fancy vinegar would be perfect for ice cream too.
I know that strawberry season is over, at least for most of the Midwest. (We’ve moved onto blueberries, raspberries and peaches now. Oh, how I love summer produce). However, one of the best things about strawberry ice cream is the fact that you can use frozen berries and still end up with a great-tasting ice cream (at least in my opinion). So if you were
crazy lucky enough to put 40+ pounds of berries in the freezer, you’re all set.
This recipe is a little more involved than some other ice creams that I’ve made, since you cook the strawberries and then the custard base, but overall, it’s not too much work, and the flavor is definitely worth it. The vinegar isn’t overpowering; it just makes it a little more “grown up.” And while it won’t rival chocolate or moose tracks for my favorite flavor, it’s definitely good enough to make again. You know, since we have a few berries in the freezer. 😉
3 cups of strawberries (fresh if they’re in season, frozen if not)
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup of sugar, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided (I used my fancy strawberry balsamic, but any good balsamic vinegar would work fine.)
5 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine the strawberries, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries are softened and the juices have thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Refrigerate the puree until you’re ready to churn the ice cream.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until it simmers, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar together in a medium bowl or measuring cup. (I use my 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup for this.) Reduce the heat on the saucepan to medium.
Slowly add the warm cream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. (I use my 1/2 cup measuring cup to transfer the milk from the pan to the measuring cup.) You want to gradually add about 1 cup of warm cream to the egg yolks. Then, gradually add the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining milk, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove the custard from the heat.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the cooked custard through the strainer. Chill the custard in the refrigerator until it’s fully cooled, or overnight.
When you’re ready to churn the ice cream, whisk the strawberry puree and the remaining 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar into the custard. Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm.
Click here for a printable version.